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Sound Design & Composition

Photography by Mark Iondolo

Upcoming work in Scene + Heard Festival, Dublin
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Just one Law, directed by Sonia Bishop - 15-16 Feb

Clyde Inside, by Rock Bottom Saloon - 20-21 Feb

Space Deli: The Musical, by Pay Attention! Collective - 2 March

All performances in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin.

Just One Law - an improv comedy with a live dystopian score.

I will be performing a live improvised score for the show, using any possible number of instruments - who knows what will happen on the night! Possible setup includes synthesiser, electric guitar, low whistle, and a microphone running into effects pedals.

Directed by Sonia Bishop.

15-16 Feb, 18:30. Tickets

Clyde Inside - in this dark theatrical comedy, a gay couple try to save their relationship through unorthodox means: a DIY porn shoot.

I will be composing and sound designing the show, focusing on synthesiser and dreamwave vibes.

Produced by Rock Bottom Saloon, directed by Ois O'Donoghue.

20-21 Feb, 18:30. Tickets

Space Deli - a musical set in a deli. In space.

I am a co-composer for the show, composing collaboratively with the cast & crew and musical director Mitch.

I will be performing live as part of the two-person band, using electric guitar & bass, to complement Mitch on keys and synth.

Produced by Pay Attention! Collective.

2 March, 21:30. Tickets


00:00 / 02:42
Feet Pics Aren't Free by Gráinne Holmes Blumenthal
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A comedic show about the artist finding pictures of her feet uploaded to a fetish website, and about women's control over their own images online spaces.

- Smock Alley Boy's School, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival, 2023.

I composed two original tracks with writer-performer Gráinne Blumenthal for the play - one conventional show tune-style musical number, and one much more thoughtful and interior moment of repose.

In addition to these, I recorded a number of vocal soundscapes with Gráinne that I edited together to form fun and lighthearted background sound for a number of scenes - a soundscape of New York City, a train running down the tracks, and a nightclub in Greece. These were super fun and added even more personality to a play that was already full of laughs. I also voice acted for the play.

Praise for sound design:

"Singing show tunes to the hilt of absurdity, [...] Blumenthal is made for the stage."

- The Irish Times ★★★★


Foot Millionaire backing WITH VOCALJames Ireland and Gráinne Holmes Blumenthal
00:00 / 00:56
Decommissioned by Molly Anne Sweeney

A climate-focused piece set in a town in Wales set to be decommissioned.


- Pleasance, London, 2023


My design for the show was rooted in audio of natural soundscapes, with a focus on ever-present water to constantly remind us of the threat of the rising sea in the play. I used audio from mountain streams, rivers, rain, and ocean waves to achieve this. In key moments I created heightened, distorted versions of the audio using reverb, distortion, and filter sweeps to further drive this home.

In addition to this, I composed some short musical interludes for transitions and the buildup to the climactic scene of the play. These were predominantly quite sparsely composed piano pieces, but I did use other instruments and some light effects to begin to fill out the sound as the tension in the play increased.

TransitionsJames Ireland
00:00 / 01:00
My Lover was a Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse by Bradán
Image of award-winning gig theatre show My Lover Was a Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse by Bradán, as performed in VAULT Festival London 2023. Written by James Ireland and directed by Kate Bauer, featuring the actor musicians Elisabeth Flett, Rory Gradon, and Elinor Peregrin.

Award-winning ecological gig theatre about industrial fishing and climate collapse.

- Pleasance Courtyard, as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022

- VOILA! Festival of European Theatre, London, 2022

- VAULT Festival, London, 2023.

The cast and crew collaboratively composed a number of original trad/folk songs and live soundscapes for the show. I composed electronic soundscapes for the climax of the show, as well as being the sound tech for the live sound for the performances.

The Salmon Break FreeBradán
00:00 / 02:40
A SHITE Christmas Carol by SHITE Productions
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A Christmas Carol like you've never seen it before: an experience that will have you questioning the meaning of Christmas.

- Theatre Deli, London, December 2023.

I composed two original songs for this play. One was a cheesy singalong Christmas tune for the end of the play, with a solo verse for each main character, and a big singalong chorus that we got the audience involved in. Led by guitar, with lots of vocal harmonies by the cast, trombone composed & performed by Elinor Peregrin, and sleigh bells.


