Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

"Judith Adams doesn't just write well-made plays, but pieces in which form and subject are perfectly matched" Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

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Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

+44 (0)1535 644644


As the novels of Tanizaki, Murakami, Soseki, Enchi, Idemitsu, Ishiguro and Mizumura testify, the western and eastern traditions of gothic - these vampire dramas of the excluded, the marginal and the enslaved - are yoked in magnetic attraction and repulsion; yet why is never clear.

Inside and outside the Stormy House ghosts, doublings, split personas, women and ghost children lurk at our windows and in the dark shadows of the Room (camera), ignored through the edicts of men at the world's ultimate peril.

The 'project' at this stage is travel to explore relevant aspects of Japanese culture and begin scoring a multi-format script using both languages. This application is for fees during our trip in Spring 2017 for myself, Stacey Johnstone and Simon Warner, to capture Japanese landscapes, explore possible Japanese venues, meet potential project partners, including Mami Katsuya (programme director, Kyoto Art Centre), Shoko Koizumi (Lafcadio Hearn Museum) and work with Juliet Winters Carpenter (translator and Professor of English at Doshisha Women’s College, Kyoto).

This will enable an intensive period of script and technical development on our return, including a workshop with Drs. Oli Mival and Iain McGregor, Digital Research Fellows from Edinburgh Napier University. The future intention is to rehearse the show at Whitestone and a venue in Japan for performance in both countries in 2018 (the 200th Anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birth). Further funding will be sought for these later stages of workshops, rehearsal and production from the Japan Foundation, British Council and Arts Council England, with support in kind from our company Whitestone Arts (est. 2003). We host creative projects from our base on Haworth Moor near the home of the Brontes. In 2012 we created a poem/dance/projection performance, Crossing the Line, exploring the Bronte landscape, for a symposium at the Parsonage Museum. In 2014 we co-produced a residential workshop exploring Japanese ghost traditions with Opera North Projects, uncovering exciting parallels between Wuthering Heights, Japanese ghost stories translated by Lafcadio Hearn and spirit-possession in the Genji classic. We wish to start by getting a Japanese perspective on this original idea.

Emily located her childhood imaginary Queendom of Gondal in ‘the North Pacific Ocean’, we found during research, making Japan a likely location for her imaginary landscape. The coincidence was too good to ignore - something Einstein might describe as “spooky action at a distance”.

Our trip will begin to link two northern (wild) locations and provide the personnel and materials needed to create a truly collaborative text. It will make a significant contribution to worldwide Emily Bronte celebrations in 2018. Taking an entirely ghostly perspective on the novel is an original idea, as is making kaidan (ghost tales) its parallel universe. I will focus our joint skills and experience on the deep structure of Wuthering Heights.

With the intention of including two languages throughout, and story-telling through action, mixed reality and visuals, our ‘game of quantum fragments’ will have a broad potential audience, drawing local, national and international attention to cross-cultural themes, and the potential flexibility of multi-narratives. Our style of composition and expression may also lend itself to versions in other forms, such as graphic novel, radio play, and/or video game. The theme is a potent one in popular youth culture: can Lockwood/Lafcadio face his ghostly room girl nemesis and ‘Let the Right One’ cross the threshold?

Soul-swallowing (Japan trip blog link)