James King

Performance Art

James King grew up in Larne, Co. Antrim and has lived in Derry for the last 25 years. Since retiring from his post as Course Director for Community Drama at the University of Ulster in 2004 James has developed his career as performance artist and sound poet, while maintaining his interest in Dramatherapy with vulnerable groups in the community.

“I first began performing street theatre in Belfast, 1976 in relation to social issues: eg. children’s rights, poverty, unemployment; and this remained the central focus of our actions during “the troubles”. I also engaged in avant-garde street events and happenings, often of a surreal nature, with David Irving. From 1988-92 my creative output centered on Street Art activities in Derry in collaboration with Eamonn O’Donnell. Some of these were troubles related although much of the work related to community and social issues and expressive, abstract themes. We described them as “Exercises in Spontaneity.” We wanted to encourage freedom in others and develop it in ourselves: Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of action. We were engaged in this work throughout the period of the troubles although it was not specifically about sectarianism or political and security issues. Through our endeavours we would challenge authority and oppression and their physical manifestations; eg. transforming barbed wire into a piece of public sculpture. To that extent our art was troubles related.”


“Moving Pitches” by James King (Yes! Publications 2008)