Can you help theatre make the world a better place? – Linda Crooks

Next month, Scotland will be at the epicentre of the global arts and culture movement as the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe blossom into life once again.

The Traverse Theatre is a place where artists and audiences attempt to make sense of the world
The Traverse Theatre is a place where artists and audiences attempt to make sense of the world

The Traverse Theatre is at the heart of this cultural celebration – both physically and figuratively – and we welcome the heightened exposure and attention these festivals bring to the work of our theatre and many others in the capital. As Scotland’s only theatre dedicated to new writing all year round, the Traverse is much more than the bricks and mortar of the building we occupy off Lothian Road.

The Traverse is a place where artists and audiences are invited to meet and attempt to make sense of the world, to question, learn, empathise, and to encounter different people and experiences. Our influence extends around the globe with our productions of Ulster American, What Girls Are Made Of, Mouthpiece and Locker Room Talk touring to audiences in Australia, New Zealand, North and South America, Ireland and the UK already this year.

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Theatre is fundamental to a healthy democracy and we believe the Traverse – defined by a bold and unique body of work that harnesses the diverse talents of everyone in the team here and the artists and communities we work with – is a force for good in this sense. We provoke and encourage debate and facilitate a fusion of disparate groups and ideas. To maximise the scope of those conversations we must ensure the Traverse continues to be accessible, attractive and welcoming to the many, not just the few.

If we are to achieve that, we need to react to the many changes in the world around us and open up new pathways for people to come to the theatre, both as writers and as audience members.

To that end, today we launch the search for two people who will be instrumental in shaping the work of the Traverse through to its 60th anniversary in 2023 and beyond. After a period of consultation and reflection we are bolstering our leadership team by recruiting for a new artistic director of the Traverse Theatre Company, and a director of creative development. This investment will ensure we give equal energy to creating a vibrant programme of work that celebrates new material and developing routes into the theatre for new writers and audiences.

The director of creative development will devote time and effort to strengthening those pathways by nurturing our relationships with communities here in Scotland and further afield. We believe creativity is an attribute everyone has and that everyone should be given the opportunity to explore their artistic talents. In creating a new role which has ultimate responsibility for that work, we will in turn enable and empower the incoming artistic director to focus exclusively on overseeing a new writing programme that represents an ambitious artistic vision for the Traverse.

The people we appoint to these two roles will be joining a talented and determined team that has been instrumental in shaping this new structure and is eagerly awaiting this next phase in our growth. We believe these changes will not only help us deliver our vision, but meet our ambition to change the world we live in through the work we produce and the creative development programmes we champion. The Traverse exists to amplify unfamiliar voices and to reach fresh eyes and ears with the work we produce all year round. If you feel as passionately about that as we do, we would love to hear from you.

Linda Crooks is the Traverse’s executive producer.