Mama Quilla Productions—Arts for Change

Theatre, film, digital art installations, workshops and print

Artistic Director/Executive Producer: Kay Adshead

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

What the Press said: Other Plays by Kay Adshead


Kay Adshead in Tomball, Texas, 2014The following are press quotes on plays by Kay Adshead that were not written or produced for Mama Quilla.

Thatcher's Women

Paines Plough, The Tricycle, Kilburn, UK national tour

“Kay Adshead’s writing demonstrates theatre has lost none of its ability to grab you by the throat and ask you where you stand.”

“Her dialogue is tough, edgy, full of raucous humour. She has no sentimental illusions about her heroines. She treat them with warmth, with pity, but no condescension.”

“an exceptionally promising first play”

– John Peters, The Sunday Times

Small Objects of Desire: Metal and Feathers

Cockpit, London

“But the best piece comes from Kay Adshead inspired by a German lamp into a haunting meditation on post-Holocaust guilt and neo-nazi recidivism. The strength of this piece is Adshead’s ability to rise above the restrictions of length and concept and touch on deeply felt fears and realities. Here in short is a play.” – Claire Armistead, The Guardian

Ravings: Dreamings

Manchester Library Theatre

“…cleverly composed images, well conceived by the talented actress/writer Kay Adshead” – Michael Coveney


The Red Room, London

“It’s uncommon to see a fringe production that could easily bear a second viewing but this promenade staging of Kay Adshead’s fervid, ambitious new contemporary drama is exactly that.”

“Bacillus steers clear of hysteria. Both in text and performance it’s more fascinating than many more conventional scripts because of its risks and reaches.”

– Donald Hatera, What’s On

Juicy BitsLyric Hammersmith, Main House

“…glimpses of comic genius”  – Charles Godfrey Faussett, Time Out, Critics Choice (4 weeks)

“…lusciously farcical exploration of frustrated lusts”  – The Guardian Recommended

“With erotica as a theme and infidelity, sexual liberation and gratification as its undercurrents, this play is not for Mary Whitehouse sympathisers. True to its title it’s positively oozing with juice, twisting and turning about the tantalising topic of sex, but voyeurs can stop there, it’s no peep show. It’s too clever and covert to be that obvious. As far as contemporary comedy goes this one is the cream of the crop.” – Rachel Delahaye, Channel4

AnimalThe Red Room at the Soho Theatre, London

“Animal stands comparison with the finest of 20th-century plays….Goldman’s Red Room company, which has produced this presentation… once again confirms its reputation for both theatrical and political outspokenness. Adshead makes you want to take to the streets while you still can.” – Financial Times (Four Star Rating)

“Kay Adshead’s new play, could hardly be more timely…. provocative stuff given a brooding production by Lisa Goldman….there are bold, dreamlike images, memorably illustrating Adshead’s vision of a state that tranquillises its own citizens rather than let them express their rage.”  – Time Out

“…sensitive… thought-provoking…..lucidly directed with ghostly CCTV footage… beautifully played… ” – The Independent

“Adshead writes with immense imaginative empathy…superbly vivid…wickedly laced with humour… evocative images… committed cast…this is a refreshingly alive and thought provoking piece of political drama.”  – The Stage

“[Animal] raises our awareness of the dangers of the psycho-pharmaceutical industry… a host of important questions…fascinating… indebted to Lisa Goldman’s production and understated performances”  – The Guardian

“Refreshingly ambitious… provocative”  – Evening Standard

“Disturbing… sinister… subtle and well written…”  – The Times

Richard Hillier, Kay Adshead and Rob Allyson in a technical rehearsal

Everything Must Go: PossessedSoho Theatre, London (2009)

“Similarly insightful is Everything Must Go! This is an evening of 10 short pieces written as a response to the current economic crisis. Taken together, they offer a nice mix of wit and anguish, apocalyptic angst and sharp critique. Highlights include Oladipo Agboluaje’s Set Piece, Marisa Carnesky’s use of stage magic to demonstrate mortgage madness, Ron McCants’ account of an American miner, Megan Barker’s satire on the casino economy and Kay Adshead’s savage account of a murderous homeless family.” – Tribune

“A young couple with a baby survey their new home. The woman isn’t impressed; she likes the high ceilings and period floor tiles but hates the ugly fireplace. Yet this isn’t some run-down detached gem in need only of loving restoration to turn it into a dream abode. It’s the derelict waiting room of a disused railway station — and with nowhere else to go, the destitute pair are so desperate that they will kill to defend it.”

“Kay Adshead’s grimly ironic play is a fierce denunciation of boom-time property porn. It’s one of ten short, sharp responses to the current financial crisis that collectively blaze with anger, buzz with wit and crackle with acute anxiety. Not all are politically or dramatically sophisticated, but in Lisa Goldman and Esther Richardson’s stripped-down staging they are vital, and the best are thrillingly inventive.”

