Award-winning Adam set for theatrical TV adaptation


4 Dec 2020

News Story

A young man with dark hair and light brown eyes looks forward, directly into the camera.

Adam, the National Theatre of Scotland’s multi award-winning stage play exploring the true story of a young trans man and his journey to reconciliation, is set to be reinvented as a compelling on-screen theatrical drama. Adam will be broadcast as part of BBC Arts ‘Lights Up’ for New Culture in Quarantine Season on BBC iPlayer and BBC Four in Feb/March 2021 and will premiere on the BBC Scotland Channel in February 2021.

The on-screen version written by Frances Poet will be brought to life by directors Cora Bissett and Louise Lockwood, as well as Adam Kashmiry reprising his role. Adam is the real person on whom the drama is based, who made a notable professional stage debut in the production in 2017. He was closely involved in the development of the show, focusing as it does on his own personal experiences.

Born in Egypt, Adam was assigned female at birth but always knew he was a boy. Trapped, with no way to describe this feeling, in a deeply conservative society where falling in love with the wrong person can get you killed, he knew that he had to escape. With a borrowed laptop he types in a question: ‘Can the soul of a man be trapped in the body of a woman?’ What followed was beyond Adam’s wildest dreams. A catalyst to begin the epic journey for the right to change his body, to the boy he knows himself to be.

Reworked for the screen, but keeping the essence of the stage show, the hour-long drama will focus on Adam’s isolating experiences in a Glasgow flat while awaiting a decision on his asylum claim. Trapped in a Catch 22 where he cannot prove his need for asylum as a trans man until he transitions but is unable to start transitioning until he is granted asylum, Adam is left alone to wrestle with his conflicting thoughts and feelings as every waking moment sees him haunted by figures from his past and present.

Written by playwright and dramaturg Frances Poet, and directed by Cora Bissett, Adam first premiered at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre in 2017 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The production was originally performed by a cast of two and featured music composed by Jocelyn Pook, including a score sung by a virtual choir of trans and non-binary individuals from across the world projected onto the stage.

Since its award-winning debut the production has visited venues across the country, including a run in London as part of the Battersea Arts Centre’s Phoenix Season, as well as an international engagement at New York’s Skirball Festival in 2019.

The on-screen adaptation will be created in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and Hopscotch films, commissioned by BBC Scotland and BBC Arts. The organisations previously collaborated on the National Theatre of Scotland’s hugely successful Scenes for Survival series, which saw 55 dramatic shorts created in isolation by over 200 leading artists and creatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More details on the project will be announced in 2021.