Kay Adshead

Writer

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Film, TV & Theatre

Film, TV & Theatre

Kay Adshead is a poet, playwright, theatre maker, performer and producer.

She trained at RADA as an actress, where she won the Emile Littler Award for Outstanding Talent. She has played leading roles in film, theatre and TV, including Cathy in the BBC classic series Wuthering Heights, Linda in Mike Leigh’s film Kiss of Death, Viola in Twelfth Night, Betty in Touched and singing the role of Clara Twain in White Suit Blues, at The Old Vic. She learnt to wrestle for the role of Tanzi in Trafford Tanzi at The Mermaid, as well as countless appearances in popular TV programs spanning 30 years.

As a writer, she has been nominated 3 times for The Susan Smith Blackburn Award. She has written over 25 plays. She has beenpublished by Methuen, Faber and Faber, and Oberon, with commissions and/or productions at The Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, The Young Vic, The Roundhouse, The Tricycle, The Bush, Soho Theatre, The Cockpit, The Arcola, Theatre503, The Omnibus, and many more.

Alex Sierz of The Tribune describes her as” the great survivor”, and The Times reviewed her play I am Sad you are dead Mrs. T as “a poetic mortar bomb.” She has just returned from New York, where her new (American race/guns) play, Entering Incomplete Map Data, was presented as a staged reading, with esteemed activist group #Sayhername as guests in our audience. In February 2019, the Last Little Girl tackling sex trafficking, was performed at Match, Houston Texas, and Kay was awarded a Purposeful Artist Award. In April 2019, Kay devised and directed Section 28 and The Queer State, produced by Jacksons Lane Alexandra Palace and Mama Quilla, It was performed as an epic promenade around The Alexandra Palace ending in the iconic Victorian Theatre.

In 1999 with Lucinda Gane, she co-founded award-winning theatre company Mama Quilla, winning amongst other awards, Edinburgh Fringe First, Adelaide Fringe Sensation Award, Adelaide Best Fringe Performance Award, M.E.N. best Fringe Performance, nominated for an E.M.M.A and Encore Magazine best Play of the Year. She has devised and directed more than 10, experimental and live art projects for Mama Quilla (many with casts of over 30) working in hard to reach communities, including maximum security prisons.

She has written and directed her first short film (made in New York) The Count and is in pre-production for her second The Driflin’ to be shot on the Bolivar Peninsula in 2019 for Stingaree productions.

In Development

ProductionCompanyNotes
2019

STINGAREE PRODUCTIONS

Short film (writer/ director)

STORMY THE OPERA

2019

STINGAREE PRODUCTIONS

Burleque musical satire to be performed at MATCH Houston November 2019

THE QUEER STATE

2019

Alexandra Palace, Mama Quilla

Experimental performance inspired by LGBTQIA experience, to be performed in workshop on October 13 2019. Writer/ director

THE WORKING CLASS PROJECT (PART 2)

2019

MAMA QUILLA (AND PARTNERS TBA)

Three short plays - writer/director

ENTERING INCOMPLETE MAP DATA AREA

2017

Full length theatre version (writer)

WOMAN IN WARD 4

2017

Book 1, The Kill Buyer – a novella in verse (writer)

THE TOUPE (working title)

2017

short film (writer/director)

MAIA SENT FOR WATER (working title)

2017

Short film (writer/director)

La Compagnie Yorick/Mama Quilla

Part of the Soho Project

Radio

ProductionCompanyNotes

HANGING

2002

BBC Radio 4

Produced by Catherine Bailey

OF THE END

BBC Radio 3

Homage to Samuel Beckett. Writer and Performer.

THE BOGUS WOMAN

2001

BBC Radio 3

Produced by Catherine Bailey

Short Films

ProductionCompanyNotes

THE COUNT

Written and directed by Kay Adshead

THE LAST LITTLE GIRL

Written by Kay Adshead, dir. by Quason Matthews

THREE LOTUS FLOWERS

SheSpeaks Productions

Adapted from theatre poem written by Kay Adshead, directed by Eugenia Low

AFTER THE PARTY

Club X/Channel 4

ORANGES AND LEMONS

BBC City Shorts

Theatre

ProductionCompanyNotes

HARINGEY HAS PRIDE: SECTION 28 AND THE QUEER STATE

2019

Jackson’s Lane / Harringay Council / Alexandra Palace

Promenade performance at Alexandra Palace as part of Jacksons Lane ‘Haringey Has Pride’

THE LAST LITTLE GIRL

2019

Houston Play on Purpose / MATCH Houston

written and directed by Kay Adshead as part of Houston Play on Purpose's Showcase of Shorts (S.O.S)

TEN LOVERS

2018

Anything Goes

written and directed by Kay Adshead

HISTRIONICS

2018

Mama Quilla productions

written and directed by Kay Adshead

VIRILICUS

2018

Mama Quilla / Theatre Absolute, Coventry

A CRACKED PLASTER

2017

FUTURES

Written and Directed by Kay Adshead

WORKING CLASS

2017

Mama Quilla / Broadway Theatre

A Play in a Day workshop, as director

ACTS OF DEFIANCE - THE FESTIVAL

2016

Mama Quilla and Theatre 503

A weeklong festival produced by Kay Adshead comprising – six new plays by various authors, inc. Entering Incomplete Map Data Area , written and directed by Kay Adshead, 25 specially commissioned short films, including The Count , written and dir. Kay Adshead, and two work-in-progress community projects, including The Soldiers Son , written and directed by Kay Adshead.

