Judith Adams - Playwright & Dramatist

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

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Whitestone Arts Research Centre

Creative Workshop Space, West Yorkshire

Adapted 17th Century Pennine longhouse

[email protected]
+44 (0)1535 644644

Live and Theatre Work



"...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)


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


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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 productions.



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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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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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)



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



July 12 - 22

Based at HOLLYHOCK Arts and Retreat Centre (BC CANADA)


Margie Gillis: Dancing from the Inside Out

Tedd Robinson: Functional Movement


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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,


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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)


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.



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



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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.


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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


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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)


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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.