Charlene James

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Charlene James is an award-winning playwright and an actor who trained at Birmingham School of Acting and The School at Steppenwolf, Chicago. 

In 2008, she participated in the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme and in 2012 she was selected to be one of the 503 Five at Theatre 503. In 2013 Charlene became a writer in residence at the Birmingham Rep for their season focusing on mental health.

Her play, Tweet Tweet, was commissioned by the Birmingham Rep as part of Young Theatre Makers. It premiered at The Birmingham Rep before touring. 

Charlene was awarded the Alfred Fagon Award, for best new play at the National Theatre for Cuttin' It, a play focusing on Female Genital Mutilation - which then transferred in 2016 to the Royal Court and Young Vic respectively to considerable critical acclaim and was nominated for Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards 2016.

Charlene was awarded the George Devine Award 2015 for the same play as well as winning a BBC Audio Drama award for her radio adaptation of Cuttin' It. 

She was then awarded the Charles Wintour award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016.

She is a Jerwood New Playwright 2016 and is currently under commission from RADA, Royal Court and Royal Exchange Manchester. 





Co-commission between Royal Court and Talawa.

Royal Court, Talawa
Manchester Royal Exchange
Cuttin' It
George Devine Award, Alfred Fagon Award, Best New Play (UK Theatre Awards), Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright
Director Gbolahan Obisesan
  • Adelayo Adedayo
  • Tsion Habte

    Follows two 15 year-old girls from Somali backgrounds and their experiences of FGM. 

    Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre
    Director Tom Saunders

    Produced as part of a Young Theatre Makers partnership. 

    Birmingham Repertory Theatre
    Director Monique Sterling
  • Helen Embleton
    Short play as part of Miniaturists 42
    Arcola Theatre
    New full-length play focusing on the effect of incest
    Talawa Firsts
    Play presented in Shh!, a series of short plays by the Theatre 503 Five
    Grief and loss are explored in a play about what geography says about where you really are
    Maybe Father
    Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award 2009
    Producer Talawa Theatre Company
    Play about fatherhood and motherhood and the meaning of commitment
    Young Vic as part of 'Flipping the Script'



    Cuttin It'
    WINNER BBC Audio Drama Award

    Radio adaptation of her award winning play - about two 15-year old Somali girls and their experiences of female genital mutilation. 

    Production Company BBC
    Broadcaster BBC Radio 4





    Producer Rachelle Constant

    Monologue piece as part of the BBC's The Break short films. 

    BBC for BBC 3