ACTS OF DEFIANCE

2016

Mama Quilla & the Omnibus

Three Plays written by Kay Adshead:
The Last Little Girl , dir. Michael Batz
Happy Ending , dir. Kay Adshead
Three Lotus Flowers , dir. Kay Adshead

ACTS OF DEFIANCE

2015

Mama Quilla and Theatre 503

Three short plays written and directed by Kay Adshead including Primrose , The Singing Stones , Mama Quilla , written and directed by Kay Adshead, performed at the Arcola Theatre with a cast of nine women and one man.

VEIL

2014 - 2015

Mama Quilla

A theatre poem by Kay Adshead, directed by Kully Thiarai and performed
with an immersive installation created by Shanaz Gulzar, performed at
Theatre at The Mill Bradford, Z-arts Manchester, and The Hub Leeds,
transferring to the South Bank for the Alchemy Festival.

HAPPY ENDING

2013

Natural Shocks/PEEP

Performed at Edinburgh's most intimate venue

I AM SAD YOU ARE DEAD MRS T

2013

Theatre 503

Three Eulogies written for THATCHERWRITE

F.O.M.O

2013

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre Barking

An interactive performance about social networking written and directed by Kay Adshead

ACTS OF DEFIANCE

2013

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre Barking

A series of short films, public interactions or interventions (ongoing to be published on line September 2013) devised , written or produced by Kay Adshead. Ten monologues filmed separately were performed as an epic poetry theatre event at the Broadway Barking for one night only.

MATTER

2012

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre Barking

Written and directed by Kay Adshead performed as work in progress

FROM THE STREETS OF REVOLUTION

2012

Roundhouse

A day of debate and performance - a series of linked events exploring recent global events and the nature of protest.

2011

John Lyons Theatre

Work in progress transferring to Camden Fringe.

IF ANYONE RECOGNISES THESE YOUNG PEOPLE

2011

Mama Quilla

Performed in workshop at the Broadway Theatre Barking to be performed at The Round House in 2012.

2011

La Compagnie Yorick/Theatre Vitry at Cine Robespierre

Dir. Michael Batz

BOYS TALKING

2010

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre, Barking

Devised and directed by Kay Adshead

SWEET PAPAYA GOLD

2010

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre, Barking

Devised and directed by Kay Adshead.

2010

The Red Room/Jellyfish Theatre

The Oikos Project was shortlisted for the Whats On Theatre event of the year. PROTOZOA was performed at The Jellyfish Theatre, the first fully recyclable theatre in Europe. Published by Oberon Books in THE OIKOS PROJECT.

THREE POLICE STATEMENTS TAKEN FROM WORKING GIRLS

2010

Mama Quilla with The English Collective of Prostitues and The City Lit

POSSESSED

2009

Soho Theatre Company

Part of Everything Must Go

FIVE CRIMES RECONSTRUCTED

2009

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre, Barking

Devised and directed by Kay Adshead

STUFFED

2008

Mama Quilla/Broadway Theatre, Barking

Devised and directed by Kay Adshead

OTHERS

2008

LAMDA

Part of LAMDA Long Project.

BONES

2007

Calypso, Dublin/La Compagnie Yorick

BONES

2006

Mama Quilla/Leicester Haymarket/Bush

Writer and Director

THE BOGUS WOMAN

2005

Leicester Haymarket

Dir. Kully Thiarai. Toured to Adelaide where it was awarded Best Performer, Best Play and the Sensation Award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. Also Brits Off Brodway (New York).

BITES

2005

Mama Quilla/Bush Theatre

Writer and Director. Finalist for Susan Smith Blackburn Award.

ANIMAL

2003

The Red Room

Dir. Lisa Goldman. Soho Theatre/National Tour.

METAL AND FEATHERS

2003

Cockpit Theatre

Part of 'Small Objects of Desire'

THE SNOW EGG

2001

Tiebreak Theatre/Lyric Studio

Tour, ending at Lyric Theatre Studio, Hammersmith.

LADY CHILL, LADY WAD, LADY LURVE, LADY GOD

2001

National Theatre

Shell Connections

THE BOGUS WOMAN

2000

Mama Quilla/Traverse Theatre/Bush Theatre

Dir. Lisa Goldman. 2000 Fringe First Award. Nominated for 2001 Susan Smith Blackburn Award.

BOGUS PEOPLE'S POEM

2000

The Red Room/BAC

JUICY BITS

1998

Lyric, Hammersmith

BACILLUS

1996

The Red Room

Performed at the Red Room following rehearsed readings at the Cockpit and Hampstead theatres

THE SLUG SABBATICAL

1995

The Red Room

RAVINGS: DREAMINGS

1993

Manchester Library

THE STILL BORN

1993

Soho Theatre

THATCHER'S WOMEN

1987

Paines Plough/Tricycle Theatre

Nominated for Susan Smith Blackburn Award

FEARS AND MISERIES OF THE THIRD TERM

1987