Outlying Islands (play)

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Outlying Islands
Written by David Greig
Date premiered 2002
Place premiered Edinburgh, Scotland
Original language English
Genre Drama play
Setting Remote island of Scotland in 1939

Outlying Islands is a 2002 drama play written by Scottish playwright David Greig.


Set on a remote Scottish island in the summer of 1939, two ornithologists – young, impulsive and English Robert and the more-conservative-yet naive Scottish John – are sent to catalogue the bird colonies on the island. Together with the stern lease-holder of the island, Mr Kirk, and his young niece Ellen, they are the only inhabitants for the summer.

The play ruthlessly uncovers the motivations of its characters, resulting in a painful triangle between John, Robert and Ellen. It is about nature versus technology, old versus new, with the threat of the coming world war looming over it all.


The play was first published and performed in 2002 and won a Fringe First award and a Herald Angel award after its premiere at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It was revived at the Traverse in October 2014.

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