J R BRENNAN is a director, performer, composer and producer. In recent years his practice has interrogated ideas of crime & virtue. His work is research led & often performed in site-specific locations.

Currently he is producing a series of projects: The Chata performance created and performed by artists and ex-offenders at (Arts House, Melbourne, 2016); The Virtuesa documentary music project in partnership with Bialoleka Prison, Warsaw and; The Mark Of Caina stage production first presented for the European Centre for Theatre Practices Gardzienice, Poland 2011. All three projects draw on the auto-ethnographic research collected and observed by James in his role as a parole officer and work in experimental theatre in Australia and Europe.

Since graduating from VCA School of Drama (Acting) in 2000, he has presented original theatrical and musical works in Australia, Germany, Japan, Poland, The United States and Brasil.

In 2007 James gained a Certificate 4 in Corrective Practice, working as a parole officer in Long Bay Gaol, Sydney until 2010. This led him to research socially engaged and experimental theatre practice in Australia, Brasil and Europe, supported by the Keith and Elisabeth Murdoch Traveling Fellowship (2009).

In this international program he researched, trained and worked with Teatro Vertigem, Brasil; Wooster Group and Deborah Hay, USA, zapaleni.org and renowned Polish avant garde theatre company Gardzienice, where he was a core company member, actor and instructor between 2010 and 2013. In 2011 he became the first outside director to create a new work for Gardzienice in its 35 year history. The work (The Mark of Cain) explored community response to violent crime, marked James directorial debut on the European stage and was hailed by Poland’s main theatre publication as a “landmark event”. 

Current partnerships include Monash University’s Criminology Department and Judy Lazarus Transitional Centre.