Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

"...a bit of a dab hand when it comes to resurrecting the lives of rejected women" Carole Woddis

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Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

www.whitestonearts.co.uk
[email protected]
+44 (0)1535 644644

Current Projects

嵐の家 ARASHI NO IE / STORMY HOUSE

2018-20

"...he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire... Nelly: I am Heathcliff."
Emily Brontë / Catherine Earnshaw: Wuthering Heights (1848)

"...here the old narrative breaks off: the rest of the story exists only in some brain that has been dust for centuries. I am able to imagine several possible endings; but none of them would satisfy an Occidental imagination. I prefer to let the witness attempt to decide for themselves the Probable Consequence of Swallowing a Soul"
Lafcadio Hearn transl. In a Cup of Tea, Kwaidan (1903)

OVERVIEW

Stormy House is an on-going collaboration and co-creation between 59 Productions and Whitestone Arts, integrating classic texts, video (including VR and AR), traditional lullaby, binaural sound, landscape, architecture and cross-cultural mixed reality performance. At its heart, it celebrates the power of childhood imagination to conjure, through play, both redemptive artforms and new and better worlds from the implosion of the old.

The project was inspired by the prolific literature, maps and 'making out' (acting) of the famous Brontë children in their tiny Parsonage cellar in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Emily sited her imaginary Queendom of Gondal in the North Pacific, so our 2018 performance version explored the ghost world of Wuthering Heights from the structural perspective of traditional Japanese ghost tales, Kwaidan, translated into English in 1903 by Greco-Irish author Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. Research revealed that both writers had Celtic roots, lost mothers when very young and shared a passion for shape-shifting. (Hearn took Japanese citizenship and a new identity when he married the daughter of a samurai family. Emily simply is the voice of all the characters in her only novel). This walk-in installation premiered to great public delight in the Old Schoolroom opposite the Brontës’ original home, now the Brontë Parsonage Museum, in 2018.

2020-21: we are currently exploring VR, AR and MR versions of the show for international festivals, museums, and other non-theatre buildings. More news to come.

Produced by
59 Productions and Whitestone Arts

In partnership with
Brontë Parsonage Museum and Bradford Theatre in the Mill (2018)

Created by
for 59 Productions (2018)
Design Director: Leo Warner
Architectural Designer: Khushali Chawda
Head of Architecture: Jenny Melville
Video Designer: Diego Sanguino
Sound Designer: Ella Wahlstrom
Producer: Ollie Hester
Director of Photography: Jessie Rodger
Installation Technician: David Callanan
Technical Associates: Iain Syme, Megan Kearney
Technical Intern: David Brown

for Whitestone Arts (2018)
Judith Adams (concept director), Stacey Johnstone (co-director), Simon Warner (photography), Misuzu Kosaka (calligraphy/performer), Natsuko Toyoshima (translator), Ima Tenko, Riko Murakami (Butoh dancers/performers), Ayaka Morimoto (tea celebrant/performer), Aaron White & Stacey Johnstone (Hearn and Brontë/performers), Zoe Katsilerou (composer), Megan Kearney (production manager)

Supported by (2017/18)
Brontë Parsonage Museum (special thanks to Jenna Holmes), Theatre in the Mill Bradford, Arts Council England, British Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, The Japan Society, Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation, Walk Japan, Wabi Sabi Design

https://59productions.co.uk/project/arashi-no-ie/

Download - Touring Pack

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EARTHSEA

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) shared our journey of adaptation - reading all the scripts as they developed and warmly approving the results.

Sadly, though she read the final scripts, she has not been able to hear the second half.

This dramatisation is dedicated to her spirit and genius and to her deliciously witty and trenchant support. I sorely miss her emails. Judith Adams

"Honestly, I wish the people who want to make films out of Earthsea would find adapters/scriptwriters of the calibre of Judith Adams. These brief audio dramas require enormous compression of scenes and events, but her 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

Season One (repeated): Friday 5 October - Friday 12th October 2018

Season Two (premiere): Monday 15th October - Monday 22nd October 2018

producer / director: Sasha Yevtushenko

This epic project is a feminist 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. Game of Thrones has used may of its key tropes. 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

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PUBLISHED by BBC/PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE: EARTHSEA PART ONE / The LEFT HAND of DARKNESS

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

URSULA LE GUIN

published on 6 CDs

2016

producers/directors:

Sasha Yevtushenko and Allegra McIlroy

SOUTH RIDING

2019 - 2021

Scenes from the 1936 novel by Winifred Holtby, published posthumously.

Dramatised for ensemble, multi-discipline, cross-artform, mixed-reality 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 watercolour."
Winifred Holtby.

This dramatisation is being drafted in stages to allow collaboration on its development with drama students from Cathedral Academy for Performing Arts in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. We will explore through text, choreography, video (live feed or recorded), animation and set design, how we might play out this complex story of a whole community, struggling for survival between two un-great wars, by using non-linear, multi-platform performance techniques.

Holtby's landscape is both the homeland of her childhood and imaginary: a fictional Riding of Yorkshire continuously haunted by ghosts of the dead and disenfranchised.

"Starting with Judith Adams' dramatization, we will expose the waste of women's lives in a world of poverty, no-choice childbirth and corrupt male power and politics. This project will be a gateway into the buried stories of Yorkshire's female visionaries: young and old, artistic, medical, political, biographical and fictional.

These portraits reveal how female talents, biology and community instincts underpin the male state yet are marginalized and undervalued - and the tragedy this causes.

Our artistic heritage project will develop and refine live and captured material, playing in and out of physical and virtual reality environments and, critically, exploring where an audience will fit into that environment in a post-pandemic world."
Stacey Johnstone, Project Director, Lecturer at CAPA, 2020

"It is a play is about the essence of community, its luminous strengths and tragic vulnerabilities, and also about a world of imagination - on the margins of our country, caught between a "war to end all wars" and the next war. Similar battles for individual empowerment and a re-distribution of health and wealth are being fought by young and old today, through the dead (ghosts of our pasts and futures) and the living; across ethnicity, age and gender."
Judith Adams, Dramatist, Director Whitestone Arts. 2020

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DRIFT

2015 / 2016

2016: SHORT-LISTED FOR 3 CRITICS' AWARDS THEATRE SCOTLAND

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.

Reviews:

****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)

Production:

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:

40mins

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THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS

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

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THE BAROQUE STORY

2013 - 2020

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.

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HAMPTON COURT PALACE 500: REWIND

April 3rd 2015

for 59 Productions

and Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace

See:

Fifty Nine Productions

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WHITESTONE ARTS WORKSHOPS AND PROJECT RESEARCH CENTRE

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.

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