James is a stage director, working predominantly in opera. He read English at Cambridge University and has an MPhil in American Literature, specialising in dramatist David Mamet.

Recent directing includes DON GIOVANNI (Peacock Theatre); L'OSPEDALE (Wilton's Music Hall/Bury Court Opera); LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Kilden Teater-og Konsertus); SNOW (Bussey Building); LA RONDINE (Factory 7 & Bristol Paintworks); IDOMENEO, BRUNDIBAR, THE LITTLE SWEEP, NOYE'S FLUDDE (Blackheath Halls); HANSEL AND GRETEL, IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA (UK Tours). His recent production of I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI was filmed for the BBC/British Council as part of their Shakespeare 400 celebrations.

James has directed revivals for Opera North and English Touring Opera and worked on the directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Salzburg Festival, National Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, English National Opera, and Glyndebourne. He collaborates regularly with Pop-Up Opera, who tour innovative productions to a wide variety of venues. He was previously the creative director of Opera di Peroni - a site-specific touring campaign, which aimed to bring opera to new audiences in unconventional spaces. He has also directed scenes for the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire.