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Chicago Shakespeare Theater
on Navy Pier
800 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents a WorldStage production from Scotland


A spellbinding new musical with a Scottish folk-inspired score Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, November 29–December 17, 2023

Chicago—October 25, 2023Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents Islander, a new folk musical from Scotland, fresh off of a critically acclaimed off-Broadway run. Originally conceived and directed by Amy Draper, with tour staging and associate direction by Eve Nicol, a book by Stewart Melton, and music and lyrics by Finn Anderson, Islander uses live sound looping technology to create a spellbinding musical experience. The production plays in a limited engagement in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare as part of the Theater’s WorldStage Series, November 29–December 17, 2023. Stages with a contemporary folk-inspired score and epic storytelling, two performers reveal a world of characters, live-mixing and layering their voices to create a dazzling, unexpected soundscape 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.” As the island’s residents debate its future, a baby whale beaches itself, and Eilidh discovers a mysterious girl along the shore. This modern myth takes audiences on a journey that transcends loss, recovers hope, and finds community.

The winner of Best New Musical at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Islander was given five stars by BritishTheatre, who called it “A flawless gem…a modern folk tale that is hard not to fall in love with.” During its off-Broadway run, The Daily Beast touted that Islander is really gorgeous—sharp, moving, funny, and one of the best musicals in New York.

The company is double cast, with two performers performing each of the two roles at alternating performances. Sharing the role of Eilidh are Lois Craig; and Sylvie Stenson, and sharing the role of Arran are Stephanie MacGaraidh and Julia Murray . In addition to their primary roles, they bring a multitude of other characters to life. The creative team also includes Scenic Designer Emma Bailey, Lighting Designer Simon Wilkinson, Costume Designer  Hahnji Jang , and Sound Designer  Sam Kusnetz. Islander is produced in association with Setasea LLC, Helen Milne Productions, Theatre Royal Plymouth, and Dundee Rep Theatre.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s WorldStage Series exemplifies a landmark commitment to bring the world’s great theaters to Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare to the world. The series has welcomed some of the globe’s most exciting theatrical events, affording theatergoers prime opportunities to experience different cultural traditions and must-see international shows without leaving Chicago. To date, the WorldStage Series has featured more than 1,300 artists from 22 countries spanning six continents, sharing compelling stories in 24 languages.

Accessible and enhanced performances for Islander include:

  • Open-captioned performance – Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 7:30 p.m. A text display of the words and sounds heard during a play, synced live with the action onstage.
  • ASL duo-interpreted performance – Friday, December 8, 2023, at 7:30 p.m.  All dialogue and lyrics are translated into American Sign Language by two certified interpreters.
  • Audio-described performance – Sunday, December 10, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. A program that provides spoken narration of a play’s key visual elements for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

More information at or on social media at @chicagoshakes.

Islander will be presented November 29–December 17, 2023, in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets start at $65 and are on sale now. Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at


Regional Tony Award-recipient Chicago Shakespeare Theater produces a bold and innovative year-round season—plays, musicals, world premieres, family productions, and theatrical presentations from around the globe—alongside nationally recognized education programming serving tens of thousands of students, teachers, and lifelong learners each year. Founded in 1986, the Theater’s onstage work has expanded to as many as twenty productions and 650 performances annually. Chicago Shakespeare is dedicated to welcoming the next generation of theatergoers; one in four of its audience members is under the age of eighteen. As a nonprofit organization, the Theater works to embrace diversity, prioritize inclusion, provide equitable opportunities, and offer an accessible experience for all. On the Theater’s three stages at its home on Navy Pier, in classrooms and neighborhoods across the city, and in venues around the world, Chicago Shakespeare is a multifaceted cultural hub—inviting audiences, artists, and community members to share powerful stories that connect and inspire.

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