– Sam Marlowe, The Times

“My two highlights were Oladipo Agboluaje's Set Piece and Kay Adshead's Possessed... Adshead's story is a sort of dystopian fantasia in which two couples with babies, forced out of their homes and jobs, eventually retreat to an invisible, deserted cottage in the woods to try and cling to life with no money, water or electricity, nothing in fact but the food they can eke out of the soil. Their parents ring their mobiles and are lied to – ‘Everything's fine Mum, I told you we're not using the landline anymore’.  A chilling little glimpse.” – Corinne Salisbury, The British Theatre Guide

“Kay Adshead’s powerful and bleak Possessed sees bankrupt young couples with babies sleeping rough.” – Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard

“The meatiest plays, by Ron McCants and the experienced Kay Adshead, close in on a pair of American coalminers (Ron Donachie and Edward Hughes) squashed like cockroaches while Mexicans take their jobs for half-wages; and a British scenario of fear, foreboding and violence in a brutalised underclass.” – Michael Coveney,

“The grim forebodings of poverty-stricken xenophobia, penned by Kay Adshead and newcomer Ron McCants, are quietly chilling.”  – Kate Bassett, The Independent on Sunday

“In Possessed, Kay Adshead offers a disturbing, dystopian portrait of redundant middle-class couples setting up home in a disused railway station.” – Sarah Hemming, Financial Times

The Oikos Project: ProtozoaThe Oikos Project, The Jellyfish Theatre, London (2010)

“The Oikos project was nominated for What's On Theatre Event of the Year Award. The whole project was moving. Something remarkable had been built with loving ingenuity out of reclaimed materials... an object lesson for theatre and society.”  – The Guardian

“It looks fantastic – rather graceful in its idiosyncratic way. It sits in a school playground not far from London Bridge like a resting spaceship from a particularly right-on planet. It is a low structure, clad in a jaunty patchwork of wooden panels, extended fore and aft by pallets and planks that give it the rough shape of a boat (a junk, perhaps) and festooned with decorated water bottles.” – Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times

“Protozoa, the second play of the Oikos project draws parallels between the Indian floods and what may happen should the Thames break its banks. With the wonderful junkitechture structure of the theatre itself looking as though it could have been washed ashore, the Jellyfish theatre immerses its audience literally and metaphorically in the world of Protozoa. Luckily large scale natural disasters do not hit Britain that often, but Kay Adshead's play transports us to a London under water. Suddenly class barriers are broken and the living find friendships where perhaps they would have never looked before ... When supplies run out, money is no longer a useful currency in a place that once resembled London and this is where the play tackles its biggest theme: prostitution. Although the Oikos project is fundamentally an environmental one, the flood merely acts as catalyst for the other dramatic events to occur and here Adshead provides the audience with a harsh warning of what people turn to and into in times of crisis and adversity. Dido Miles as Cordelia is a glorious iron lady who will resort to anything to rebuild her beloved home.” – British Theatre Guide

“Protozoa makes for intense and exceptional theatre, looking at three flood survivors and how they build their lives after the disaster ... a powerful and dark drama.” – Tegan Cutts, Student Review

Kay Adshead directing

ThatcherWrite: I am Sad you are Dead Mrs T“ThatcherWrite at Theatre 503 responds to another former PM's legacy with plays by Dan Reballato, Kay Adshead and Judy Upton and more” – The Guardian

“... a poetic mortar-bomb in the form of a double-edged, three-part eulogy. The language is penetrating witty and economical. And the climax – the tragic story of a vulnerable elderly woman whose degrading death contrasts with Thatcher's dignified demise in five-star luxury – is emotionally explosive” – The Times

“Thatcherism gets another interrogation at Theatre 503, with ThatcherWrite: seven shorts in response to her death. The best are either even-handed or outrageously satirical. Kay Adshead presents three poems by 17-year olds, Blair’s babies, to examine her legacy” – New Statesman

“But it is Kay Adshead’s I Am Sad You Are Dead Mrs T which most cleverly encapsulates aspects of the Tory leader. In three parts, we see her appeal to bigoted extremists and today’s smooth right-wing operators before contrasting Thatcher’s comfortable, cared-for demise in her bed at the Ritz with that of a warm-hearted cleaning lady who bit by bit slips through the net and is left to rot by the ‘society’ whose existence Thatcher refused or was unable to acknowledge." – ReviewsGate

“... expertly performed and devilishly humorous” – One Stop Arts

“Adshead really brings out the fists... The final deeply moving piece lands a devastating blow to the guts leaving us in no doubt about just who has suffered and continues to suffer under Thatcher's grim legacy.” – Exeunt Magazine

“Viewing Thatcher from the perspective of someone who didn't live through her reign is a stroke of genius, and though it was utterly hilarious, it resonated on a serious level too” – So So Gay Magazine

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