James is an award-winning theatre producer, arts advocate and venue manager.
He works in the cultural sector because he is passionate about people, places, communities and the power of the performing arts to help you see the world in new ways and to change lives.
James grew up in Plymouth where he was a proud member of the Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company. It was at this Youth Theatre where James ‘found his tribe’ and made friends for life. His Youth Theatre experience helped define his career ambitions and at 16 told his careers advisor at school that his biggest dream was to “one day be a Head of Education in a building-based theatre.”
After concluding his formal education James spent two years working overseas in Nepal, Europe and North America.
After University in Liverpool, James started his career at Greenwich Theatre where he ran a musical theatre academy to engage culturally diverse young people with the performing arts, specifically musical theatre.
In 2004 James commenced six years at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith culminating in jointly raising £12m for a major capital project at the Lyric to build the world’s first teaching theatre so that young people could train for careers on; off and backstage in a professional performing arts venue. James held three posts: Director of Creative Learning (Management & Strategy), Associate Director: Capital Development and Commercial Director. During his time at the Lyric James helped bring the Broadway production of Spring Awakening to London that went on to win four Olivier Awards.
Between 2010 and 2012 James was Executive Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and was heavily involved in NYT's involvement in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Before joining Eden Court James was Executive Director of Sir Matthew Bourne’s award-winning dance company New Adventures. Matthew is one of the world’s most well-known choreographers and theatre-makers who has changed the landscape of dance forever. James regularly toured the UK; North America, Asia and Australia and during his time at the company James oversaw substantial growth in participation, audiences and turnover.
James is regularly invited to speak at conferences and events in the UK and overseas. His paper: Education vs. training: The future of participation in Building Based Theatre was published by Cambridge Scholars Press.
James took up the post as Chief Executive of Eden Court in December 2017. He lives on the Black Isle with his husband and two sons.
firstname.lastname@example.org | +44(0)1463 732 657 | @jamesmackblack