Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

"Judith Adams and Gaynor Macfarlane: two of the safest pairs of hands in radio" Radio Times Choice

Main Menu

Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

+44 (0)1535 644644

Current Projects


In development 2016-18

Stormy House will be a combined arts performance of text, dance, inscription, visuals and mixed reality taking place in UK and Japanese non-theatre venues in 2018-20. This giant leap of ambition is inspired Whitestone Arts' location on Haworth Moor, the 200th Anniversary of Emily Brontë's birth in 2018 and our content-rich, cross-cultural, mixed reality concept of overlapping narratives based on the characters, ghosts and landscapes of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (1847) and Patrick Lafcadio Hearn's Japanese kaidan translations (1903), linking 2 writers, 2 cultures, 2 landscapes and 2 classic texts through supernatural mirrors and modern AV and mixed reality portals.

The show will be developed between Japanese and UK artists, schoolchildren and students of drama both in Japan and in our research centre on the moors, where the weather-beaten footpath signs, in English and Japanese, testify to a mysterious connection between our 2 cultures and their love of earthly ghosts.

Our research trip to Japan May/June 2017 to record landscapes, meet contacts at the Kyoto Art Centre and Lafcadio Hearn Museum (where we spoke with his great grandson Bon Koizumi), study Shinto and work with Japan scholar Juliet Winters Carpenter of Doshisha Women's College in Kyoto was supported by the Daiwa Foundation and the Arts Council England/British Council Artists'International Development Fund.

In the depths of the Dark House and shadows, we placed Woman, marking her as the whitest of beings; but only the face and hands. The teeth were painted black, the lips green-black, the eyebrows shaved. She was as a spectre: might not the Darkness have emerged from her mouth and black teeth, from the black of her hair, like the thread from a great Earth Spider?

Tanizaki: In Praise of Shadows.

Soul-swallowing (Japan trip blog link)


Judith Adams
Simon Warner
Stacey Johnstone
(Whitestone Arts)



Two powerful BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast dramatisations by Judith Adams, based on the best selling novels of


published on 6 CDs



Sasha Yevtushenko and Allegra McIlroy


These brief audio dramas require enormous compression of scenes and events, but (Judith Adams') sensitivity to what the books are about, what the heart of them is, where the whole story goes, guides her choice of what can and can't be cut, and where to put it. She's just about unerring. Ursula Le Guin, Sept.2016

Dramatisation in 12 half-hour episodes of the classic books by Ursula K. Le Guin

Part Two 2016/17 - The Weaver's Fan - in construction

First Half broadcast and on CD:

BBC Radio 4E

Broadcast 2015, April 27/28/29/30, May 1st & 4th: 6-6.30pm.

producer / director: Sasha Yevtushenko

This epic project is a personal interpretation, through the fusion of all six books (Wizard of Earthsea, Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales of Earthsea and The Other Wind). Distilled across six hours, this will be the creation of an immersive world to rival Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Gormenghast and Neverwhere. Although adored by teenagers for decades, Earthsea isn't simply a saga for the young. Le Guin layers her work with themes of self-discovery, relationships, isolation and connection, love and betrayal, violence and redemption. Earthsea has unique characters, a glorious geography and the energy of its own songs, sagas and myths.

It challenges all boundaries, especially those of gender, race and privilege.

Le Guin brings reality itself to the proving ground. Theodore Sturgeon

BBC Blog: Writer's Room



2015 / 2016


Project with Vision Mechanics, Edinburgh

Scotland / Norway

performed on Scottish beaches 2015 +

21-26 September 2016, Findhorn Bay Festival, Moray


Norway Coast Summer 2016:

25-28 May, Stamsund Theatre Festival

21-25 June, Arctic Arts Festival, Harstad

28 June - 3 July, Fossekleiva Kultursenter, Berger

Concert Version performed at Tron Theatre,Glasgow,20th January 2016, Celtic Connections.

My job: conceiving and composing a structure, concept and language for the project, and then writing a libretto for single voice. The story, songs and recitative were inspired by the "true tale" of Betty Mouat, a crofter from Shetland, who spent eight days drifting alone in the North Sea in 1886, and devised by the company during a winter residency on the Shetland Islands,2015.


****Scotsman: Joyce McMillan, July 4th, 2015

The music is an exquisite Shetland song-cycle, with music by Eddie Maguire, words by playwright Judith Adams, and vocals by Gerda Stevenson, in wonderful voice; the installations range from tiny, well-documented 19th century interiors to dream-like sculptures. And the whole show offers a rare opportunity to merge into the landscape for a while; to live inside Betty's story, and to think of the sea, of all it has meant to us, and of how it, too, now needs our protection, and our care.

