James Mackenzie-Blackman

Chief Executive
Eden Court

James is an award-winning theatre producer, arts advocate and venue manager.

James grew up in rural South Devon where he was a proud member of the Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company.

After concluding his formal education James spent two years working overseas in Nepal and then in Europe and North America.

After University in Liverpool James started his career at Greenwich Theatre where he ran a musical theatre academy to engage culturally diverse young people with the performing arts.

In 2004 James commenced six years at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith culminating in raising £20m for a major capital project at the Lyric to build the world’s first teaching theatre so that young people could train for careers on; off and backstage in a professional performing arts venue. During his time at the Lyric James bought the Broadway production of Spring Awakening to London that went on to win four Olivier Awards.

Between 2010 and 2012 James spent two years as Executive Director of the National Theatre of Great Britain during which time the company were heavily involved in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

James was most recently Executive Director of Sir Matthew Bourne’s award-winning dance company New Adventures. Matthew is one of the world’s most well-known choreographers and theatre makers who has changed the landscape of dance forever. James regularly toured the UK; North America, Asia and Australia and during his time at the company James oversaw substantial growth in participation, audiences and turnover.

James is regularly invited to speak at conferences and events in the UK and overseas. His paper: Education vs. training: The future of participation in Building Based Theatre was published by Cambridge Scholars Press. James is a ‘Member’ Trustee of the Compass Partnership of Schools in South East London educating over 5,000 Primary aged children and employing over 700 staff.

James took up post as Chief Executive of Scotland’s largest combined Arts venue, Eden Court, Inverness in February 2018.