Bev Adams

Bev Adams


I am a part time PhD candidate working on a research scholarship from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries to research Sustainable Puppetry Practices: Investigating the communicative efficacy of a climate change themed giant puppet in public space. I occasionally work as a a Post Graduate Teaching Assistant.

I have a 30 year creative practice as freelance Artistic Director and Creative Producer making work for the outdoors and with communities with an emphasis on social purpose, diversity and community participation.  I use visual theatre techniques of mask and puppetry to tell stories without words to audiences of diverse languages, abilities and cultures, aiming to engage people from all walks of life and helping them to connect with each other and to explore the worlds in which they live. More information about my practice is available on my website

I am Director of Holmfirth Arts Festival, a small Festival in the Pennine hills of West Yorkshire which celebrates creativity in the landscape  through professional and community co-created arts events that address climate sustainability and are inspired by the natural landscape.   

I am Co-Director of Edgelands Arts, a Wakefield based community arts company which creates culturally connected communities by sharing stories from the edges of cities, communities and countryside.  

In 2022 I was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England to travel to the UConn Puppet Arts Complex at the University of Connecticut in the USA where I spent 3 months exploring the constructtion and performance of forms of rod, string and shadow pupperty from around the world as well as working with radical theatre company Bread and Puppet Theater.

In 2014, I completed my Masters Degree in Performance. Culture and Context within the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, having initially started an international MA inTheatre Directing at Middlesex University completing two modules – Meyerhold and Biomechanics with Gennadi Bogdanov at Gitis Academy, Moscow and Devising, Improvisation and Play with John Wright at Middlesex in the UK . I read my undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts at Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds.

Research interests

Scientific data and facts are struggling to communicate the climate emergency to the public.  Narrative communications with stories that are relevant to people’s lives are favoured  for their efficacy by marketers. Artistic and visually creative approaches to activism garner media attention.  My research sets out  explore whether a newly created climate change themed giant puppet is effective in communicating a climate change message to audiences in public outdoor spaces.

The practice led research project explores sustainable puppetry practices in public space and climate change activism settings.

Making use of my professional experience of using puppetry in applied and outdoor settings, recent experience of working with Bread and Puppet Theatre (USA) and puppeteering at an Extinction Rebellion direct action in central London in 2019, I will investigate puppetry in practice through an ethnographic framework in three public settings – the university campus, a community festival and a climate change action. 

Sustainable Puppetry Practices is a practice led, qualitative research project that Investigates the communicative efficacy of a climate change themed giant puppet in public space. By taking a reflexive, reflective, auto-ethnographic approach to the praxis of ecologically driven mask and puppet theatre, Arm of the Sea Theater (USA) (1982 to present), to the artistic climate activism of Extinction Rebellion UK (XR UK) (2018 to present) and to my own practice of producing climate change themed giant puppet for the outdoors, the project asks

What is the communicative efficacy of large-scale puppets in climate change activism?

And in more detail:

How do large scale puppets disrupt public space?

How effective are these puppets in communicating scientific climate change information differently, through narrative, aesthetics and metaphor?

How effective are these puppets in inspiring audience's positive, informed action to address climate change?

The project seeks, through auto/ethnography, practice and theory, to elicit new knowledge around the communicative efficacy of large scale puppetry practice in public space by exploring the aesthetics of a giant puppet performance in the outdoors and how audiences respond to climate information received from different sources such as i) climate change communications; ii) arts activism iii) Eco performance and iv) climate change themed puppetry performances in public space. The project also aims to situate artistic climate change communications as its own valued method rather than as a tool by which to communicate data and science to a general public.

Autoethnography, Ethnography, Practice as Research, Phenomenologies of participation and outdoor performance in practice

Publication: Inquest: Outdoor Arts in Practice. An inquiry into intent and content  Bev Adams Ed. (2013)


  • MA Performance Culture and Context University of Leeds (2014)
  • BA (hons) Theatre Arts Bretton Hall College of the University of Leeds