Jo is the author of a hundred works in every dramatic medium. Her work has been translated into many languages and has been performed all over the world.
Recent plays include: FAUST, PARTS ONE AND TWO (Lyceum); EVERY ONE (Lyceum, then Battersea Arts Centre); THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE (Traverse); THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS, QUEEN OF HEAVEN; EVE (co-written with Chris Goode, National Theatre of Scotland) and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, & Tron Theatre, Glasgow).
She first built her reputation in the mid-eighties when she was still living as a man and writing under the name of ‘John Clifford’.
LOSING VENICE (1985) was the first of the plays she wrote for the Traverse and which re-established its reputation as an internationally important venue. She followed it with LUCY’S PLAY (1986); PLAYING WITH FIRE (1987); INES DE CASTRO (1989) and LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE (1992).
INES became an opera with music by James MacMillan, first performed by Scottish Opera in 1996 and revived several times. LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE has been translated into Tagalog and Urdu and will shortly be performed in Karachi.
She has dramatised many classic novels, including GREAT EXPECTATIONS (TAG 1988, Traverse 1989 and many other productions including the Vaudeville Theatre, London). Other adaptations include: LA VIE DE BOHEME (Pitlochry 1993); WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Pitlochry 1995); THE QUEEN OF SPADES (Pitlochry 2002) and ANNA KARENINA (Lyceum 2005, Royal Exchange 2016).
For radio, Jo has written FIVE DAYS WHICH CHANGED EVERYTHING; SPAM FRITTERS; WRITING HOME TO MOTHER; MADELEINE; AIN’T IT GRAND TO BE BLOOMIN’ WELL DEAD and ENDING TIME, and has adapted BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA and THE LEOPARD among many others.
In the last ten years, she has re-discovered herself as a performer. Last year she performed EVE at Dundee Rep, the Nairn Festival, and the International Theatre Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She regularly performs her GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS, QUEEN OF HEAVEN, most recently at the Traverse; at the Tron, Glasgow; in Brussels; Belo Horizonte; and Sao Paulo in Brazil. The Brazilian production has been touring Brazil for the past three years and is considered one of the most significant plays to have been performed there in recent history.