Ian Brown


Ian can be contacted through  Playwrights' Studio


Ian Brown

Ian was born in 1945 and brought up in Alloa, where his parents moved in 1951 from Dunfermline. He went to Edinburgh University, and has worked a lot in England (1967-69 and 1978-94) and for a bit in Istanbul (1977-78), but mostly in Scotland.

After some of his early plays were put on while he was a student at Edinburgh, and his version of Antigone by Strathclyde Theatre Group in 1969. His professional career began when he worked on the first production of the Traverse Workshop Company under Max Stafford-Clark, Mother Earth, a workshop collaboration in 1970. In 1972, Prospect Theatre company toured his version of The Bacchae throughout the UK and the first original play of his to be produced professionally was Carnegie at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, jointly produced by that company and Prospect.

Since then, his work has been produced by a wide range of companies throughout the UK and abroad. First productions include The Knife, Royal Lyceum Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival (1973); The Fork, Gay Sweatshop (1976); New Reekie, Traverse Theatre, (1977); Mary, Royal Lyceum Theatre (1977); Runners, Bush Theatre, London (1978); Mary Queen and the Loch Tower, Borderline Theatre Company (1979); Joker in the Pack, Ace Productions (1983); Beatrice, Monstrous Regiment (1989); First Strike, a jointly written play, Soho Theatre (1990); Bacchai, a translation, Dalier Sylw and Cardiff International Festival (1991); The Scotch Play, Perth Theatre (1991); Wasting Reality, Perth Theatre (1992); Margaret, Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh (2000); A Great Reckonin, Perth Theatre (2000) and An Act o Love, premiered at the St Etienne Book Festival in 2011. His Translating Lies was workshopped by Playwrights Studio Scotland in 2018 and the 2018 Edinburgh International Festival featured his workshop version of David Lindsay's  Ane Satire of the Thrie Estaitis.

Ian has worked in a number of other collaborative forms, writing: Positively the Last Final Farewell Performance, ballet scenario for a 1972 Scottish Ballet tour (choreographer, Stuart Hopps; music, Glenn Miller); Rabelais, readings for Russell Hunter in the 1973 Edinburgh International Festival (1973); Rune, a choral text for the John Currie Singers (music, John Maxwell Geddes) in 1974; Pottersville, a documentary for the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent in 1982; and creating site-specific artworks for the Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh (with Jan Bee Brown) in 1999.

Ian's published poetry includes three collections: Poems for Joan (2001), Lions' Milk: Turkish Poems by
Scottish Poets (with Alan Riach) (2012), and Collyshangles  in the Canopy  (2015).  He is also a widely published writer on theatre and culture, his most recent books being  Scottish Theatre: Diversity, Language, Continuity (2013) and  History as Theatrical Metaphor (2016) which was shortlisted for the 2017 Saltire Society Research Book of the Year.

Ian was founder Chair of the Scottish Society of Playwrights from 1973 to 1975 and three times more (1984-87 -- when he led its relaunch as a union, including negotiating its first contract with the TMA after an Arts Council cut -- 1997-99, and 2010-13).

Follow Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland on: Facebook Twitter