Boosting your performance


The Lewis chessmen, Andy Warhol and Sir James MacMillan: the most iconic objects and the finest artists.

Raising the profile of the arts is second nature to me. Trading as Opening Lines, with support from other specialists when required, I believe that arts communication campaigns should be contemporary, confident and artistically relevant. I plan and implement communication campaigns, and like to base decisions on facts so my clients get their 15 minutes of fame.

By planning across all communication channels I ensure that every one helps to achieve the overall goal. To raise awareness of your brand, and to maintain the conversation, I create content on digital channels during the life of a project. Often I can be found tracking progress and taking corrective action. During the pandemic I’ve managed campaigns that drive audiences to digital projects such as productions, training events and crowdfunds.

These are some of the icons I’ve worked with:

Youth Theatre Arts Scotland
“James has raised funds from my worldwide fanbase, managed photocalls and arranged visits to the set to inspire young people. Great things have already happened – £33,000 has been given by 700 donors and James secured broadcast and press coverage for YTAS events.”  Sam Heughan, star of US television series Outlander and Patron of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland.


Hebrides Ensemble
“James has worked with me on two projects – raising the profile of a world first masterclass that used networks to connect musicians in Europe, and a Scottish concert tour. He attracted an audience from Creative Scotland, national performing companies, arts organisations and composers to witness the masterclass and secured coverage on BBC Radio Scotland. For the concert tour he ran every aspect of the communications campaign, with features in the national press and over 100 tickets sold for the Edinburgh performance.” Sir James MacMillan, CBE.

Théâtre Volière
“Setting up the first year of a new, ambitious season of multi-disciplinary events was exciting but at times extremely daunting. James was a perfect addition to the Marchland team! He was enthusiastic about new ideas and challenges but also calm and reassuring when we got ourselves in a flap! He was particularly supportive of less experienced members of the team and worked with all of us in a very open and generous way. He was quick to respond to queries and unfailingly efficient and reliable. I would be very happy to recommend James and we hope to work with him again in the future.” Natasha Wood, Artistic Director.

Magnetic North
“James worked on the European Premiere of my show Erewhon. I’m based in New York, so we worked over email and Skype. He’s a great time manager and made transatlantic communication easy meaning everything was in place before I set foot in Scotland. James likes to use research to put together a publicity plan – so we got ahead of the game – but he also knows how and when to hustle – keeping an eye on sales and tweaking when needed. His strong relationships with the press generated reviews early in the run. He identified, briefed and managed our perfect designer and supervised the smart distribution and placement of our posters and flyers. James has the ability to run a coherent strategy across all the different channels required for a solid festival run. He’s as comfortable one-on-one as he is crafting mass emails and posts. Work with him!”  Arthur Meek, playwright and performer.

Huntingfield Concerts
“I brought my one man show Getting Better from Australia to the Fringe. James managed the press strategy. He had a very short lead time to make things happen, but that didn’t stop him working creatively to produce news coverage in the national press and on local radio. He was a great networker and made introductions to relevant Scottish charity CEOs. James and I pitched the show at the Fringe Meet the Media event – this resulted in Edinburgh’s Right Honourable Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost coming to see the performance. Discussions with the Provost have generated a promising new lead. When I return to Edinburgh I’d be keen to work with James again.” Trace Dann, Producer, Playwright and Performer.

Zoology Films
A Fear And Loathing Actor In Dublin opened at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. Opening Lines managed the press campaign, but also provided other advice and contacts to help with our overall communications strategy. James wrote and distributed a media release, and managed the production of a tongue in cheek VIP invite for the press. He also arranged for an Edinburgh-based newspaper to interview us when they were over in Dublin. One of the cast was interviewed by a leading author on her podcast. Three reviews were online within the first five days of the run, including a five star review and a ‘highly recommended show’. As part of his press report, we were given valuable feedback from journalists to help plan our next Fringe visit. James was also a pleasure to deal with. I would highly recommend him.” Mark McAuley

Edinburgh International Contemporary Clown Festival

Sáras Feijóo, Artistic Director.

Argyll and the Isles’ Culture, Heritage and Arts Assembly (CHARTS)
In 2020 I facilitated ten 1:1 social media training sessions with CHARTS members online, providing tailored support on their use of social media. Here are a few reviews:

“Limited ability, lack of interest, worry about the amount of time needed had all contributed to my having a very low social media presence. This undoubtedly contributes to a lower number of visitors to our garden in Kintyre and also limits the number of people who see my oil paintings. After a session with James Coutts I am much more aware of what should be done and I have a renewed optimism about doing something about it. James was well prepared and sensitive to my situation and very responsive to my concerns.” Christine Russell

“I found the Social Media Tune up session with James incredibly useful; the session was packed with advice! I felt that my precise questions and queries had been attended to, James had very clearly researched my work to date so that he could respond with as much feedback as possible that was unique to me. The advice given was easy to understand and will be very achievable. There was plenty of opportunity to ask questions and discuss points further. It was really interesting to get a professional view on my use of social media, as James was able to highlight methods for me to use my time to effectively on social media. James answered my questions so thoroughly, and it really felt that the experience tailored to me as an individual.” Caitlin Hegney

“James was very enthusiastic and helpful, having previously researched my social media he was able to give me specific, personal advice which was very fruitful. The meeting was a great opportunity to explore and discuss ideas. ” Lewis Deeney

Leave a Reply