Philip Howard trained as a director under Max Stafford-Clark at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme from 1988-90. He came to work for the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh in 1993 as Associate Director, with a brief to expand the Traverse’s development role as the home of Scottish playwriting. He has been Artistic Director of the theatre since 1996. He is a passionate advocate of new plays, and of the Traverse as a writers’ theatre, with special interest in developing work from outside Scotland’s urban centres, especially the far North. In 2002 the Traverse was re-designated Scotland’s New Writing Theatre. The Traverse has received a Herald Angel Award (1998) and a Herald Archangel Award (2001) for its Edinburgh Fringe Festival programme.
The Traverse has produced several plays by David Greig, including Europe (1994); The Architect (1996); The Speculator (in Catalan at Grec Festival, Barcelona; Scottish Premiere at Edinburgh International Festival, 1999); Outlying Islands (Fringe First at 2002 Festival; also Royal Court Theatre, London, & revived 2003); and his stage adaptation of When the Bulbul Stopped Singing by Raja Shehadeh (Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at 2004 Edinburgh Festival; also Fadjr International Festival, Tehran, & off-Broadway, New York). Other previous productions by Traverse include Faith Healer by Brian Friel, Lazybed by Iain Crichton Smith, Kill the Old Torture Their Young by David Harrower (Fringe First at 1998 Festival) and I Was A Beautiful Day by Iain F. MacLeod. Philip Howard also works regularly as a mentor for the Seeds Programme of Rough Magic Theatre Company in Dublin, with playwrights Ioanna Anderson, Neil Bristow and Stacey Gregg. In 2004 he directed Anderson’s Words of Advice for Young People at Project Arts Centre.