Alby James is a theatre director and a producer for film and television drama. He is also involved in talent development for emerging writers and filmmakers, designing and running training and project development programmes for writers, directors and producers. He has run such programmes in the UK, South Africa and Russia.
He is committed to improving diversity and inclusion of under-represented communities and to challenging the stereotypical representation on these groups in drama. Early in his career he adopted director Peter Brook’s aphorism, “new truths are found when stereotypes are broken” as a signature for his approach.
he is currently leading the Diverse Directors’ Workshop at the National Film & Television School, which aims to improve access to the mainstream and professional independent sector of women, BAME and other ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
For two years from April 2007 he was Head of Development with EON Screenwriters’ Workshop, a subsidiary of the James Bond production company, leading the development of a slate of new feature films by emerging writers. Prior to this he was for a year Academic Leader for Media and Performance at London Metropolitan University and, before that for six years, Head of Screenwriting at the Northern Film School at Leeds Metropolitan University.
He was trained by the BBC as a film and radio drama producer and director and has been involved in film, television and radio drama since 1994. Prior to this he had a successful 15-year career as a theatre director both as a freelance director and as artistic director of Temba Theatre Company, an Arts Council-funded national touring company with which he won accolades and awards for his premières of new works as well as for his innovative productions of the classics. His main achievements in the theatre include his productions for Temba of Woza Albert in 1986, which he had to revive several times for tours in the UK and Europe due to popular demand, and his 1988 Cuba-set production of Romeo and Juliet. Other seminal productions include his West End Theatre debut in 1990 with August Wilson’s Pulitzer prize-winning play, Fences, starring Hollywood actor Yaphet Kotto, and, as associate director to Trevor Nunn, the Glyndebourne Festival Opera production of Porgy and Bess in 1986, which was revived in ’87 at Glyndebourne and then in ’93 at the Royal Opera House. This production was then filmed. He had previously worked with Trevor Nunn when he was an assistant director at the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1982–83 for the first season at the Barbican Theatre.
As a talent development trainer, he was one of the mentors of the innovative Triangle programme that was run by Screen Yorkshire and sponsored by Skillset and Creative England.
He also ran a script lab in Russia for four years from 2010 and one in South Africa. He is a jury member and mentor for the Script Station in the Berlinale International Film Festival’s Talent Campus.
- Director, The Shelter
- Director, Lysistrata
- Director, The Constant Wife
- Director / Director, Ghosts, Temba Theatre Company
- Director, The Language of Flowers
- Director, Fences
- Director, Light up for Life, Royal Shakespeare Company
- Director, All You Deserve, Royal Shakespeare Company
- Director, Anna Petrovna, Royal Shakespeare Company
- Director, A Woman Alone, Royal Shakespeare Company
- Director, The Ascent of F6