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Winner of Best New Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Islander tells a modern myth featuring two actors who use live mixing and looping technology to create a sonic landscape as dramatic as the Scottish coastline. Eilidh is the only child on Kinnan Island, where most of the dwindling population has moved to the “Big Land.” The government has proposed to resettle the rest, and the town must vote soon on whether or not to accept the offer. But the day after a baby whale beaches itself, Eilidh discovers a young girl named Arran along the shore, who seems straight out of Scottish folklore. As the two form a friendship, Islander takes audiences on a magical journey to transcend loss, recover hope, and find community.

“Islander” merges sophisticated recording/sound technology with human vocals and cascading emotions. The result is an exquisite rendering of the ocean’s ever-awesome powers and profound fragility, and its indelible impact on two young women poised on its brink, looking toward a wider world they look to with both hope and fear.

- The Chicago Sun Times

Conceived and Directed by
Amy Draper

Staging & Associate Direction by
Eve Nicol

Book by
Stewart Melton

Music and Lyrics by
Finn Anderson

2023-24 Season
Part of the 2023-24 Season

DC-Area Reviews

  • Washington Post: "Magic...the Scottish actresses arrange their golden voices into swooping, haunting harmonies that fill Olney Theatre Center’s main stage... It's exciting to watch."
  • DC Theater Arts: "a fresh, music-and-vocals-inspired myth about relationships, care for nature, and time-honored tradition."
  • Broadway World: "a powerful auditory feast that evokes everything from the sounds of the shore to the drip of a leaky roof to whale song and traditional Scottish instruments"
  • MD Theatre Guide: "Islander casts an enthralling spell, a perfect blend of artistry and creativity unlike any other in the world."
  • Washington City Paper: "Islander’s telling is simply pitch-perfect"

Watch the New Trailer

Want a Synopsis?

In one swift, intermissionless act, two actors embody more than two dozen characters to tell the story of Islander. The action (and character changes) move quickly, so this synopsis may enhance your enjoyment of this magical journey. 

  • Lois Craig

  • Stephanie MacGaraidh

  • Julia Murray

  • Sylvie Stenson


Advance Reviews

  • Seattle TimesMythical, minimal ‘Islander’ at Seattle Rep prompts us to pay attention
  • Chicago Sun Times‘Islander,’ a haunting musical from Scotland, exquisitely merges sound tech with the human voice

On The Blog

Listen to the Cast Recording

You can also find the Islander cast recording on Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube.

Islander: A New Musical

April 11 - April 28 2024

Box Office: 301.924.3400

Open Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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