James Riordan

James Riordan

Independent Artist

James (he/him) is from Galway and is artistic director of Brú Theatre, founded in 2018 along with producer Jill Murray. He works bilingually in Irish and English, creating multi-disciplinary work that merges contemporary theatre practices with the stories, superstitions, musicality and language of where he is from.

Brú’s Selvage, written and performed by James, received multiple Irish Times Theatre Award nominations in 2020. He was awarded the Abbey Theatre’s Michael Hogan Bursary this year to create Somnium, a new work exploring long form Irish lament and historical violence in rural Ireland. Brú’s Cleite and The Fisherwives, two full mask, site specific pieces based on the matriarchal fishing communities of the West of Ireland, toured in 2019.

James has recently started making virtual reality work, with his first piece Ar Ais Arís touring nationally earlier this year as part of Brightening Air and Galway International Arts Festival. He received a Carlow Arts Festival Wedge Bursary in 2020 to explore sound and story in virtual spaces and he is in pre-production for a new immersive film next year entitled Grief Song.

He is currently Theatre Artist in Residence with the Town Hall Theatre, running an artist development program, Remote Control, with Galway Dance Project and Brù School, offering week long workshops in physical theatre and mask for adult theatre makers.

Upcoming projects include The Libravian, commissioned by Baboró in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland and Gol, a recontextualising of Irish keening and the women who used to mourn professionally in Ireland. He is currently collaborating with KRIILA in Croatia and Teatro du Silencio in Portugal in the creation of two new works for 2022.


1. Victoria McCormack, Conor Kennedy Burke, Orla Tubridy, & Jérémie Cyr-Cooke in The Fisherwives, Brú Theatre, created by James Riordan. Photo credit: Julia Dunin (2019)

2. James Riordan in The Libravrian, Brú Theatre, written by James Riordan. Photo credit: Enda Burke (2021)

3. Stephanie Dufresne in Ar Ais Arís, Brú Theatre, directed by James Riordan. Photo credit: Paul Kinsella (2020)

“Cleite, a deceptively simple story, told beautifully and wordlessly by Philippa Hambly, backed by stunning sean-nós songs, in Irish and English from Caitlín Ní Chualáin was among the highlights of this year’s Galway Theatre Festival.” – Connacht Tribune (for Cleite by Brú Theatre)

“…this innovative, talented company have won over audiences and critics alike.” – Connacht Tribune (for Cleite by Brú Theatre)