James was an actor for 12 years and was appearing in Les Misérables at London’s Palace Theatre when he was asked to take over the position of Resident Director in 1996. Since that time he has worked on a variety of productions and during that time he was Staff Director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, assisting Jude Kelly on a number of projects including the Olivier Award-winning Singin’ In The Rain, which transferred from Leeds to the Royal National Theatre in London. On returning to London he joined Cameron Mackintosh’s production of The Witches Of Eastwick at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane as Resident Director. He then went to Melbourne, Australia, to direct it’s first foreign production for Jacobsen Entertainment. James returned from Australia to take on the position of Associate Director on Les Misérables and oversaw the show’s move from its home of many years, The Palace Theatre, to the Queens Theatre on Shaftesbury Ave. He was also invited to direct a concert version of the show in Scandinavia and a full-scale production in Berlin.
2009 saw James working on Cameron’s brand new production of Les Misérables, which opened in Cardiff and toured the U.K. and which celebrates the 25th anniversary of a show he was involved in originally as an actor and is now part of a new creative team. Whilst maintaining his position as Associate Director on Les Misérables, James also worked on Cameron’s new presentation — Mary Poppins — originally in Bristol and then in London’s West End and on Broadway. In June 2008 he directed the U.K. tour of Mary Poppins and has since directed the production in Holland and been the associate of the Broadway production. James was delighted to renew his association with the Jacobsen Entertainment Group when they asked him to direct their production of Dirty Dancing in London’s West End, a partnership that has seen him direct the show in Toronto, Utrecht, Chicago, U.S. tour and Berlin.
In 2010, James directed the Australian production of Mary Poppins where it opened to great success in Melbourne. Further co-directing Les Misérables in London, at the Barbican, a tour in the U.K., a production in Madrid and on tour in the United States — culminating in the 25th anniversary concert of Les Misérables at the O2 Arena.
In 2011, James worked on moving Mary Poppins to Sydney and later in the year he co-directed the international arena tour of Batman, which opened in Manchester and moved to London and onward internationally. Over the last two years James has worked on Les Misérables in Spain, the U.S., Australia and Japan. He is delighted to return to Toronto and this production of Les Mis before he directs a production of Half A Sixpence at his old alma mater at Mountview Drama School in London.