Daf
James

Playwright, Screenwriter, Composer and Performer

Daf James is a multidisciplinary queer artist: an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, composer and performer. He works across theatre, radio, television and film in both English and Welsh. After gaining a first class degree in English literature at Edinburgh University he trained in the Lecoq method at the London International School of Performing Arts, and received his doctorate in Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick. Daf’s work often explores and celebrates queerness, identity politics, marginalised voices, Welshness, and notions of family.

Daf’s first show as his alter ego ’Sue’ – MY NAME IS SUE – which he performed, composed and co-wrote with Ben Lewis, won a Total Theatre Award for Music and Theatre. His subsequent play LLWYTH [Tribe] ‘announced James as a major new voice, and pioneered a bold new Welsh-language theatrical vernacular’ (the Guardian). Contemporary Welsh Plays honours LLWYTH as having ‘changed the landscape of Welsh language theatre forever'. For TYLWYTH – his second part to LLWYTH, a decade later – Daf was recognised as ‘one of Wales’s most exciting playwrights’ (the Guardian) and ‘the best modern Welsh dramatist we have’ (Walesonline). Recently, a run of the American premiere of On the Other Hand, We’re Happy was extended after being hailed by the LA Times as ‘that proverbial needle in the theatrical haystack’.

 
Daf is a prolific composer and lyricist and his music for theatre has been awarded a Cameron Mackintosh Award as well as a Total Theatre Award. He’s written hundreds of songs for small to large scale works across a range of genres. These include songs for television and film; a new version of Brecht’s Mother Courage for National Theatre Wales, Tiger Bay: the musical:, co-produced by Wales Millennium Centre and Cape Town Opera starring Vikki Bebb, Dom Hartley-Harris, John Owen-Jones, Suzanne Packer and Noel Sullivan; and City of the Unexpected, Wales’ largest ever cultural event, which more than 120,000 attended across the city of Cardiff to celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl.
 
Also a sought after theatrical translator, Daf’s translated multiple texts into Welsh and English including SPRING AWAKENING: THE MUSICAL for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru; THE FLOCK by Jesper Wamsler for Gwasg Gomer; YURI by Fabrice Melquiot for August 012; PETULA by Melquiot for August 012/Theatr Genedlaethol and National Theatre Wales; TUESDAY by Alison Carr for Nick Hern Books; and his own National Theatre Connections play HERITAGE. Both TUESDAY and HERITAGE now form part of the WJEC drama syllabus.

Daf is currently associate artist at the Sherman Theatre and his original drama series LOST BOYS AND FAIRIES, produced by Duck Soup, starts filming in March 2023 for BBC One.


CV

Theatre

Writer 

In development 

Clwyd Theatr Cymru/ Sherman Theatre/Royal Court
Director Stef O'Driscoll

A single dad meets his adopted daughter for the firs time. Then he agrees to meet her birth-mother.




Clwyd Theatr Cymru/Paines Plough for Summerhall, Edinburgh, and UK Tour
Director Arwel Gruffydd

Follow up to Daf's hit play, Llwyth. 

Sherman Theatre/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
Director Amy Leach

An adaptation of Roald Dahl's short stories.

National Theatre Wales/Gagglebabble
Director Adele Thomas

After their friend takes his own life, a group of young people congregate to write his eulogy. 

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Commission as part of Connections 2014
National Theatre Connections
Commission from Sherman Cymru in a co-production with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Sherman Cymru and RWCMD

Writer of international project devised and performed across Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Wales

Mess up the Mess Theatre company
Director Arwel Gruffydd
Starring
  • Danny Grehan
  • Michael Humphreys
  • Paul Morgans
  • Simon Watts
  • Rugby international night in Cardiff and the tribes are out in force. Wales has lost, but four gay friends are determined to have a night to remember… whatever the cost.

    Sherman Cymru & Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
    Play set on a caravan park about a boy with a messianic complex
    Script Cymru

    Writer & Composer 

    Commisioned as part of the National Theatre’s Let’s Play Programme.
    A musical in which the characters of Nurseyland rebell against the stereotypes they are expected to play in their stories.

