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WINNER of the 2021 Alpine Fellowship Theatre Prize 


WINNER of the 2022 Assembly ART Award





isla cowan


Isla is an award-winning playwright, performer and director, from Scotland. She specialises in creating ecofeminist performance and believes in theatre that challenges both its audience and its makers. Isla is committed to exploring issues of class, gender and ecology in her work.

Isla's recent playwriting credits includeTo the Bone (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), She Wolf (Assembly Roxy), Alright Sunshine (A Play, a Pie and a Pint @ Òran Mór), Progress Review (Stellar Quines/Traverse), And... And... And... (Strange Town Touring Company), Jack and the Beanstalk (Hopscotch), and Daphne, or Hellfire (Pleasance). Isla was selected as one of four playwrights to be mentored at Hampstead Theatre on the 2019 INSPIRE Playwrights Programme, mentored by Roy Williams, and was a Traverse Young Writer in 2021. She also makes digital and audio theatre, working with Strange Town, Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and the Scottish Youth Theatre, on recent projects. 

Isla is currently Playwright in Residence at the Traverse Theatre, where she is recipient of the 2024 IASH/Traverse Playwriting Fellowship. Whilst Isla is in residence, she will be working on a brand new play about insects, apocalypse and two women on the run.

Isla is currently Resident Writer at the Tron Theatre, where she is developing a new play about power, privilege and identity.


While Isla performs and directs much of her own work, she also has her own distinct directorial practice. She has worked as an Assistant Director at The Traverse, Lyceum, Citizens, and Reading Rep, and has been Director on recent work  for the Traverse, Beacon Arts Centre, and Creative Scotland. Isla was recently Associate Director on the National Theatre of Scotland's production of Kidnapped

Isla also regularly leads and facilitates workshops - particularly on environmental theatre and eco-dramaturgy - for all ages and stages.

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