James Kenworth is a Playwright and Academic. His plays includes ‘verse-prose’ plays Johnny Song, Gob; the black comedy Polar Bears; issue-led/based plays Everybody’s World (Elder Abuse), Dementia’s Journey (Dementia); plays for young people/schools, The Last Story in the World; and a Newham-based quadtrilogy of site-specific/responsive plays: When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm, A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham and Alice in Canning Town. Gob starred former Take That star, Jason Orange, and was Time Out and What’s On Critics Choice at King’s Head Theatre, Islington. In a radical and subversive departure from his boyband image Orange played a 'homeless techno revolutionary in crustie combats and a grubby Che Guevara T-shirt'. Its revival at Edinburgh Fringe Festival earned the distinction of two five-star reviews from Three Weeks and The List, and was included in the feature "Editor's Highlights of the Fringe".
He was one of eight playwrights selected to take part in the inaugural Tamasha/Mulberry School Writers Attachment Scheme, created and taught by playwright and Tamasha Theatre Company co-Artistic Director Fin Kennedy. The scheme has since become Schoolwrights, the UK's first playwrights-in-schools training scheme, which uses Mulberry School as a training base for other writers.
James received special permission from the George Orwell Estate to write a contemporary re-imagining of Animal Farm, retitled Revolution Farm, performed on an inner city farm in East London, which The Independent’s Paul Taylor described as a ‘terrifically powerful update…highly recommended” and British Theatre Guide wrote ”If Animal Farm is on the curriculum this term, what better way to introduce it?
His raising awareness play, Dementia’s Journey, won the 2015 University of Stirling International Dementia Award in the category: Dementia & the Arts.
When Chaplin Met Gandhi is published by TSL Publications. A Splotch of Red is published by New Internationalist’s Workable, a new publishing imprint dedicated to trade unions and organized workers. Alice in Canning Town has recently been published by playdeadpress.
He has extensive experience of planning, preparing and teaching playwriting and creative writing programmes/workshops for a wide variety of age groups and learners including children, young people, students and adult learners. He has worked on a regular basis on the delivery of these programmes with leading arts and educational organisations such as Spread The Word, Cardboard Citizens, Workers Educational Association, Newham Adult Learning Service, Newham Libraries, Newham College, Community Links, Soho Theatre, University of East London and Middlesex University.
He regularly presents papers/talks and delivers workshops on his work as a playwright at academic conferences and arts/literary festivals.
"A powerful update of Orwell's classic"
"This is a show that mixes history and fiction to craft a fine piece of theatre with a message for our times."
"Fast-paced plot and sparkling dialogue...an accomplished piece of theatre"
Edinburgh Evening News
“Funny, feisty and strangely touching”
“A 70 – minute high”
“A curious, lively piece…an interesting use of rhythm, dropping in faux-Shakespearean couplets and strange lyricism”