Celebrating 30 years of staging plays
“I bring to life stories about real people and about real issues”
Alfie James is a Writer, Director and an Actor. Originally from Essex, he has been involved in staging plays for nearly thirty years.
He started performing at a young age as a dancing Clown whilst attending a local dance school. Although he enjoyed running around making people laugh, he quickly realized that he was no Billy Elliot and dancing wasn’t for him and he focused his efforts more on acting and writing. It was whilst at College where he quickly became known for his ability as a classical actor and storyteller whilst performing as the lead in Oedipus and his performances in various Shakespearian pieces.
“I thought that it was because I had a good memory and that I could recite long monologues.”
But it was more than that. Alfie had a real flare for language and for developing characters through storytelling. He had the ability to break down the invisible wall between him and the audience and take them along the performances journey with them.
A keen believer in the Stanislavski theory, he applied the Actor Prepares to his own acting and whilst writing his own plays. His ability to write quickly gained the attention of local theatres and his plays Happy Families, The Edge, Playing Sue and Bag a Million were performed to sell-out audiences. He then became the first person to ever win the Old Court Theatre Award in both full-length and One-Act plays as a Writer in the same year.
He then wrote the Hideaway. One of his biggest success stories and which won him critical acclaim as a Writer, Director and an Actor. The part was gruelling for him and the other lead: spending nearly two hours running about a theatre in the round stage with the audience sat almost on top of them leaving no stone unturned. The performance gave Alfie the opportunity to explore further the relationship between the Actor and the Audience. He recalls how whilst playing the man with the mental age of a 5 year old how the audience would engage with him during the play – hiding him when he was scared or in danger, laughing and crying with him. He truly heightened the connection and made them feel part of the story itself. The play was a big sell-out success and went on to be receive a further three runs at local theatres over the coming years.
Creating stories about real people and real issues is at the heart of Alfie’s creative vision. He believes that performance is a powerful tool which can be used to explore social issues and to support positive social change.
“It allows us to leave our bags at the door, take off our coats and to explore the possibilities of what’s outside the box without fear.”
This vision is why he has continued to develop several community theatre projects working with often vulnerable and sometimes hard to reach members of the community. It’s also apparent in his writing style and directing. His play Little Old Alf explored the struggles of an old man in accepting his sexuality and the affect which it had upon his life. The play received standing ovations during its tour with Alfie playing the lead.
In recent years, Alfie has been creating plays regularly in London’s West-End. Most recently, he directed a production of DNA at the Baron’s Court Theatre and Women in War at the Camden People’s Theatre. Before this, he directed productions of Teechers and Milked at the Arts Theatre and his play The Tank at the Oxford House Arts Theatre in London.
It was his production of Home for a lost Soldier which proved to be another surprise. As a community heritage project, the play was only due to be given a short run at the Albany Theatre. However, it was such a success that it went on to be transferred to the Arts Theatre, London and then onto the Tristan Bates Theatre. Once again, it proved Alfie to be a master at producing theatre which engaged his audiences.
As well as producing theatre, Alfie is also Artistic Director of Alfie James Productions. He has developed strong relationships with his fellow Artists, with local and national funding bodies whom regularly support his work. In 2019 he was invited to the 100th Anniversary Remembrance Day Service at the Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen in recognition for being the only person in the UK to have received support and having developed three successful Theatre and Heritage projects which inspired people to learn about the First World War.
Alfie is currently promoting two new plays. My boy Danny which raises awareness of gang knife crime and hate crime against members of the LGBTQ community and “The Spitfire Club,” a new play written as part of the 80th anniversary of the Second World War.
Alfie’s approach to directing mirrors his acting style. Being a performer himself, he has a huge respect for his fellow Actors and he gives them the freedom to grow and to create the character for themselves. His rehearsals are often fast-paced, working through the script in chronological order so that everyone can get a feel for the story (or journey as he calls it) allowing them to feel what the characters feel at each development point.
Alfie’s directing style was heavily influenced by his early practice where budgets were often next to nothing. This is where he found the likes of Peter Brook and was inspired by his ideas of using an empty space, minimal staging and props. Instead placing the spotlight upon the performers to tell the story. Then incorporating simple, but very effective lighting and sound elements to enhance the performance. Every element upon the stage has its given purpose.
More recently, Alfie has begun to explore the idea of devising plays working with his performers to develop stories on stage. Probably due to his continued community projects where he continues to break down the old conformalities of old practice in order to often work with non-experienced performers and hard to reach participants and to adapt to their personal needs.
Working with Alfie
Alfie is available to hire on a freelance basis as an Actor, Director, Writer or as an Project leader. He has extensive experience in all three fields. He is currently based in London and Essex but can travel should needed. His full CV can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.
Alfie James Productions:
Alfie James Productions is a small, unique theatre company, Its core aim is to “use performance techniques to explore social issues and to support positive social change.” Along with it’s regular performances and community outreach work; the group works to make theatre accessible to all for both artists and audience members alike. In responding to the current Covid:19 virus, they have adapted to using zoom for workshops and rehearsals and creating audio recordings of their work.
Click the link below to find out more about Alfie James Productions
“A hugely talented writer and a director who has an eye for staging exciting and engaging performances. A real professional and always a joy to work with him”
(Ron Philips, Artistic Director Baron’s Court Theatre, London)
“Mesmerising – I couldn’t take my eyes off Alfie James. He performed with such detail and concentration; proving himself to be one hell of a character actor!”
(Bury Press, Little Old Alf)
“A writer with a real edge!”
(Essex County Standard)
"Can't wait to have you back at the Camden People's”
(James Cross, Camden People's Theatre)
“The next morning after the performance we received several calls from people whom had seen the performance just wanting to express how much the performance had moved them and how much they had enjoyed it.”
(Sharon, Quay Theatre Sudbury)
“Alfie is an inspirational Director and Project Leader. Working with him is always so rewarding. He always manages to get the best out of everyone.”
(Fagner, Puppet Soup Theatre Company)
You can view Alfie's CV by clicking here:
To download a copy of Alfie's complete CV, please click the link below.
(It will then open as a word document)