Jim Haynes: The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh pays tribute to the legend of theater.


Jim Haynes, the “truly unique” co-founder of the Traverse Theatre of Edinburgh, died at the age of 87.

Louisiana-born Haynes, regarded as a key figure in the growth of Edinburgh festivals, also opened the first book-only shop in the UK, which opened in 1959 in Edinburgh’s George Square and soon became a celebrated hotspot for performance and arts.

The Traverse Theatre paid tribute to the legend, writing, “The passing of the legendary internationalist, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Traverse, Jim Haynes, makes us heartbroken.”

“Truly, Jim was “one of a kind.”

Haynes who, after being drafted into the U.S., came to Scotland The Air Force was also recognised for having launched the notorious Writers’ Conference with publisher John Calder in 1962 for the Edinburgh International Festival.

In the meantime, after a young nude model, Anna Kesselaar, was rolled over a balcony during a discussion of the “theater of the future.” the resulting 1963 Drama Conference made headlines all over the world.

Indecency charges went to trial but were dismissed later, and Ms. Kesselaar was acquitted.

He moved to Paris in 1969, where he lived for the rest of his life, teaching media studies and sexual politics for several years, after a spell in London where he co-founded the alternative newspaper International Times and set up the Drury Lane Arts Lab.

In appreciation of his contribution to theater and cultural life, the theater legend was also given an honorary doctorate from Napier University three years ago.

We are proud to maintain the legacy and visionary spirit of Jim, which lives on in our work and in our dedication to creating spaces for modern, transnational creative voices,” continued the tribute of The Traverse Theatre.”

Jim’s ambition and creative imagination were instrumental in defining the outward-looking contemporary cultural landscape of Edinburgh some sixty years ago, taking Festival City into the world and Edinburgh into the world.

We are proud that, as we look to our future, this continues to be an important part of Traverse’s year-round mission,”We are proud that this continues to be an important part of Traverse’s year-round mission as we look to our future,”

“Our thoughts are with his family, loved ones and the many people he inspired and whose lives he influenced and enriched.”


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