Los Angeles based director, designer and visual artist James Darrah is committed to collaborative projects within theater, music and video and has been quickly recognized as “the newest discovery…a gifted young American director” delivering “fresh and stimulating productions" (Chicago Tribune). In the past year he has collaborated on new genre-bending productions with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel, and John Adams. His work includes projects with San Francisco Symphony, The Juilliard School/ Juilliard Opera, San Francisco Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Omaha, The Theater @ Boston Court, Pacific MusicWorks,The Broad Stage, Chicago Opera Theater, and four projects with the Los Angeles Philharmonic including the world premiere of Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels for the 10th Anniversary of Walt Disney Concert Hall.
He trained as a director/designer with the Croatian National Theater and the Split Summer Festival and his theater work ranges from adaptations and translations of Aeschylus' Oresteia to new productions of the plays of Caryl Churchill. He is currently developing the premiere of the new play Ballad of Haint Blue by Roxie Perkins.
Additional upcoming projects include a new production of Don Giovanni for the Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera, the US premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Hommage à Klaus Nomi with John Adams conducting for the LA Phil, a world premiere with the experimental LA-based company The Industry, and a new production of Adams’ A Flowering Tree for Opera Omaha.
He has taught performance and theater for the Adler Fellowship of San Francisco Opera, Cornish College of the Arts, the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival and also directed and designed six new productions for the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he was the recipient of the George Burns/Gracie Allen Directing Fellowship. He has also been awarded the James Pendleton Foundation Grant and national Princess Grace Award in Theater.