James Waites was born on Buka Island off the mainland of Papua New Guinea. He went to boarding school at Holy Cross College, Ryde and began a Law Degree at the University of NSW in 1973. After majoring in Drama, Waites began his professional career writing arts documentaries for ABC Radio and reviewing plays for the National Times in the early 1980s . He helped create the short-lived New Theatre Australia. He has taught theatre history or similarly titled subjects at UNSW and Uni Western Sydney.
James Waites is probably best known for his years as chief drama critic at the Sydney Morning Herald through the mid-1990s. After being ‘fired’ he continued to write on arts and culture for several publications including The Bulletin. For some years, Waites was employed by National Library’s Oral History Program where he was conducting an extensive series of interviews with Australia’s leading theatre professionals. (Sourced from author's website)