About Gwen Adams, PhD 

Gwen Adams is a writer, playwright, speaker, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute, Denver, CO. With experience in parish, diocesan, school and university settings, she has produced plays, taught history, literature, and writing, and offered courses, including: 

Reform, Renewal, and the Lay Faithful (a history of reform and renewal in the Catholic Church, designed and co-taught with Dr. Bronwen McShea)

Catholic Education: Ends, Principles, and Methods

The New Evangelization and Culture

For more than twenty years, Adams has been working on ways to cultivate the soil of Christian culture. Are you working on a project related to Christian culture? Educational renewal? History? Theater? Are you an educator, leader, or creative looking for visionary and practical ideas?


Adams has presented at the McGrath Institute for Church Life (University of Notre Dame), the Center for Ethics and Culture Conference (University of Notre Dame), the Symposium on Transforming the Culture (Benedictine College), the Archdiocese of Seattle, Diocese of Burlington, the Diocese of Superior, and other locations around the country.

Sample Presentations and Workshops

“The Corpus Christi Plays: The Drama of Salvation in the Streets of the City” (FORMED Lenten Bible Conference 2022)

“Come Away and Rest Awhile” (Lay Leaders Conference 2022, Augustine Institute)

“The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: Salvation History and the History of Western Education”

“Learning through Experience: Integrating the Faith in School & Parish Life”

“The Love of God and True Love of Self”

“The Theology of Work”

“The Theology of Rest”

“Magnanimity, Mistakes, and Improvisation”

Let them be born in


Catholic Retreats

Educational Renewal

Inspired by John Henry Newman, Christopher Dawson, and John Senior, Adams has worked for educational renewal with friends at Cana Academy, Trinity Schools, Immaculata Classical Academy, and others.

In 2019, the Archdiocese of Seattle brought Adams to beautiful Washington State to present to over eighty school leaders at the annual Christ in the Classroom Leadership Retreat. Adams teaches a regular course at the Augustine Institute: Catholic Education: Ends, Principles, Methods.

Adams is a teacher and continues to help other teachers and school leaders.


Catholic Retreats



I enjoyed the workshop very much. You motivated me to be more creative and gave some great, concrete ways to be more effective in my class presentation.

Laurie Dant
Immaculata Classical Academy
Louisville, KY

I learned some great approaches to refresh my teaching for this new school year. I appreciate all your wisdom, and I really learned a lot. Everything you taught in this class was very cohesive, and the end of the class felt like I just put a puzzle together. It opened me to new ideas and approaches to teaching and assessing.

Anjanette Ciccoianni
St. Bonaventure Catholic School
Huntington Beach, CA

Gwen Adams is one of the most skilled and effective teachers I know. Whether she is presenting a single lecture or an entire course, she has the ability to frame her material so that what is most important is always at the center, while what is most accessible and attractive comes to the fore and gives the students a vibrant experience of learning. Gwen’s speaking and conversation is every bit as engaging as her writing, which is to say, warm, colorful, and deeply purposeful.

Christopher Blum, PhD
Augustine Institute, Denver, CO

As a dramatic/theatrical consultant, Dr. Gwen Adams surpasses expectations. From her wealth of knowledge and experience producing, writing, and studying plays, she offers generous, thoughtful, and fruitful advice to any aspiring producer, actor, writer, or director! Dr. Adams’ counsel and example proved tremendously helpful to me when planning a drama camp for children of all ages. The drama camps produced delightful little skits, challenged the students, and taught them so much about the world of theatre, accomplishing my learning objectives nearly perfectly. Most importantly, the children gained confidence in themselves and had an absolute blast!

Maggie Smith
Memoria Press Online Academy
Green Bay, WI

The reviews weren’t just positive – they were filled with effusive praise! The students found you relatable, entertaining and substantive. Many thanks for doing an excellent job!

Fr. Timothy Combs, O.P.
Associate Chaplain
University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, MN

Director & Playwright

Gwen Adams has been working with youth and young adults to connect faith and theater for twenty years. Directing credits include Puss in Boots (2019), Hickscorner (2012, 2001); Life Is a Dream (2012, 2001); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2005); Commedia dell’Arte theater “The Flower of Beauty” and “The Secret Room” (2005); The Other Wiseman (2004, 2003); and Uncle Vanya (2003). She was awarded a grant by The Arts Federation in 2005 to produce street theater events.

Plays by Gwen Adams

Director & Playwright

Book Jacket for By an Unexpected Way, design by Christina Gray



PhD, Theology

Maryvale Institute, Birmingham/Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK (2016)

Dissertation Project: A study of geographic stability in three Midwestern parish communities, with reference to the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and the Benedictine tradition, analyzing results from a survey of one thousand respondents and thirty hours of semi-structured interviews.

Supervisors: Dr. Catherine Kavanagh, Rev. Peter Stravinskas, and Dr. Catherine Knowles

Examiners: Rev. Michael S. Sherwin, Dr. Andrew Morris

MA, Catholic Studies

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN (2007)

Thesis: The Genre of Fairy-tales: Contemplative Form and Formative Power, an analysis of the structure and sacramental character of western European fairy-tale literature with reference to Josef Pieper and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Advisor: Fr. Michael Keating

Readers: Dr. Don Briel, Dr. Michael Jordan

BA, History

Christendom College (2001)


About Bardstreet

With a name connoting storytellers from Homer to Shakespeare and founded by Gwen Adams in 2018, Bardstreet is a creative workshop offering plays and other resources for building Christian culture.

About the Logo

In The Spirit of the Liturgy, Joseph Ratzinger uses the phrase “church and inn” to describe the harmonious relationship between divine worship and attendant festivities and traditions. In short, “church and inn” is a great phrase to describe Christian culture, in which the Christian faith incarnates itself, is nourished by, and transmits its beliefs in an embodied way of life with distinctive customs, institutions, and modes of expression. These tangible embodiments of faith point us back to Christ and things of eternal significance.

Bardstreet’s logo is a mashup of “church and inn,” combining the silhouettes of one great parish and one great town. Gwen Adams tells about the parish in chapter 10 of By an Unexpected Way (Augustine Institute Press, 2019). Someday she may tell the story of the town so intertwined with history, education, and theater.

About Bardstreet

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