James Ireland

Playwright
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My Lover was a Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse

UPCOMING: 3-29 August 2022 - Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Staging Change x VAULT award winner for ecologically-conscious development

Photography by Rory Gradon and Kate Bauer 

About me

 

I am a gender nonconforming playwright/theatremaker (they/them) based in London and Dublin. I recently graduated from the MA Writing programme at the RCA (London), where I researched actionable allyship in theatre producing.

A little bit about my practice

There’s an ecosystem-wide catastrophe happening before our eyes, caused by the systems of late capitalism, and corporate & nation-state imperialism. I'm from a generation young enough to know that capitalism and climate collapse has taken away my future.

I am always thinking about how an audience member’s complicity in these systems can be interrogated by (and within) a performance. I'm a fan of audience participation in performance, whether big or small. Live human presence is a powerful tool: how might we use it to instigate changes and open the floor for action? Beyond this, how may we bring eyes, empathy, and resources to people and communities that resist these destructive systems or live outside them?

By all accounts, a lot of the work I tend to create has a lot of force behind it and a very uncompromising voice. But as my practice evolves, I am also increasingly interested in opening up a smaller, more contemplative spaces. I want to consider the role of humanity in the biosphere. We're incredible creatures, sure, but very much part of nature rather than separate from it. It’s easy to forget that, especially for those of us who’ve just spent two years quarantining ourselves in cities, and I think that a lot of our destructive behaviours towards the environment today stem from that disconnect. I’m interested in ways of using live performance as a communal ritual - a coming together - incorporating meditative actions like making music or cooking to open up spaces in time for contemplation.

All in all, at whatever level of ambition or scale, I believe the only reason to write is to change the world.

James Ireland image headshot

 

 

Recent writing for theatre

Rajesh and Naresh, (Summerhall, Ed Fringe Festival, 2021 (digital performance); Unity Theatre, Homotopia Festival, Liverpool, 2021; Theatre Deli, London, 2019); Show Me Your Wallets, (work-in-progress staging, Smock Alley Theatre Dublin, Scene + Heard Festival, 2020); Mother Catfish, (work-in-progress staging, The Arcola, Act II Festival, 2019); The Elephant (Fringe Arts Bath, 2017); Mercury, and Fireplay (The New Theatre Dublin, 2016 & 2015 respectively).


Short plays include: Lobster Emoji (as part of The Emoji Project, Hen & Chickens Theatre, Camden Fringe, 2021); Cáithnín, and Oxygen (published by Fishamble, 2021 and 2020 respectively); David Beckham’s Hair (Pleasance London, 2018; The Printing House Dublin, 2015); FEAT. (co-writer, The Players Theatre Dublin, 2018); Sheep (Edinburgh Fringe 2016); and a number of site-specific performance pieces for ŠITE Productions (London, various locations, 2019-20).

Critical writing on theatre appears in ARC Magazine and Rant + Rave.