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This show closed on February 2, 2019

About Outlying Islands

1939, Scotland. Two young ornithologists arrive on a remote island. They've been tasked by the Ministry to conduct a study of the bird population.

With only the island's authoritarian leaseholder and his niece for company, they find themselves drawn to the wildness of the island, igniting growing tensions and repressed passions.

Blurring the line between fantasy and reality, Greig's poetic, funny, and politically charged play explores a society on the edge of immense change.

Tell Me More

Under the guise of an ornithological study when the world is on the cusp of World War II, Robert and his assistant John are sent on a seemingly ideal work trip to a remote Scottish island full of alluring untamed wilderness. When it is later revealed that not only the wildlife may be threatened, but their newfound freedom along with it, the men find out what happens when the true power of humanity rears its ugly head. Along with all the staples of a true dramatic thriller such as shady villains and chilling twists, this eye-opening play examines whether any morality remains once our capacity for civility runs out.

In this tumultuous era, where the boundaries of maintaining an austere political image are brazenly blurred by the dangers of human frailty, “Outlying Islands” is primed to be a topical engagement. Although the play is set in 1939, David Greig’s skewering drama remains consistently relevant, examining the cross section of political propriety and primal instincts.

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What To Watch For

  • Even beyond his work as playwright, David Greig is a notable outlier. Although he was raised in Edinburgh, he was born in Nigeria and is a vocal member of Scotland’s “Yes” campaign, seeking independence (or indeed outlying) from the UK.
  • The Atticist theatre company that is staging the play selected the work because they admire Greig’s writing and his ability to “see the world in a grain of sand,” according to the play’s director Jessica Lazar in an interview with The Reviews Hub.
  • Lazar cites the nature sketches of artist Norman Ackroyd as the primary design inspiration for the production. Ackroyd’s work is fittingly stark, moody, and challenging, much like the play itself.

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Run Time

2hr 15mins

Start Date

End Date


Recommended for ages 16+.

King's Head Theatre

115 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN

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