Kay Adshead is a poet, playwright, theatre maker 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, Viola in Twelfth Night and Betty in Touched at The Old Vic, and Linda in Mike Leigh’s film Kiss of Death.
As a writer, she has been nominated 3 times for The Susan Smith Blackburn Award. She has written over 25 plays published by Methuen, Faber and Faber, and Oberon, with commissions and productions at The Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, The Young Vic, The Bush, Soho Theatre, The Cock pit, The Arcola, Theatre503, The Omnibus and many more.
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, MEN best Fringe Performance, nominated for an EMMA and Encore Magazine best Play of theYear.
She has devised and directed more than 10, live art projects( many with casts of over 30 ) working in hard to reach communities, including maximum security prisons.
Comissioned work includes Lady Chill, Lady Wad,Lady Lurve Lady God, for The Royal National Theatre, Bacillus for The Royal Court, The Bogus Woman for The Edinburgh Traverse and The Bush, Bones for Haymarket Leicester and The Bush, Bites For The Bush, Animal for the Soho Theatre, After The Party for The Young Vic and many more.
Press on Bones By Kay Adshead
Bones’ insight into a destructive and hidden world makes it stand out against anything else you will see this year” – Shows You Mustn’t Miss, BBC Online
“The overall strength and range of the performances are so vast that the theatre trembles with emotion. BBC reviews.
Press For Bites
"We are in a devouring world, with scenes set in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Texas ... greed, power and a kind of bogus divinity are lethally connected.” – John Peter, Sunday Times, 23 January 2005
"Imaginative, fluent, funny and hideous" ... The Evening Standard
Press for Animal
“Animal stands comparison with the finest of 20th-century plays Adshead makes you want to take to the streets while you still can.”Financial Times (Four Star Rating)
Disturbing… sinister… subtle and well written…” – The Times
Nominated for Susan Smith Blackburn award three times,for Thatchers Women, Bites, and The Bogus Woman.
Manchester Evening News Best Fringe Performer
Adelaide Best Play of Fringe
Adelaide Fringe Sensation
Nominated for Ethnic Minorities in Media Award
Press for The Bogus Woman
"Powerful passionate committed piece of theatre that if seen widely enough may change hearts and minds". – The Guardian
"This is political theatre at its best". – Scotland on Sunday
"Political theatre is alive again" – Evening Standard