    Musical Short for BBC Children in Need

    BBC Studios

    Composer and Co-lyricist with Ed Thomas, NTW

    National Theatre Wales
    Starring
  • Sue returns for a special Christmas show

    Soho Theatre
    My Name is Sue
    Winner of the Total Theatre Award for Music and Theatre at the Edinburgh Festival, 2009
    Co-created and written with Ben Lewis, Dafydd also played the eponymous piano-wielding, pill-popping prophet from Wales
    Edinburgh Festival, Soho Theatre, National Tour
    New musical co-written with Ben Lewis
    National Theatre of Wales
    Director Róisín McBrinn
    Writer Rob Evans
    Starring
  • Joshua Considine
  • Russell Gomer
  • Daniel Graham
  • Rebecca Newman
  • Musical based on the classic children's book by JM Barrie
    Sherman Cymru
    English and Welsh versions of a show for children in collaboration with Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis
    Sherman Cymru and Theatr Iolo

    Co-Written with Ben Lewis. In Development.

    NTW/Sherman Theatre

    Composer 

    Director Melly Still & Max Barton

    An epic new musical set in Cardiff's Butetown in the early 1900s.

    Cape Town Opera/Wales Millennium Centre

    A celebration of Roald Dahl across the city of Cardiff

    NTW

    Translator 

    Director Mathilde Lopez

    Daf’s translation of Wanted Petula by Fabrice Melquiot from the French into a multilingual hybrid of Welsh, English and French.

    August 012/NTW/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

    Welsh translation of his own NT Connections play

    WJEC Syllabus

    Welsh translation of Alison Carr’s Tuesday

    Nick Hern Books/WJEC Syllabus
    Director Mathilde Lopez

    A play about infertility, scrabble, supermarkets, sex, nationalism, the stranger in your living room and the absurdity of wanting to bring children into our deranged world. It’s also about love. 

    Adapted from Fabrice Melquiot's Youri, translated by Daf from French into English and Welsh.

    August 012

    Translater of The Flock 

    Gwasg Gomer
    Translating and adapting the hit-musical into Welsh
    Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

    Television

    Writer & Creator 

    BBC Writersroom commissioned script

    Duck Soup for BBC One
    Shooting 2023

    Writer 

    'Abattnoir' read by Sarah Millican for the third series of the hit adult storytelling show.

    Tiger Aspect for Dave
    Psychobitches, Series 2
    Winner of Rose d’or Award
    Starring
  • Rebecca Front
  • Frances Barber
  • Sharon Horgan
  • Katy Brand
  • A rare, intimate and hysterically funny look at the people behind the legends and a celebration of great women from history.

    Tiger Aspect for Sky Arts
    Gwaith/Cartref (Home/Work): Series 2-5
    Winner of Best Drama Series at Celtic Media Awards
    Starring
  • Rhian Blythe
  • Hannah Daniel
  • Richard Elis
  • Huw Rhys
  • Second, third, fourth and fifth series of the Welsh drama which follows a group of teachers at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Taf

    Fiction Factory
    Storylining for the fifth series of the popular Welsh language show
    Fiction Factory for S4C

    Composer 

    Theme and incidental music for S4C Comedy Christmas Special

    Joio Productions for S4C

    Film

    Writer 

    Co-written with Bethan Marlow

    Ardimages UK/Ffilm Cymru
    In Development

    Adaptation of Mike Parker’s award-winning book

    Duck Soup/BBC Films
    In Development

    Radio

    Writer 

    The true story of a dark family secret. 

    Production Company BBC
    Broadcaster BBC Radio 4
    Writer 
    Production Company BBC Radio 4
    Producer James Robinson
    Starring
  • Matthew Gravelle
  • Alex Harries
  • Eiry Hughes
  • Lee Mengo
  • Play for the BBC Radio 3 strand The Wire

    Broadcaster BBC Radio 3
    Radio play about a young man whose plan for a laddish Christmas in Cardiff is ruined by a family crisis

    Broadcaster Radio Wales

    Other

    Production Dramaturg 

    Grimm meets Tarantino in this brutal love story set around Memorial Day celebrations in 1950’s America. Featuring original live music inspired by Blues, Rockabilly, and Americana. Part gig, part slasher movie, part road movie, part murder ballad.

    Gagglebabble