Cumnock Tryst 2019 Artist Q & A - Martin Travers

Flow Gently? is the culmination of a fascinating creative project involving Mr McFall’s Chamber, young composers from Auchinleck Academy, dancers and string players, four composers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the wonderful learning team at the Citizens Theatre. With less than a month to go until this incredibly exciting concert, we chatted to Martin Travers from Citizens Theatre to find out more about the project.


Hi Martin, what is your position at the Citizen’s Theatre and could you tell us a little bit about your involvement in this year’s Cumnock Tryst?

I am a member of the Citizens Theatre’s Learning Team and we have a long history of working with young people all over Scotland. I spend a lot of my time building projects and looking after budgets but occasionally take the lead on the creative side of things. As a professional playwright I love it when I get the chance to create new scripts and plays. I’ve spend a lot of time recently writing historical plays in Scots so when I was asked by The Cumnock Tryst if I would write a script for amazingly talented actor Martin Docherty to play Robert Burns I jumped at the chance! Martin will play Robert Burns nearing the end of his life reminiscing – directed by award winning director Guy Hollands. The new musical compositions from pupils from Auchinleck Academy will determine which parts of the Burns story we will focus on. So that’s really exciting for me, Martin and Guy.

You worked on the Chronicles of Cumnock project at Cumnock Academy at last year’s festival. How was that experience?

I worked with theatre maker Campbell Lawrie, composer Gillian Walker and some wonderfully talented pupils from Cumnock Academy on the Chronicles of Cumnock last year and it was an honour for us to celebrate the lives of local people who lived and died during the Great War. We rehearsed in our own wee bubble during the lead up to the performance so to see our young actors working alongside all the amazing young musicians, performers from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Hub at Dumfries House and professional composers and musicians was fantastic. It’s a project I’ll always think of fondly. The buzz afterwards in the audience was a sight to behold!

Why do you think projects such as Flow Gently? are important?

Anything that gives a platform to young people’s creativity is really important and The Cumnock Tryst are experts at working with young composers to help them bring their ideas to life. I’m really impressed by the way they put local young people at the heart of projects like Flow Gently?. The experience of having world class musicians play your music must be quite life changing for the young people involved. It’s a privilege to be part of showcasing so many world premiers of compositions about Robert Burns. Its going to be a brilliant event – and Martin Docherty as Burns is the cherry on the cake! Its going to be great.