James McLaughlin

James studied English and Philosophy at The University of Auckland, New Zealand and emerged with an MA in English in 2001. Later this year he was appointed the founding theatre manager of The Covert Theatre and worked professionally as an actor in the theatre, comedy and television industries for the following four years. During this period he completed an eighty-week training programme in the Meisner Technique, taught by Michael Saccente, graduate of Sanford Meisner’s classes at The Neighbourhood Playhouse.

Since 1999 James has been a senior member of the world championship winning act The Improv Bandits that have performed in New Zealand, Australia, Belgium, Canada, and The United States. James was a crucial member of the act who won the inaugural 2002 Super Cage Match World Championship at the Chicago Improv Festival. Most recently he has performed in Leuven, Strasbourg and a four week run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

James has trained under many international tutors including Keith Johnstone, Dan O’Connor and has shared the bill with comedy heavyweights such as Colin Mochrie and Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), George Wendt (Cheers) and Dan Castellaneta (voice of Homer Simpson).

In 2003 he staged Tales of War, an improvised drama that received critical acclaim, to packed houses. 
“Tales of War consists of three spontaneous first-person monologues about lives in WWII. All that’s certain is risk. On the night I saw, the risks paid off. Handsomely.” (NZ Herald)

The showcase of his writing An Idiot’s Fury saw his one-act plays Inertia and Turn picked up and performed by other New Zealand theatre companies. James is also a regular contributor of experimental fiction to Makeshift magazine (http://www.makeshift.co.nz/content/makeshift-magazine).

James won the Best Male Improviser Award in New Zealand for four consecutive years (2001 – 2004) before leaving for The United Kingdom, where he is now based. He gained an MA in Theatre Practice under Phillip Zarrilli at the University of Exeter in 2006 before founding the theatre company Slap in the Face Theatre with long-time collaborator Catherine Campbell. He is now a doctoral candidate conducting an existential/phenomenological investigation of ‘being-in-the-moment’ according to the Meisner Technique.