Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

"A delicious, sensory overload of future gothic." (Ghost) Neil Cooper

Main Menu

Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

+44 (0)1535 644644

Live and Theatre Work


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)



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.



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.




A Whitestone Arts project.

South Riding - An English Landscape by Winifred Holtby

published (posthumously) in 1936

Dramatised for ensemble performance by Judith Adams

"I want to do something hard, muscular, compact, very little emotional and then the emotion hammered into style. Metal work, not water colour." Winifred Holtby.

For performance in 2012/13

Current status:

Second draft text and movement ensemble workshop West Yorkshire Playhouse, December 6th-9th 2010

10 performers

video design Mic Pool

choreography Lucy Hind


project thumbnail


The Drama Division, School of Music and Drama, UoH

Affiliated to teach on MA courses Writing for Performance and Ensemble Physical Theatre, Training and Performance within the Department of Theatre, Drama and Performance.

This relationship with the University assists my ongoing research into physicality and the playwright, exploring the practice and pedagogy of contemporary playwrighting (outside the convention of the 'well-made play') in the areas of: dramaturgy (through interrogating my own word-creation processes), collaboration and psycho-physical training.

The University supports this exploration, focused around exploring ways of creating a performance ensemble responsive to the nature of my texts through involvement of staff and student personnel, and by allowing use of their studio spaces and facilities wherever possible.



August 2009

"Judith Adams is the perfect choice to adapt Muriel Spark's sly and tender novel about a group of young women living on little more than hope and euphoria..." Guardian preview


Monday, August 17, 2009

".....we have Stellar Quines' masterly Girls Of Slender Means, the result of producer/director Muriel Romanes commissioning the playwright Judith Adams to adapt Spark's slim 1963 book.....this graceful production flows ....the performances are faultless....Spark gave Adams' first draft her blessing; and she has brought the text bitingly alive and as savagely brilliant as ever." Metro, NADINE MCBAY

"Scotland's leading women's theatre company has succeeded in bringing together a fascinating first-ever stage version...in a strong and thought-provoking adaptation by Judith Adams....a powerful and gripping contribution to this year's Festival debate on the idea of enlightenment...." Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman ****

"packed audiences are lapping up Judith Adams' fine adaptation in a poetic, deliquescent production by Muriel Romanes....the mood, and sense of history, is spot on....there's a gallery of outstanding performances led by Maureen Beattie...brilliant newcomer Melody Grove as their poetry-reciting conscience, and Candida Benson as the sexy Selina. A show with a big future, I'd guess." Michael Coveney, WHAT"S ON Stage ****

"Adams's script is beautifully fractured, and Muriel Romanes's production....has a fevered quality that feeds the idea that 'death is just a tick away'" Lyn Gardner, The Guardian ***

NOMINATION for BEST ENSEMBLE at the Festival: The Stage ****

"there is no doubting the clarity of vision..." Oliver Farrimond, Fest.***

Between VE Day and VJ Day, as the war-shaken May of Teck Club collapses in its very own peace-time holocaust, the world loses the last vestiges of its torn and tattered innocence, slips between the sheets with Mammon and goes to the Devil as simply as a beautiful young girl slips into the chiffon folds of a bartered Schiaparelli dress for her night out.

Muriel Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards, decisive as a smashed glass is decisive John Updike, New Yorker

Music Hall, Assembly Rooms, George Street box office

box office: 0131 623 3030


6th to 31st Aug 2009, 2.50pm

Producer/director: Muriel Romanes, Stellar Quines Theatre Company

Funded by Scottish Arts Council and Assembly Festival

(MORAL: "It's just a matter of time" Muriel Spark The Girls of Slender Means)



September 23rd - 26th 2009

Inspired by Bach's Goldberg Variations

Text exploration towards performance at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield of MA Ensemble Physical Theatre students, led by John Britton

With Chris Coe

University of Huddersfield


July 12 - 22

Based at HOLLYHOCK Arts and Retreat Centre (BC CANADA)


Margie Gillis: Dancing from the Inside Out

Tedd Robinson: Functional Movement



April 8th-17th

"Stones have been known to move and trees to speak" (Macbeth)

Physical Training, Ensemble and Macbeth


John Britton

Au Brana Cultural Centre, Pauilhac, South of France


project thumbnail


Workshops funded by Arts Council England (Yorkshire), Whitestone Arts (Yorkshire), Fifty-Nine Productions (London/NY) and the University of Huddersfield in January and May 2008.

