Featherstone forged a reputation for producing cutting-edge theatre as the head of the innovative Pains Plough touring company. After being given a three-year contract that officially starts Nov. 1, the 37-year-old director said that it could take 18 months to produce the company's first major production — preferably a Scottish state-of-the-nation play. Featherstone has strong associations with many contemporary Scottish playwrights, such as David Greig and Gregory Burke. With Paines Plough, Featherstone was responsible for appointing two controversial dramatists: Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and Fucking, Mother Clapp's Molly House) as literary manager and Sarah Kane (4:48 Psychosis, Blasted) as the company's writer-in-residence.
Before Featherstone's appointment, other names linked to the NTS post included Richard Wilson, Kenny Ireland and Bill Bryden.
Featherstone's vision for the NTS includes commissioning new writing by finding ways for dramatists to collaborate with professionals from other fields, such as scientists and geologists. Her most recent work included Abi Morgan's Tiny Dynamite, an innovative co-production between Paines Plough and the physical theatrical company Frantic Assembly. The acclaimed play about boyhood friendship premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001.