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 and Pedagogies of Puppetry in Climate Change Activism Settings. 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.

I enjoy travelling for work or leisure, like to spend much of my time outdoors and practice the martial art of kung fu.

Research interests

My practice led research project aims to explore sustainable puppetry practice and pedagogies of puppetry in 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 over the course of three future climate change actions. 

The research will draw on radical theories of pedagogy (Paolo Freire, Henry A. Giroux) and relational aesthetics to explore puppetry in protest settings as a form of social practice where climate change knowledge is created or learned, social relations are produced, sustainability is embedded and different artistic and activist interests are served. 

Theory will include a study of writings on contemporary western radical and sustainable puppetry praxes that provide environmentally and economically sustainable models.

Key research questions include:

a. How do contemporary puppet theatre practitioners, working in climate change action settings, address environmentally and economically sustainable practices in their work?   

b.  By applying a reflexive pedagogical lens (as performer, practitioner and audience) to constructions of puppetry performance in climate activist settings, can new radical pedagogies and sustainable practices be discovered, defined and disseminated? 

My further research interests are;

The Art of Engagement – Measuring Participatory Arts Experiences (MA Thesis)

Constructed Moments of Conviviality in Outdoor Performance (Initial conference presentation for International perspectives on participation and engagement in the arts in Utrecht, Netherlands) Co-hosted by Leeds Metropolitan University and the Department of Mediaand Culture Studies, Utrecht University, Netherlands held in Utrecht (2014).  Adapted for Street Arts Winter Academy (SAWA#5) and online international conference for the European Federation for Education and Training in Street Arts (2021)

Phenomenologies of participation and 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