A team of playwright + video/film designers, dancers, puppeteers, performers and musicians explored the physical and linguistic/aural text of a dramatisation of Angela Carter's The Loves of Lady Purple,


project thumbnail


May 2008

Local, national and international artists assembled for two workshops hosted by the University of Huddersfield Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance in January and May 2008, for a total of 7 days.

These workshops were funded by Arts Council England (Yorkshire), Whitestone Arts (Yorkshire), Fifty-Nine Productions (London/NY) and the University of Huddersfield


VILLETTE - dramatisation of Charlotte Bronte's novel

23 October - 1st November 2008

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

Second year students reprise the gothic adventures of Lucy Snowe

Director: Deborah Paige

Thursday 23rd October - Saturday 1 November 2008

Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre - 7.30pm (Mat. 2.30)

- and after

25-27 September, 2008

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Collaboration with students studying for the University of Huddersfield's MA in Ensemble Physical Theatre: Training and Performance.

exploring text and movement with John Britton and Chris Coe



Matinee 2.30 pm, Friday



17th / 18th / 19th March 2008

A workshop funded by the University of British Columbia, Canada with solo dancer and choreographer Margie Gills and Professor Michelle LeBaron to explore, through dance and language, the negative and positive character of conflict - its nature and its possible uses.



November 2007

Text provision on the hoof (or wing) for international 3 year project exploring depression and creativity. Co-production between Edinburgh (Stellar Quines), Montreal (Imago Theatre) and Romania (National Theatre of Timisoara). Workshops at The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 2006, National Theatre of Timisoara 2007.


November 2007-2010

Private commission in collaboration with Paula Frunzetti and Mirela Iacob (Romania). To be composed in English, Romanian and Bird.



December 2007 -

Epistolatory revelations, with Sue Limb

This forthright union of Trinny and Susannah and Charlie's Garden Army with Shakespeare in Love is sure to contain startling new evidence of the surprising importance of Birmingham in the cultural renaissance and plumbing advances of Elizabethan life. Edgebaston Racing Monthly



project thumbnail


April 2000

16th March - 8th April 2000

Published by Oberon Modern Plays:

email Oberon Books

Directed by Deborah Paige

Designed by Kit Surrey

Choreographed by Ruth Jones

Photographic Installation by Simon Warner


When Georges leaves his sick wife Sophie and flies out to meet Thea at Everest Base Camp, their goals seem simple: to continue an affair and to climb the highest mountain in the world. But when a Sherpa guide and an elusive photographer join them on their journey they enter a mysterious territory of ghosts. Some, like Mallory, are children of the mountain; others have travelled with them from their pasts.


project thumbnail


June 1998

Script winner of Susan Smith Blackburn Special Award presented in New York, 1999

Directed by Mark Stuart Currie and Janet Gordon

Designed by Olivia Gill

Choreography by Nike Imoru


A young Charles V of Flanders shipwrecks on the North coast of Spain on his way to visit his mother Juana, locked in a tower at Tordesillas, to claim the crown of Spain from her. He is captured and then entertained by a group of Picaros who with their mysterious "Queen" lead him through episodes of Spain's history to a meeting with his mother, where a critical decision has to be made for his own future and that of the world.



December 1997

December 1997

For children 7-10

Directed by Catriona Murray

Designed by Kate Burnett

Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen


project thumbnail


March 1997

March / April 1997

Directed by Deborah Paige

Designed by Geraldine Pilgrim

Lighting: Chahine Yavroyan

Dramatisation of Charlotte Bronte's Villette

Company: Derek Hutchinson, Holly de Jong, Martin Ledwith. Poppy Miller, Michael Glenn Murphy, Sonya Walger (+ workshops: Angus Wright, Chris McHallem, Lucy Hall, Myra McFadyen)


project thumbnail


November 1996

One Horse Productions

Short listed: Susan Smith Blackburn Award

Battersea Arts Centre

November 1996

Directed by Gaynor Macfarlane

Designed by Tim Meacock

Company: Nick Fletcher, Lorraine Hilton, Dean McGuirn, Jamie Roberts, Isobel Middleton, Tracy Wiles, Lyn Christie, Rose Keegan, Kate Laurie, Raewyn Lippert, Michael Larkin, Lawrence Crawford.