*****Edinburgh Guide: June 15th, 2015

"......this absorbing and interactive piece of theatre is graced with the pool clear voice of Gerda Stevenson narrating in braw Shetlandic. Eddie McGuire's evocative and atmospheric music and Judith Adams' heart plucking libretto with lines like, 'Greet na fir yir faider bairnie, suin aa will be fetching hame' both round and complete this unique and affecting experience. This is a beautiful and moving salt breeze creation .....a beach trip like no other."(for more, click below)


Symon Macintyre (directed/producer), Judith Adams (librettist/writer) Eddie McGuire (composer) Gerda Stevenson (vocalist) Nik Paget-Tomlinson and Niroshini Thambar (soundscape artists), Kim Bergsagel, Iain Halket, Tony Reason, Alice Wilson and Adrian Barber (design),Stephen Moir (assistant designer),Ingrid Scholes (costumier), Charles Macintyre (construction)

Running time:





With Fifty Nine Productions

Initial concept and outline narrative scenario for projections on Historic Royal Palaces' iconic Tower of London - a UNESCO world heritage site.

Using the multi-layered architecture of the curtain walls and Beauchamp Tower, 59 Productions will create the largest projection canvas London has seen, with the live band Public Service Broadcasting driving the visual and musical narrative.




April 12th & 19th 2015

Dramatisation of the award-winning, ground-breaking and deeply influential novel by Ursula K. Le Guin

BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial, 2015

TBB April 12th & 19th, 3-4pm;

rpt. April 18th & 25th, 9-10pm

producer/director: Allegra McIlroy

Le Guin, daughter of an anthropologist father and novelist mother, takes apart the components of what it is to be human in this 'reality' and experiments with new environments in time and space that re-examine the very heart, muscle and bone of how to be more fully human in other, startling ways.

"A book does not come to me as an idea, or a plot, or an event, or a society, or a message; it comes to me as a person. A person seen, seen at a certain distance, usually in a landscape.....Once... I saw two of them. As my vision is not ironic, but romantic, they were small figures, remote, in a tremendous waste landscape of ice and snow. They were pulling a sledge or something over the ice, hauling together. That is all I saw. I didn't know who they were. I didn't even know what sex they were (I must say I was surprised when I found out). But that is how my novel The Left Hand of Darkness began, and when I think of the book, it is still that vision I see. All the rest of it, with all its strange rearrangements of human gender and its imagery of betrayal, loneliness and cold, is my effort to catch up, to get nearer, to get there, where I had seen two figures on the snow, isolated and together."

Ursula K. Le Guin: The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and (Science) Fiction.

BBC Blog: Writer's Room



2013 -

for 59 Productions

A multi-media re-working of the Hampton Court Palace visitor introduction to the King's Baroque Apartments in the reign of William lll and Mary ll.

A thrilling and quirky re-visioning of a period and style little known but richly rewarding, using a fine scale model of the Apartments and a deal of flair.



A three-year project, commissioned by Stellar Quines Theatre Company and funded by the Scottish Arts Council for performance in Pitlochry Plant Collectors' Memorial Garden (2003).

Company: Judith Adams, Muriel Romanes, Leo Warner, Robert Sharp, Francis Gallop, Colette O'Neil, Wendy Seagar, Alexandra Mathie, Luke Shaw, Kern Faulkner, Jonathan Battersby, Pauline Lockhart, Yonnie Fraser, Karen Bryce, Anna Cocciadiferro, Jemima Levick, Ian Jackson, Gemma Swallow, Jessica Richards, Sunita Hundija, Jacqui Howard, Stephanie Turner, Kate Quinn, Alex Bynoth, Katie Durkin, Claire Halleran, Catherine Lindow, Lisa Sangster, Amy Elder, Ross Adam, Dan Huke, Simon Warner, Joanna Boyce, Alison Reever, Kirstin Roan, members of Lyceum Youth Theatre.

The first public performances of Sweet Fanny Adams in Eden took place in the Pitlochry Plant Collectors' Garden in August 2003, but this version was already an adaptation of the original, which exists, in all its mutable dialogue and descriptive elements, on a hypertext site created for playwright Judith Adams by media artists Leo Warner and Robert Sharp of Fifty Nine Productions. This enabled her to lay simultaneous script modules out spatially on computer, and then "walk" different pathways between them, moving backwards and forwards through time. In its simplest form, such a structure is most closely described as a 3-D mind map. This was adapted for the challenging terrain of Pitlochry, losing some elements and gaining others along the way.

These modules, which cannot be published in any conventional way, remain available for re-assembly into any site-specific production.



April 3rd 2015

for 59 Productions

and Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace


Fifty Nine Productions


2012 -

Ongoing development of a project with Stacey Johnstone, exploring themes based on Simon Warner's lecture Isolating V5: Towards a Human Zoetrope, presented at the Magic Lantern Society/University of Westminster conference Old Media New Work 1 May 2010 & Hybrid art and science exhibition, Sheffield Institute of the Arts, February 2010

Currently devising a cross-art touring performance and/or installation.

A Whitestone Arts Development Project

project thumbnail


Our Yorkshire-based company, WHITESTONE ARTS established in 2003, now has a small residential and training facility in our converted farmhouse buildings on the moors near Haworth.

This is a newly converted research centre which is available for hire and aims to host the initiation and/or fostering of innovative shows, installations, exhibitions and other cross-disciplinary artistic and educational projects: our own, and those of other parties sympathetic to the company's aims.

To see more details, click on the link above.