The second song was a horrifying interruption to the Cratchits' Christmas dinner by a goose that doesn't want to be eaten - very different in tone to the other tune! The main objectives here were to give the performer as much character fun to work with, and as unhinged and comedic a song for the audience to enjoy as possible, whilst still hitting the core beats of animal rights and vegetarian/veganism inherent in the idea.


Christmas GooseJames Ireland
00:00 / 02:42
Three Things That Are Never Seen by Charlotte O'Reilly
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An ethereal show about the magpie in Irish mythology with live trad music.

- The Space Theatre, London, 2023.


I composed and played live music for the show, and built upon an electronic playback soundscape that had been composed by designer Richard Durning for an earlier work-in-progress version of the project.

Instruments included fiddle, harmonium, low whistle, loop pedal, and acoustic guitar. For the playback compositions I used samples of acoustic and trad instruments, predominantly cello, uilleann pipes, and processed woodwinds from Spitfire Labs.

Praise for live music:

"Accompanied by live music across a wide array of instruments [...] each note fleshing out an atmosphere that is far more intimate than a normal stage performance, as if the audience is crouching over the same campfires that have kept these stories alive for millennia.



The haunting music always played expertly by Ireland ensures that each scene's emotion is conveyed regardless of what's being said."

- London Pub Theatres - ★★★★1/2


"Deftly blends folklore with riveting live music [...] invites us into a multi-sensory dreamscape"

- Fringebiscuit - ★★★★

"Lovingly told with a luscious musical underscore, Three Things That Are Never Seen is a still and magical piece"

- Everything Theatre

Three Things ending songCharlotte O'Reilly and James Ireland
00:00 / 01:37
And What Comes After by Aoife Meagher
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A short play where a looming breakup slowly dissolves two videogame-obsessed characters' universes.

- Token, Dublin, as part of Plays Full of SHITE, 2023.


For this show, we had 10 hours to create a play in a day from Aoife Meagher's script. I live-scored the piece with a post-rock style electric guitar with heavy reverb and delay. I also used MIDI controlled pads that I heavily processed with distortions and downsampling to echo the characters' retro videogame world, and drive the inevitable sense of aching hollow cataclysm as the play builds.

A bedroom demo of the composition is recorded below, which was played live underneath the soaringly beautiful dialogue of the characters' universes falling apart.

Ambient PostrockJames Ireland
00:00 / 06:48
Cooking the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge by Bradán
Poster for the experimental live cooking theatre show Cooking the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge by Bradán at Dublin Fringe Festival, supported by PAN PAN Platform, and winner of the Axis Green Arts Award. Written and performed by James Ireland and directed by Kate Bauer.

An award-winning live cooking performance for our future.

- The New Theatre, Dublin, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2022

- FeastFest, London, 2023.


The design for this show included composing a song to play live at the climax of the piece, and gathering recorded audio from the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland to form a soundscape underneath the main body of the show.

Praise for sound design:

"Ireland beautifully rounds this bite-sized, 30-minute piece with a blessing over the Vegan Salmon of Knowledge before we indulge. Their dulcet melodies are a rich complement to the food, grounding, memorialising, and lending a sense of hope that humankind might find a way through environmental catastrophe after all."

- Fringebiscuit - ★★★★

The Mountains are Changing Shape (demo)James Ireland
00:00 / 06:30

As a sound designer/composer/live musician, I often work with folk/trad instruments. I play a number of instruments, and enjoy running these through effects processors to create a mix of folk, ambient, and electronic scores. But I am as interested in writing hit tunes for show-stopping musicals (in a variety of genres, from show tunes to folk to as unhinged or cheesy as possible) as I am composing these more ethereal and interpretive sounds of landscape, biosphere, folklore, and deep time.

Instruments include guitar - electric, resonator, slide guitar, acoustic (high proficiency); various electronic instruments and effects processors (high proficiency); violin & viola (medium proficiency); tin whistle & low whistle (medium proficiency); singing (medium proficiency); tenor banjo (medium proficiency); bouzouki (medium proficiency); harmonium (medium proficiency); drum pads (medium proficiency); uilleann pipes (novice).

I have recently composed for shows in Dublin Fringe Festival (Smock Alley Theatre; The New Theatre); VAULT Festival, London; Pleasance Theatre, London, and Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Fringe Festival; London Irish Centre; Theatre Deli (London); and The Space Theatre (London).

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