James Issitt is a magician, director, dramaturge and educational arts practitioner. He read Drama and English at the University of Leeds (St. John's College, York) before studying for an MA in Text and Performance at King's College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). James is completing his PhD entitled Performing Miracles: the real magic behind the performance - based on the performance theories of close-up magic.

He has worked as an actor and director across the country, including directing off West End. James is a Member of the prestigious Magic Circle in London and performs close-up magic across the country.

James was the Performance Consultant for the 2016 UK tour of the Champions of Magic. He has presented papers at education and research conferences in Cumbria and Las Vegas. He has lectured twice at The Magic Circle in London offering performance tips for close-up magicians. Every year James attends the world’s largest magic convention in Blackpool to share his research and passion for magic.

Over the years, James has met several magic luminaries as part of his thesis including Derren Brown, Eugene Burger, Larry Hass, Lance Burton and Paul Zenon. James’ magic mentor is the world-renowned close-up magician Fay Presto.

He is an external examiner for the City of Liverpool College and is a member of the Open University Validation Panel.

Within his teaching at the University of Cumbria James critically deconstructs play texts for performance and examines practitioner theories in practical environments. His teaching style allows the students to explore and develop their own practices and further enhance their creativity within practical workshops.

Outside of professional interests, James is passionate about performance magic, Shakespeare in performance and is a mean backgammon player.

Qualifications and memberships

MA Text and Performance

Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

BA (Hons) Drama with English

Academic and research interests

Performance magic

Magic history

Performance theories embedded within close-up magic