Author details

Gowan Calder


I am a playwright, actress and director. I have worked in theatre, primarily in Scotland, for 21 years. I have worked as an actor in radio, film and TV and though I enjoy it immensely I have always sought other creative outlets in my career and for the past ten years have begun to concentrate more on writing and also on devising theatre with others. I have run writing workshops and devised theatre with a wide variety of groups – ranging from youth theatres and community theatre groups to adult writing groups. I have also taught playwriting and mentored directing students at Queen Margaret University. I spent as year as writer-in-residence at HMP Glenochil (2009/2010) This experience very much informed my most recent publication. Skint, (Scottish Book Trust 2011) is an interactive graphic novel for young people exploring contemporary money issues.

Contact through Scottish Book Trust.

About writer's work

I write mainly for theatre but in recent years have also written for radio - a medium I love as it offers a particular freedom for writers. My first pieces for theatre were monologues, ostensibly because they are cheap to produce! Though the budgets have improved I am still drawn to intimate pieces and small casts. Though my work may appear domestic, I aim to approach universal, political or topical themes within a superficially ‘ordinary’ context. At present I am developing a partnership with Scottish PEN. I am hoping to adapt the work of imprisoned or state-censored writers throughout the world for the stage.

Current events and projects

I am able to run theatre-writing and devising workshops or to help a group develop a particular area of their drama, (for example, character, theme, plot or dialogue) I have run an introduction to writing drama on several occasions. This is possible within two hour- long workshops. The first session involves work on themes, characters and developing plot and the second session can be used to create a devised piece of drama. (It would also be possible to achieve this in one double session)I have also run longer projects leading to full-scale devised productions. Though I am happy to suggest themes and topics according to a group’s needs, I like to explore these ideas with a group rather than simply presenting them as a fait accompli. The overall aim of these sessions is to engage the participants immediately in the act of creating drama rather than discussion or analysis of how drama works and to involve every participant regardless of previous ability or experience.


Other work

Theatre writing includes – Backstage at the Pussykat Klub (The Arches, Glasgow), An Audience with the Lizard Lady (Courtyard Theatre, Hereford) , Days of War and Rosie (The Play, The Pie and the Pint, Glasgow) Truth Conquers All (West Lothian Youth Theatre, Linlithgow Palace) Radio writing includes Nude, Untitled (Radio 4 afternoon play) Mrs McCaulay is carried Forward (Radio 4, Woman’s Hour) Bang Bang Your Dead, (Adaptation for Radio 4, Woman’s Hour) Devised work includes Crisp Rolls and Monkeys (with Dumbiedykes Youth Drama Group) Junk! (in association with Edinburgh Council’s –Reduce, Re-use, Re-cycle intiative).

Contact details




Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type