The Whip Hand

Traverse Theatre Company and Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-production in association with National Theatre of Scotland


The Traverse is Scotland’s premiere new writing theatre. Formed in 1963 by a group of passionate enthusiasts, the venue was founded to extend the spirit of the Edinburgh festivals throughout the year. Today the Traverse nurtures emerging talent, produces award-winning new plays and offers a curated programme of the best work from the UK and beyond; spanning theatre, dance, performance, music and spoken word. With two custom-built and versatile theatre spaces, the Traverse’s home in Edinburgh’s city centre is a powerhouse of new work for, and of, our time.

The Whip Hand is an explosive new play by multi-award winning playwright Douglas Maxwell. Dougie has just turned 50 and his family is throwing him a party. But it’s him who has a surprise - a bombshell proposal. He wants his ex-wife Arlene to back his new endeavour. He wants to serve a global cause, to make right a terrible wrong, even if it puts their daughter’s future at risk. They can all sense a swindle, but Dougie won’t back down. He is convinced this is his only chance to do something truly glorious, but his motivation may not be as pure as it seems.

In the press

“Immediately involving... I wanted to see the whole thing again at the end”
The Guardian (on Helmet)

“Maxwell’s writing is both down-to-earth and lyrical, heightened to intensify the atmosphere of the story” The Tribune (on Promises, Promises)

Production details

  • Writer

    Douglas Maxwell
  • Director

    Tessa Walker
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

  • Freight


    Available on request

  • Touring Availability

    From 2018
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400)
  • Minimum performance space

    Available on request
  • Text-based

    Dense (important for audiences to have a good understanding of English)
  • Also contains:

    Strong Language

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    Traverse Theatre
  • Production dates

    6-27 AUGUST
  • Production times

  • Duration

    85 MINS
  • Audience capacity




The Traverse would be able to offer a range of ancillary projects to accompany the production on tour ranging from a programme of talks with the creative team wherever availability allows; workshop opportunities for emerging artists, educational and other groups developed in collaboration with the artists involved. Masterclass workshops throughout the year which could be developed with reference to the production. Other professional development opportunities could be planned alongside the production, working closely with emerging artists in Edinburgh and peers in partner venues to provide supporting activities that suited their needs.

The Traverse is also committed to ensuring the accessibility of our productions and would wish to include any or all of the following: sign language interpreted performances, captioned and audio described performances, touch tours, and relaxed performances throughout the run working with partner venues to work closely to provide these.