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James Mackenzie-Blackman

Executive Director

James has worked in the performing arts for over 15 years.

James grew up in South Devon where he was a proud member of the Theatre Royal Plymouth Youth Theatre and the Devon Youth Council. This mix of arts engagement and political advocacy for young people formed the foundation blocks for his career.

James achieved a First Class Honours degree in English Literature and Cultural History from Liverpool John Moores University.

Following University James started his career back at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth before a period working internationally in Nepal, Zurich, Czech Republic and the USA. On returning to the UK James took up the management of the Greenwich Musical Theatre Academy a European Social Fund project re-engaging young people outside the formal education sector with the arts.

James joined the Lyric Hammersmith in April 2006 where he held a number of positions leading all the theatres programmes for children, young people and emerging artists. In 2009 James was appointed Commercial Director at the Lyric leading on all income streams, marketing, public relations and visitor services. Alongside this role James was also Associate Director for the Lyric’s capital project leading, collaboratively with the Executive Director, the £20m fundraising campaign, the visioning, design and procurement of a major capital project.

In September 2010 James joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain as Executive Director where he led the development of a new strategic plan and secured continued Arts Council funding in a period of major government funding cuts.

In February 2012 James joined New Adventures and Re:Bourne. In the role of Executive Director James oversees key stakeholder relationships, manages the staff team and acts as an advocate for the company’s work on-stage and off-stage. Since 2012 the business has radically evolved and in 2015 the company joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

James is regularly invited to speak at conferences and events and sits on a number of advisory boards and panels for the public and private sector. He is a proud trustee of James Cousins Company and the Compass Partnership of Schools, a multi-academy trust in South East London. He also sits on the Culture Committee for the Wales Millennium Centre.


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