Scottish Theatre Highlights: May 2018

The Scottish theatre calendar springs into action and moves with the times as stages across the country heat up

Preview by Amy Taylor | 27 Apr 2018
  • Mental

Oh May, oh May. The Scottish theatrical calendar has been building for months, and May is the busiest yet.

One of the biggest events in theatre in May is Mayfesto. Held at the Tron in Glasgow every year, this mini-festival of new writing, or as The Tron put it, 'edgy and provocative new work' runs 3-30 May. This year, the programme is as diverse as it is exciting with shows such as the dark and absurdist Ma, Pa and The Little Mouths by Martin McCormick, which stars Karen Dunbar, Gerry Mulgrew and Nalini Chetty in this world premiere, and Zinnie Harris' Gut which premiered at The Traverse last month.

But the mini-festival isn’t just about new work, as some familiar faces and productions are set to take place at The Tron over the next month. Mental, the winner of the first Mental Health Award at the Fringe last year, is set to be revived for the month of May and is presented by both Mayfesto and the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. Additionally, the theatre company Fire Exit are due to present a bursary programme with two rehearsed readings of new plays – Maryam Hamidi’s End Of and The Warhol Assassin by Amy Conway, as well as a reading of the Mayfesto award-winning play Brink by Sarah Farrell and Moving Monologues by Curious Seeds.

As it did last year, Mayfesto is also playing host to a couple of productions from Take Me Somewhere, such as David Hoyle’s Diamond and What Girls Are Made Of – a new work-in-progress by Cora Bissett, the director of Glasgow Girls and Roadkill.

Also beginning this month is the Scottish tour of Lisa Nicoll’s new play, Shattered, which opens at the Paisley Arts Centre on 19 May. Based on interviews and life experiences, the play follows a young couple in the throes of grief as they mourn the death of their baby. Taking on themes such as isolation and loss, it shows a young woman wait for her life to begin again, before an encounter with a stranger changes everything.   

Over in Edinburgh at the Lyceum, and beginning just at the end of April is David Greig’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s Creditors, the tale of a love triangle that Strindberg himself considered his best. Directed by Tony Award-winning director Stewart Laing from Untitled Projects, this story of love, betrayal and revenge bristles with sexual tension and manipulation, combined with Laing’s distinctive visual style that will surely be a feast for the senses.

Meanwhile, Anatomy Arts is celebrating a big birthday with two nights at the Traverse Theatre on 10 & 11 May. Famed for curating cabaret nights of the weird, the wonderful and the uncategorisable, this collective is turning five and they have big plans for their birthday celebrations. Anatomy: Finest Cuts will feature, amongst many other names and acts, Jordan & Skinner’s Sanitise, Uranus by Moreno Solinas, Until the Cows Come Home by Xelís De Toro and SEX – SEX – SEX by Sara Zaltash. Expect nothing, expect everything, expect to be dazzled.

While later in the month the Traverse becomes home to some of the performances at this year’s Edinburgh International Children's Theatre Festival fka Imaginate (you'll find a full preview on this very website later this month), another May highlight is the UK premiere of Luden Ensemble’s co-production with the European Capital of Culture Pafos 2017, Forbidden Stories. This multimedia performance takes place from 17-18 May and explores themes of division and borders on the island of Cyprus through interviews with both Greek and Turkish communities.