James Albrecht, '95

  • M.A., History, St. Andrews University, 1994
  • Bobby Jones Scholar, Emory, 1994-5.
  • London, UK
  • Assistant Artistic Director, St. James Theatre, London
  • www.stjamestheatre.co.uk (no connection to my name)

Since Emory

After leaving Emory in 1995, I stayed on in Atlanta for 1 year and worked as an actor and director. Since returning the UK in 1996 I have lived and worked in London as an actor and more recently a director. Acting highlights include: The Sisters Rosensweig at the Alliance Theatre, Nights of Carnival at Theater Emory, The Promise at the Edinburgh festival (in part financed with support from Theater Emory), 18 months with the RSC, my one-man show John Wayne, Mom, Apple Pie & Other Myths (a verbatim theater piece based on interviews with people from Little Five Points), Noises Off for the National Theatre on tour and in the West End, and on TV, Doctor Who and a series regular in NBC's The Philanthropist starring James Purefoy and Neve Campbell. Directing highlights include The Trojan Trilogy at the British Museum and Lysistrata at the Rose Theatre.

Current activities 

The St. James Theatre opens in September, 2012 as the first new theater complex in central London in some 30 years. It houses a 312 seat main house, 100 capacity studio, 2 bars and a restaurant. My role is to help the artistic director to programme the two theatres and I take particular responsibility for the studio. That said, as a new building we have all been doing far more than the basic job specfications. I have also got involved on the producing/general management side. I am married to Coralie who I met just after my return from Atlanta in 1996 and we have a three-year-old daughter, Zoe.

Highlights at Emory

I had a brilliant year from beginning to end at Emory: the directing and playwriting classes I did with Vinnie Murphy, the acting and creating new works classes I did with Tim McDonough, the roles I played with Theater Emory (General Carter Ross in African Antigone, NIghts of Carnival), the three week workshop with Anne Bogart's SITI company, the trip to the Humana Fest at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.

In retrospect

I left Emory with the certain knowledge that I wanted to pursue a career in theater as an actor and director. I left with an insight into the huge pleasure of working in a creative team, a sense of the hard work and commitment required to make progress in this very challenging profession, and a degree of conflict as to whether I wanted to focus on acting or directing. I certainly gained invaluable training in both, and many of the skills I picked up in my 10 months at Emory have continued to inform my choices and my approach to the work some 17 years on. Emory taught me to be a doer not a talker, to be one of the first to get up and try something rather than be a spectator, to try, probably struggle and possibly fail rather than live with regret. The journey since I left has been exhilarating, at times very rewarding, at others deeply challenging: sometimes I have ridden the crest of the wave, at others I have found myself almost beaten and horribly at sea, but the roots I planted at Emory and the friendships I formed whilst there – and none more so than Vinnie Murphy – have seen me through the best and the worst of times.

And …

My 2 years in Atlanta remain some of the most formative of my life. They informed and shaped the person I am and the career path I chose, and so many of the friendships I formed all those years ago remain very important to me to this day.