Isla Cowan


Isla can be contacted through Playwrights' Studio



Playwrights' Studio

Bursary and Projects Programme

Isla Cowan

Isla is an award-winning playwright, director and performer, from Edinburgh.

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: Daphne, or Hellfire (The Pleasance, Assembly Roxy, 2019), Sno Wite and the Seven Dickensians (Scottish Storytelling Centre, 2019), The View from Portobello (The View from 2038)(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 2017 Cambridge New Writing Festival for her short play, Waiting, and has since participated in several festivals, including REP STRIPPED (Dundee Rep, 2019), where her work-in-progress Nibble Nibble Gnaw was presented as a rehearsed reading. Isla was selected as one of four playwrights to be mentored by Hampstead Theatre in 2019, with the Inspire award, and is now working on a play with support from the theatre.

While Isla directs much of her own work, she has also worked as Assistant Director on recent productions, such as The Duchess [of Malfi] (Lyceum/Citizens, 2019), GUT (Traverse/NTS, 2018), Success (LYT/Royal Lyceum, 2017), and Ben-Hur (Reading Rep, 2015).

'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 

'The craft of every word in Cowan's poetry is excellent, the delivery spot on'
- Edinburgh49 

'Isla Cowan... is an impassioned and illumined playwright'
- The Cambridge Student 

'writing at its most raw and most captivating'
- Varsity

Photograph by Johnny King

Follow Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland on: Facebook Twitter