Episode 9: James Bierman

7 April 2021


Chris sits down for a chat with producer James Bierman, who was executive producer for Donmar Warehouse between 2006-11. While James was at the Donmar, their productions won countless awards, from Tonys and Oliviers to Drama Desk and Critics’ Circle awards. He went on to set up the Michael Grandage company with the man himself, overseeing their first season of work which featured heavyweight actors like Judi Dench and Daniel Radcliffe. He also produced the film Genius with Michael, starring Jude Law, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. James now runs his own production company, Empire Street Productions - one of their most recent productions in the West End, True West, starred Kit Harrington and Johnny Flynn.

Topics include: lockdown emotions and false hopes for normality last year; lockdown as a time for perspective and meaningful connections; continuing and remaining realistic with creative projects; what the right work to produce will be coming out of the pandemic; James’ ‘origin story’ and career journey; the importance of understanding creative works in their contexts; James’ turning point in choosing producing over acting; turning Chris down for a job many years ago; the complexities of fulfilling Michael Grandage’s vision for the Donmar; moving from the subsidised sector to the commercial sector with the Michael Grandage Company; going independent with Empire Street; shifting between theatre and film, and learning the differences between them; James’ advice for emerging producers; feelings towards the future.



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