Martin Travers

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Playwrights' Studio

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Martin Travers

Martin Travers is a playwright based in Lanark. He is a founding member of Braw Clan - Scotland's first Scots language performance company, based in Biggar.

In February 2022, his punk play Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?  won the Writers' Guild Award for Best New Play for Young Audiences.

Martin recently co-wrote The Dodo Experiment with emerging playwright and WAC Ensemble member Chloe Wyper. Directed by Fiona McKinnon and performed by the Citizens Theatre's WAC Ensemble, The Dodo Experiment premiered in a temporary theatre space built inside Princes House - a vacant office block in the centre of Glasgow in April 2022. The sold out run of shows received audience and critical acclaim. The Dodo Experiment was published by Bloomsbury in April 2022.

Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles? was developed with participants from the Citizens Theatre's formed WAC Ensemble. The WAC Ensemble is Scotland's first professionally supported care experienced theatre company. The play was directed by Guy Hollands with music by M.J. McCarthy and premiered at Scottish Youth Theatre in February 2020 to critical and public acclaim. Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles? was published by Bloomsbury in February 2020.

His play in Scots A Daurk Matier is about nineteenth century working class poets in Lanarkshire was set against the backdrop of the Udston Mining Disaster in 1887; A Daurk Matier was one element of Piston, Pen & Press: an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project which aims to understand how industrial workers in Scotland and the North of England, from the 1840s to the 1910s, engaged with literary culture through writing, reading, and participation in wider cultural activities. Rehearsed readings of A Daurk Maiter, directed by Guy Hollands,were performed by eleven BA actors from New College Lanarkshire at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre in September 2019 and at New College Lanarkshire's G59 theatre space in June 2022.

Martin worked closely with award winning composer Sir James MacMillan on Flow Gently: Robert Burns Talks to God at the Dawn of his Death for The Cumnock Tryst in October 2019.Thismonologue was written in Scots for actor Martin Docherty and directed by Guy Hollands and drew on Robert Burns' last letters. The performance was accompanied by Mr McFall's Chamber Orchestra who performed Burns' compositions and new music composed by students and pupils of local secondary schools. 

Funded by the Scottish Government, Martin's play The Kids Are Alt Right is the story of teenage friends torn apart by right wing extremist views and the dark consequences for a modern Scotland. The play and supporting teaching resources created by Sense over Sectarianism is in the process of being independently evaluated for the Scottish Government in four local authorities. If the evaluation of the play is favourable it will be studied in every secondary school in Scotland from 2023 onwards. The Kids Are Alt Right was published by Bloomsbury in September 2019 as part of their Plays For Young People series.

In August 2019 excerpts of his play Annville were read by professional actors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Martin also co-led a Writing in Scots Masterclass with Doctor Michael Dempster (Scots Screiver and Director of the Scots Language Centre) at the festival. 

McLuckie's Line, co-written with Martin Docherty, premiered at the Citizens Theatre's in April 2018. The play toured nationally (supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland) in September 2018 to four and five star critical acclaim and was been seen by over 1000 people across Scotland.

Martin was awarded Open Funding from Creative Scotland/ National Lottery funding to radically adapt Canadian writer and artist Heather Spears' novel The Flourish into a Scots stage play in 2017. Directed by Amanda Gaughan, there were three chamber performances of the play Annville (with live piano accompaniment by Musical Director Karen MacIver) at the Citizens Theatre, Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Institute of the Formation of Character in New Lanark. 

Martin conceived and script edited Come Hell or High Water. A new urban oratorio based on interviews with Scottish residents, asylum seekers and refugees exploring what it is to be Scottish and British after the referendum to leave Europe.  Funded by Sky Art 50, Come Hell or High Water was directed by Guy Hollands with new songs and music by composer Finn Anderson. It premiered at the Citizens Theatre in March 2018 with a cast of twenty five community actors and a live professional band. Extracts of the production were aired on Sky Arts on 29 March 2019. Martin was interviewed for the broadcast with a panel of other artists involved in Sky Art 50 at the Barbican Centre in London. 

He worked with Lanarkshire writers' groups as part of the National Theatre of Scotland's large-scale performance project SHIFT in autumn and winter of 2017.

Martin's short play Life is Not a Rehearsal (funded by the Noël Coward Foundation) was performed by the Citizens Young Company at the Citizens Theatre as a curtain raiser to Dominic Hill's production of Hay Fever in April 2017. 

In 2016, his award winning play Scarfed for Life was a finalist of Creative Carbon Scotland's Sustainable Practice Awards and was seen by over 2,000 young people and adults and was part of the Edinburgh Fringe before performances at The Beacon in Greenock, the Oran Mor in Glasgow and secondary schools across Glasgow. Scarfed for Life has had eight professional productions and five community productions and has toured Scottish prisons, schools and has been performed in theatre venues throughout the country and has been seen by over 10,000 people. The adult version of Scarfed for Life was published by Bloomsbury in October 2013. A new second edition of the play, specifically for secondary schools, was published by Bloomsbury in February 2014. Scarfed for Life is currently being studied in all Glasgow secondary schools alongside workshops led by Sense over Sectarianism.

Martin's radical adaptation of Glasgow Girl Jessie M King's The Little White Town of Never Weary for Scottish Opera toured nationally in May 2016. The tour was featured on the national news. The trailer for the production has had over 65,000 hits on YouTube.

Funded by the Scottish Government, Martin's musical adaption of Theresa Breslin's multi-award winning novel Divided City for the Citizens Theatrewas the longest running participatory theatre in education project in the history of Scottish theatre. The play having been seen by over 20,000 people with 2497 young people from 109 schools have performed in a production. Divided City was also performed by Irish pupils from local schools to over 2500 people as part of the Derry/ Londonderry City of Culture in 2013. Divided City was published by Bloomsbury as part of their Critical Scripts series in January 2013. The Abridged Musical Edition of Divided City was published by A & C Black in February 2014.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and based on the archives of the Cameronian Scottish Rifles regiment, Martin's World War One musical The Rifles was performed in November 2015 by a cast of 30, a nine piece professional band, a piper and a choir of sixty students from New College Lanarkshire.  Directed Guy Hollands, The Rifles was supported by a large scale schools workshop programme and was seen by over 2,500 children and adults.

His monologue Miss Shamrock's World of Glamorous Flight was part of the Play, Pie and a Pint autumn 2014 season at the Oran Mor and starred award-winning Scottish actor Pauline Knowles.

In 2012, directed by award winning director Amanda Gaughan, his play Roman Bridge was the centre piece of the National Theatre of Scotland's Reveal season. Roman Bridge was printed by Bloomsbury.

In 2010 he worked with prisoners to create the script for the ground-breaking Platform 2:10 project that culminated in four live performances in the chapel at HMP Barlinnie. Platform 2:10 was part of Creative Scotland's ground breaking Inspiring Change initiative. The script for Platform 2:10 won a gold Koestler Trust Award in 2012.

COMMUNITY PLAYS

Martin has had a long and meaningful partnership with In Cahootz. In Cahootz use the arts to engage people in positive and inspiring activities that will enhance and improve their wellbeing, confidence and skills. Haw Hen, Pigeon, Oor Carol and the Seagulls and Wid Ye Credit It. Christmas were directed by Kate Black with large casts of people in recovery. Martin is currently under commission to write a new play for In Cahootz in 2022. 

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