isla cowan

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

Isla studied English Literature at the University of Cambridge, before going on to study a Masters in Writing for Performance at the University of St Andrews. Her previous work for stage includes, Sno Wite and the Seven Dickensians (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 2019), The View from Portobello (Royal Lyceum, 2018), BANTER (LYT/Traverse, 2017), These Walls (Sweet Venues, 2017), Come Back to Bed (Fitzpatrick Theatre, 2017), and Lily (Corpus Playroom, 2016). Isla was winner of the Cambridge New Writing Festival in 2017 for her short play, Waiting, and has since participated in several writing festivals, including REP STRIPPED (Dundee Rep, 2019). Isla was recently Assistant Director on GUT (Traverse/NTS, 2018) and The Duchess [of Malfi] (Lyceum/Citizens, 2019) and was attached to Hampstead Theatre as a mentored playwright, as part of the Inspire Programme (2019-20).

Isla's fierce, four-star ecofeminist play, Daphne, or Hellfire, is fresh from performances at The Pleasance (The Greenhouse) and Assembly Roxy and will soon be announcing dates for 2020. Isla is also working on a brand new solo show, She-Wolf, which explores speciesism, trauma and folklore, in an exciting combination of monologue, storytelling and physical theatre.


'Cowan has taken millennia-old source material and constructed a play that is fresh and resonant'

Theatre Weekly

'A powerhouse on stage, Cowan’s conviction in her performance is as strong as her writing... a masterful piece of poetic writing...'

The Reviews Hub

'Isla Cowan... is an impassioned and illumined playwright',

The Cambridge Student

'writing at its most raw and most captivating',


'The craft of every word in Cowan’s poetry is excellent, the delivery spot on'



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