From Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his initial theatre training has been living in Vancouver since 1993. For 12 years he was Technical Director of the Firehall Arts Centre. He eventually lit shows for the Firehall Theatre Company and has been Lighting Director for the annual Dancing on the Edge Festival for more than 20 years. He was Resident Lighting Designer / Lighting Director for Ballet British Columbia under the Artistic Director Emily Molnar from 2014 to 2021 designing 20+ pieces and touring nationally and internationally with the company.
Specializing in the realm of dance lighting, James has contributed designs for dance works to many companies, including: NDT 2, Lola Dance, Company 605, Sarah Chase, Co. Erasga, Wen Wei Dance, Joe Ink, EDAM, The Contingency Plan, battery opera, Kinesis Dance, Ballet BC, Move The Company, Restless Productions, Jeanette Kotowich, Dance Novella, Holy Body Tattoo, Dumb Instrument, MACHiNE NOiSY, Anatomica, Ingrid Vallus, Tara Cheyenne Performance, Les Productions Figlio, Karen Jamieson, Trial & Eros, Rachel Meyer, Action at a Distance, Out Innerspace Dance, Helen Walkley, Ballets Jazz Montréal, Justine A. Chambers, plastic orchid factory, Deanna Peters – Mutable Subject and Ouro Collective.