The Traverse is excited to kick off its 2021 programming with its biggest ever series of creative development activity with its First Stages Festival.

First Stages Festival is a celebration of the Traverse’s commitment to nurturing and supporting new voices, and expanding the skills of new and experienced creatives with the ambition of producing ever more transportive and meaningful experiences for audiences. This year’s First Stages Festival offers a wide range of interactive workshops, Q&As, readings and creative prompts for first time writers to seasoned theatremakers.

Every event in the programme will be open for anyone in the world to participate in.

Highlights include live focused workshops with writers Ella Hickson (on how to tackle big ideas), Hannah Lavery (on writing from autobiography), Nessah Muthy (on writing for a digital landscape), Simon Stephens (on generating material and developing characters), Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse (on creating work in and for a community), and a special Q&A session with Enda Walsh during which participants will be able to ask the internationally acclaimed theatremaker their most pressing questions.

Crocodile Fever writer Meghan Tyler will be presenting an on-demand and free-of-charge four- part workshop for first-time writers, ANYONE CAN WRITE A PLAY, and each weekday a creative prompt will be released to shake up ways of creative thinking and ignite exciting new ideas.

Rounding off the Festival will be a showcase of 3 livestreamed readings from writers who submitted their work to the Traverse’s 2019 Open Submissions initiative, and who have been working with the Traverse’s Literary Associate, Eleanor White, over the past year to develop their scripts. The writers are Dipo Baruwa-EttiSerafina CusackMichael John O’NeillEmilie Robson and Isla van Tricht, with the readings directed by the Traverse’s Co-Artistic Director, Gareth Nicholls, and Co-Artistic Director Designate, Debbie Hannon. Each reading will be followed by a Q&A with the writers, hosted by acclaimed playwrights including Douglas Maxwell, through which audiences can contribute to the future development of the pieces.

A limited number of £1 tickets will be available for all ticketed events, available to those in receipt of government benefits and allowances.

Traverse Theatre Literary Associate, Eleanor White, says:

“I am thrilled that the Traverse is beginning the year with First Stages Festival – a celebration of creative development and dynamic new voices. Supporting writers in developing their craft is one of the Traverse’s fundamental commitments, and we’ve continued this work in earnest over the past year. This programme of workshops, Q&As and readings is designed to generate conversations about creative writing and new ways of thinking about theatre – where established artists, aspiring creatives, and audience members can come together, get involved, expand their creative horizons and plot a course forward together.  We’re particularly delighted to be share with the world readings from five form-pushing, thought-provoking plays currently in development – and to invite the input of our audiences into the future of these pieces, an exchange that’s vital to the theatrical process.”

The full First Stages Festival programme can be found at

All events currently available in Traverse 3 can be browsed at


First Stages Festival
Mon 1 – Sun 28 Feb
Various dates and times

A limited number of £1 tickets will be available for all ticketed events, available to those in receipt of government benefits and allowances.

Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, Edinburgh, EH1 2ED  I