Origin story

James Lórien MacDonald (b.1977) grew up in London, Ontario, and then completed a BA in Theatre and English Literature from the University of Toronto. He currently works primarily in stand-up comedy, Live Art, and Nordic larp. He is consistently drawn to questions of embodiment, duration, undermining social norms, humour, and trolling.

He moved to Helsinki in 2002 and largely failed to leave, and still lives there. Upon moving to Europe he found his text-heavy training in theatre to be less useful than in Commonwealth haunts, and gravitated towards training in Meyerhold’s Biomechanics, Suzuki and Viewpoints, Grotowski, Lecoq, and Butoh, working chiefly with the Höyhentämö theatre in Helsinki, and mask theatre company Metamorfoosi.

Around 2006 he gravitated towards performance art, participatory theatre, game-based theatre, and Nordic larp. He created the Walkabout series of performance-games with Aarni Korpela, including The Lovers’ Matchmaking Agency, a pop-up dating agency.

Around 2011 he moved on again to stand-up comedy and other populist forms like drag, burlesque, and games, and works consciously with their denigration within the larger art context. In 2014 he began medically transitioning and was the first trans comedian working in Finland. He later started Feminist Comedy Night and Feminist Comedy Academy, paving the way for more diverse voices in Finnish stand-up.

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Photo: Vesa Tyni