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"A memorable and hard-hitting piece of feminist theatre for the moment we live in" - The Scotsman

“Cowan tunes in to the genuine grievances of the disempowered… she captures the urgency of a generation of young women eager to rip the system apart, one strip of flesh at a time.” - The Guardian

"Cowan is a master of language, the rhythmic, sometimes alliterative script delivers a powerful punch" - The Reviews Hub

"Cleverly written and unpredictable throughout" Broadway World

WINNER of the 2021 Alpine Fellowship Theatre Prize 

WINNER of the 2022 Assembly ART Award


Isla is a Scottish playwright, performer and director, based in Edinburgh. She specialises in creating ecofeminist performance and believes in theatre that challenges both its audience and its makers.

Isla's recent work for stage includes, amongst others, She Wolf (Assembly Roxy) Alright Sunshine (A Play, a Pie and a Pint @ Òran Mór),  Daphne, or Hellfire (The Pleasance), Sno Wite and the Seven Dickensians (Strange Town / Scottish Storytelling Centre), The View from Portobello (Royal Lyceum), and BANTER (LYT/Traverse). 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 currently has plays in development with support from Creative Scotland, The Beacon Arts Centre and The Gaiety. 


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

isla cowan

Next Up: 
To the Bone 
Pitlochry Festival 

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