Launching The Traverse Fifty

The Traverse Fifty Board

After an exciting and nerve-wracking wait, the Traverse Fifty officially launched on 14th January 2013! The launch day had the feel of a first day of school or uni, with all the participants – if they were anything like me – feeling like the new kid and tentatively approaching each other in the theatre bar. Fortunately, the excitement  quickly took over and all the writers were soon chatting and swapping stories and experiences like old friends.

We then took part in a day of discussions with and talks from well-established playwrights Zinnie Harris, Douglas Maxwell, Lynda Radley, and Kieran Hurley. Orla & Hamish gave us some insight into the year ahead, and also told us that the ‘Plays for Edinburgh’ evening on 26th Jan would now be two evenings, as due to popular demand they had added a show on the 25th!

The event was a bit of a whirlwind, and I found myself heading back to London the following morning just dying to pick up a pen and start writing. Before my play ‘The Boundary’ was even submitted to the Traverse Fifty I knew I wanted to develop it into a full length play, so between the launch and the play night I set about sketching the outline and researching some new aspects of the play. I received a call from Assistant Director Jo Rush during rehearsals for the play as some questions had been raised by the cast, and I was so delighted to be involved in the process and to offer my thoughts. At the same time, the actors’ questions gave me some things to think about, and pushed me in the direction of some new research which was incredibly helpful.

I landed back in Edinburgh on the 25th, and made a beeline for the Traverse where the first performance was underway. Running at a staggering 3 1/2 hours, the performance went really well and the audience all seemed to be in really good spirits. I had the chance to chat with a few people I knew in the audience as well as other Traverse Fifty writers who had been in, and when I went home that evening I just couldn’t wait to see everyone’s work the following night.

The Traverse Fifty Photo by Eoin Carey

The Traverse Fifty
Photo by Eoin Carey

On the 26th, as we all clustered together on the Traverse One stage for the photo call, there was a definite nervous energy in the room. Afterwards in the bar here were some new faces who hadn’t made the launch day, plus many of us had friends and family in tow, so there was a fantastic buzz and air of expectation.

Despite the name, there were actually fifty-three plays in the running order. Zinnie Harris and Kieran Hurley’s plays top and tailed the bill, and my little play, ‘The Boundary’, was close to the end of the first half. It is impossible to pick out favourites, but the other writers’ plays were a lovely mix: funny, touching and surprising pieces all performed by the fabulous cast and thoughtfully staged by Orla and Hamish. I was delighted with the performance of my play, and a few days later was overjoyed to get a mention in Joyce McMillan’s review of the evening:

“I loved Deborah Klayman’s Boundary, which brought images of cities divided by war home to the urban boundary between Edinburgh and Leith.”

All in all January’s events were fantastic, and made me all the more focused on developing ‘The Boundary’ and my other ideas while I have the Traverse’s support and other events to help me hone my work. 2013 is looking like a very creatively exciting year, and I can’t wait to see what happens next…

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About Deborah Klayman

Deborah trained at Drama Studio London and is co-founder of Whoop 'n' Wail Theatre Company. She is an actress, musician and voice artist represented by Nelson Browne Management Ltd. As an actor, Deborah has performed in the UK and overseas in a variety of theatre and film roles. She is also a talented cellist, singer and voice artist. Deborah was one of the Traverse Fifty playwrights, and won the Cambridge University Press "Channel The Bard" competition for My Bloody Laundrette, which she co-authored with Whoop 'n' Wail co-founder Ali Kemp. Ali & Deborah are Associate Performers at the Old Diorama Arts Centre in London. Their new full-length play, But For Us, is currently in development. View all posts by Deborah Klayman

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