Kay Adshead (born 10 May 1954) is a British actress, poet, playwright, artistic director and theatrical producer. She graduated from RADA in 1974. Her television credits include Linda in Mike Leigh's film The Kiss of Death, Christine in the BBC television series Dinnerladies, Barbara Fletcher in Family Affairs, Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights, Victoria Wood As Seen On TV, Crime Traveller, Mother's Ruin, and One Foot in The Grave.
Her credits as a playwright include:
- Metal and Feathers - Cockpit Theatre, (part of Small Objects of Desire)
- The Still Born - Soho Theatre
- Fears and Miseries of the Third Term
- After the Party - Altered States / Liverpool Playhouse
- Thatcher's Women - 1987 Paines Plough / Tricycle Theatre
- Ravings: Dreamings - 1993 Library Theatre, Manchester
- The Slug Sabbatical - 1995 The Red Room Theatre Company. Calouste Gulbenkian Award Bursary for performance poetry
- Bacillus - 1996 Performed by The Red Room Theatre Company following rehearsed readings at the Cockpit Theatre and the Hampstead Theatre
- Juicy Bits - 1998 Lyric, Hammersmith
- Bogus People's Poem - 2000 The Red Room Theatre Company, London / BAC
- The Bogus Woman - 2000-2001 The Red Room Theatre Company Traverse Theatre / Bush Theatre (2000 Fringe First from The Scotsman : Nominated for the 2001 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize )
- The Snow Egg - 2001 Play for Children Tiebreak Theatre tour
- Lady Chill, Lady Wad, Lady Lurv, Lady God - 2001-2002 - National Theatre, part of Shell Connections
- Animal - 2003 - Soho Theatre, National Tour
- Bites - 2005 Bush Theatre
- Bones - 2006 - Bush Theatre (Nominated for the 2006 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize)
In 1999, Kay in partnership with the late Lucinda Gane founded a theatre production company, Mama Quilla. Mama Quilla spotlights human rights abuses from a female perspective. Mama Quilla also recognizes and seeks to combat the waste of resources and talent in female theatre practitioners over the age of 40.
Mama Quilla's first three major productions, The Bogus Woman (Fringe First, Manchester Evening News Best Fringe Performer Award, shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and an EMMA Award), Bites (shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), and Bones (shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), were all performed at The Bush Theatre and published by Oberon Books.
The Bogus Woman, Bites and Bones have all subsequently been produced internationally. The Bogus Woman was produced as La Femme Fantôme and Bones as Bones (Les Os), both in Paris by La Compagnie Yorick. Bites was produced as Morsi in Rome and as Bisse in Berlin, both by Theatre Factory Studio. Bites was also produced by Theatre Factory Studio in Los Angeles as Bites the Play.