Isla Cowan

Research title: Ecological Consciousness in Contemporary Scottish Theatre

Research Summary

My research is interested in bringing together theories of theatre, nationhood, and ecology, in a revisionist analysis of recent Scottish theatre and performance. While my work focuses on Scotland and Scottish theatre, it illustrates how specific practices of different nations and cultures need to be considered within a larger, more global framework, as my project seeks to integrate traditionally opposed debates between eco-cosmopolitan thinking (Heise) and located ecologies (Descola). Using a new eco-dramaturgical methodology for reading and thinking about plays, I am introducing a form of cosmo-local-national ecocriticism, which will yield significance within and beyond the Scottish context.

I also work regularly as a playwright, director and theatre-maker.



  • AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership


  • ‘Staging ‘Ecological Thought’: Sense of Place and Sense of Planet in Further Than the Furthest Thing and Midwinter’, International Playwright Symposium 2019: Zinnie Harris, 23rd November 2019, University of Lincoln
  • PhD Form Presenter, CDE 2020: Critical Theatre Ecologies, 21st-24th May 2020, University of Augsburg (postponed)
  • 'Prefiguring Ecological Theatre: The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil by John McGrath', IFTR 2020: Theatre Ecologies: Environment, Sustainability and Politics, 13th-17th July 2020, University of Galway (postponed)

Additional Information

Theatre Productions

  • Daphne, or Hellfire , Pleasance (The Greenhouse), and Assembly Roxy, Aug/Nov 2019
  • The View from 2038, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Nov 2018
  • Stressed, Traverse Theatre (Lyceum Youth Theatre, Edinburgh), Mar 2018
  • These Walls, Sweet Venues, Edinburgh Fringe, Aug 2017
  • Banter, Traverse Theatre (Lyceum Youth Theatre, Edinburgh), Mar 2017
  • Come Back to Bed, Fitzpatrick Theatre, Mar 2017
  • Lily, Corpus Playroom, Nov 2016




  • Renaissance to Modern Day Dramaturgy Masterclass, Royal Lyceum Theatre, 2019
  • Playwriting & Working with New Texts, Perth Youth Theatre, 2019