[James as Clint at London Experimental Variety Show]
James Oldham is a composer, performer and theatre artist based in London. His work explores ideas of comic timing in music, narrative, worlding, temporal storytelling devices, live feedback loops, and data translation often through multimedia collaboration. James is co-Artistic Director of Waste Paper Opera. Much of his work can be seen under the umbrella of Waste Paper, whether in the form of large-scale opera, variety show, or site-specific performance experiment.
His work is can be difficult to define, often meandering between composition, devising, improvisation, clowning, and directing – and awkwardly spanning genre, style and performance convention.
James’s composition work has been performed and toured across the country with Waste Paper Opera, for whom he has written six large-scale operas and many smaller site-specific works - including a collaboration with Joanna Rajkowska for a Polish Expats Association commission. Other notable projects and collaborators include: Riot Ensemble, Sally O'Reilly, Dorcha, Amsterdam Collage Ensemble, Project 128, Decibel, Riot Ensemble, John Butt, and Joe Lycett. His work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland, and Resonance FM.
James is currently researching comic timing in music for an AHRC-funded PhD as part of the SWW-DTP2, receiving supervision from Matthew Shlomowitz (University of Southampton) and James Saunders (Bath Spa University). The research is focussed on the translation of mechanisms from comedy to music, performer specificity, and the shifting of performance modes through the changing of context. He has previously studied composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, receiving tuition from Andrew Hamilton, Joe Cutler and Howard Skempton.
As a performer James works collaboratively and in the works of other artists. He has performed with Object Collection at Café Oto and on Twitch.tv for international broadcast. He regularly performs as his 80s popstar alter ego Clint, who hosts all Waste Paper Opera variety show performances including Whole Punch, London Experimental Variety Show and Purgatory Shelf Object Theatre Variety Show. James received clown training from SpyMonkey’s Toby Park in 2018. He is guitarist for The Bank Accounts, who have been regular guests at Barbara Nice’s Christmas Cracker and performed on That’s the Way, A-ha, A-ha, Joe Lycett, which was broadcast on BBC 2.
James has led workshops on performance practice, collaborating with neural networks, and devising methods for Birmingham Opera Company, Central Saint Martins, CoDarts (Rotterdam), Birmingham School of Acting, L(AI)Bour, and The REP Foundry. He has also worked as assistant director for Graham Vick at Birmingham Opera Company and National Opera Studio.