A chance to Byrne out in an anniversary year. Words: Steve Cramer

here's only one logical highlight

of the year ahead in theatre.

but it's not so much a single event. as a year of theatre: the Traverse will be celebrating its 40th anniversary over the next 12 months. with events to mark the occasion running throughout the year. The culmination of all this will be the revrval of The S/ah Bovs trilogy. John Byrne's legendan.’ comedy dramas of working class life in Paisley from the 50s onwards. tracing the lives of a group of workers from thew original association in a factory and through subsequent decades of triumph and tragedy. This will run from November 2003 until February 2004. with a long- awaited fourth installment of the series a distinct possibility.

Along with this. there will be readings of Traverse classics from the (50s onwards beginning on 1/1 January with the first play commrsSioned by the Traverse. Stanley Evelrng's The Bacha/rtes. Scotland's strongest theatrical suit is its writers. and barely a single majOr Scottish writer is exempt from association with the Traverse. so the list of goodies looks promiSing. In tandem with all this. the Traverse wrll continue its; fostering of new work through the talented lsabel Wright. with a new play. Mr Placebo, premiering on 7 February and 1:3 Seconds. a translation of Francois Archambault's piece from the original Ouebecois.

At a mere decade younger. 7:84 has been presenting political theatre through various guises; for more than a generation. Its 30th birthday Will be celebrated over the coming year. wrth a production of Dario Fo's classic political farce. Can't Pay? Won't Payl. slated for l ebruary March. There‘s also been talk around Scotland's only rerriaining political company of a joint project with comic Mark Thoirias in the coming year. and a project. slated for

summer. titled Scot/and Today. which. under the direction of Zinnie Harris. will present four new short pieces in one evening.

Elsewhere. the action starts early. with the Royal Lyceum presenting The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on i 1 January. a production which will boast the return of Siobhan Redmond to the Scottish stage. Also. as early as February. the ever-popular Tom Conti will lead in William Luce's One Helluva Life. an account of the turbulent exrstence of John Barrymore at the King's. Edinburgh. which will also host Birmingham Rep's Tour of Of Mice and Men in March.

Dundee Rep's year also starts early. wrth a t0ur of its triumphal l/Vinter's Tale. beginning in Iran. then returning to tour various Scottish venues through January and February. Over at the Citizens‘. we'll be seeing acclaimed American author/actor Wallace Shawn's The Fever in February. and a much- vaunted revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer. directed by Kenny Miller running from mid-March.

Up the road at the Tron. a packed programme includes a welcome revival of Chris Hannan's brilliant East End comedy Shining Souls (13 Feb—1 Mar).

Scotland's endlessly creative

John Byrne on the set of the film version of The Slab Boys

touring companies are looking as busy as ever. with the Splendid Grid Iron keen to return to its site- specific roots with a devised project provisionally titled The Truth of Light. directed by Ben Harrison and incorporating the considerable talents of Cait Davis and composer David Paul Jones (Aug).

Meanwhile. Benchtours will be combining with English company Theatre sans Frontieres with Alice. an adaptation of Carroll's Alice In Wonderland for both children and adults. in May/June. No definite dates are yet fixed for Boilerhouse's Sister Sister. a Surreal multi-media project about human compatibility. war and nationalism. but with anticipation high following last year's Running Girl, it'll seem a long wait whenever it happens. Theatre babel is back and. with a new collaboration with Liz Lochhead as well as a brand new trilogy of classical Greek drama on the slate for festival time. Graham McLaren's company will be hoping for a new Medea to glory in.

Now with all that. and a tour by the RSC of Coriolanus and The Merry Wives of Windsor in April. you'll have plenty to fill your new diary with.


Chuckle your way through 2003 with the cream of the comic crop. Words: Maureen Ellis

f at first you don‘t succeed. try. try

again. That appears to be the

feeling in Glasgow when it comes to comedy festivals. Memories of last year's ill-fated first attempt promoted

by James Campbell have been swept aside by the Stand. which. in conjunction with Glasgow City Council

and the tourist board. hopes to make this ‘international festival' a belter.

Scheduled to take place at around 20 city centre venues. the Glasgow International Comedy Festival (20 Mar—5 Apr) will bring together the best international comedians. local acts and. of course. good ol' Glesga audiences. Already confirmed are . . . and take a deep breath . . . Doug Stanhope. Johnny Vegas. Daniel Kitson. Richard Herring. Otis Lee Crenshaw. Men in Coats. Ed Byrne. Jerry Sadowitz. John Hegley. Adam Hills. and. erm. Frank Carson and Johnny Beattie.

The festival will also feature a programme of comic theatre. plus film screenings. workshops. sketch shows and children's events. As the Stand is firmly against any form of comedy competition. don't expect the usual glut of ‘Best New . . .' contests.

Outwith the festival. the Stand continues to nurture homegrown talent with its stand-up workshops. Bruce Devlin will take over the Sunday night reins from Allan Miller with

22 THE LIST '/ 1"; Jan 2031-;