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Profile on: Iain F Macleod

Iain Finlay Macleod, the Lewis-born playwright, author and BAFTA winning director, is a Gaelic speaker who has written plays in Gaelic and English, and sometimes something in between.  Along with his involvement in film, television, radio and literature, Iain still finds time to write the odd play or two.

Iain F Macleod; Photo: Paul, Eyeline Photography


Iain was engaged in storytelling at an early age.  As a teenager, Iain involved himself in writing and acting at the National Gaelic Youth Theatre.  Through meeting theatre and television professionals, Iain was given acting roles in film and on stage at the Traverse Theatre, in Loose Ends and Road from the Isles which he co-wrote with Donald William Stuart.  He attended the International School for Writers, Actors and Directors at the Royal Court Theatre in London.  Since then, Iain has made his mark in a variety of creative forms.

Current activities

2004 was a busy year for multi-talented Macleod:

Iain has been involved with the Traverse’s Playwrights in Partnership project.  He has been concentrating on writing Mister Sequester, a translation of the French play Un Homme en Faillite by David Lesca, which was given a public reading in October 2004.  He has also been writing English Sensibilities/Brakcen Point, an adaptation of David Pickup's novel.

Did you know?

Playwrights in Partnership (PiP) is an international commisioning scheme launched by the Traverse a few years ago.  The aim of this scheme is to achieve high quality stage versions of contemporary international plays for production in Britain.  PiP commissions so far include work from Norway, Belgium, Finland, and China.  Theatres and companies abroad are, in return, linked with Scottish playwrights whose work they are keen to produce.  Recent projects have included Scottish production, play readings, and workshops led by Scottish playwrights, in cities as diverse as Lisbon, Leipzig, Stockholm and Toronto.

Iain's play, I was a Beautiful Day, written by Iain in 2003, is currently under commission at the Traverse Theatre, to be performed October 2005.

As well as Theatrical and Television drama, Iain has been active in fiction writing. His new novel, Blackfish, is due for publishing March 2005.  

In addition, Iain has also been playwriting for radio broadcast in 2005.

Past productions

In 2002, Iain's play, Homers, was written in English and Gaelic.  It was performed in Edinburgh for two weeks followed by a Highland tour.  It was also performed by Cumbernauld Youth Theatre

Reviews described Homers as ‘Poignant, touching and hilariously funny, with interesting well-rounded characters’, with 'innovative use of language'.  'MacLeod uses language as a first means of expressing cultural fissures, with the Gaelic phrases (helpfully projected in English translation) which puzzle the new arrivals followed later by apparent nonsense from the caricatured, cross-gender-played local schoolteacher and her like.' (Reviews Gate, October 2003)

Alastair Bruce and Pig Head in Homers; Photo: Douglas Robertson

Other productions of Iain's plays include:

  • The bilingual Salvage performed by the TOSG Theatre Company in a Scottish tour in 2000
  • Written in Gaelic, Alexander Salamander performed at the Traverse Theatre and also toured through Scotland in 2000
  • Road from the Isles, co-written with Donald William Stuart, performed at the Traverse Theatre in 1993
  • Cliff Dancing was performed by the National Gaelic Youth Theatre in 1991

And in film and television:

  • Iain wrote and directed the short film Flat in 2004
  • Also in 2004 he wrote episodes of the BBC's Gaelic programme Snas
  • Iain's short film, Colours, that he wrote and directed, won the best cinematography category at the Australian Industry Awards
Alastair Bruce and Mary Gapinski in Homers; Photo: Douglas Robertson
Iain has also directed a large number of documentaries and series.  He has picked up a number of awards including a BAFTA for Best Entertainment Programme; and Celtic Film Festival categories for Best Entertainment Programme and Best Arts Documentary.

Gaelic theatre
* Theme - Gaelic theatre
* Focus on - Theatre Hebrides
Related links
* The Traverse Theatre
* Royal Court Theatre, London
* Cumbernauld Theatre
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