The Donmar Warehouse in London has named Josie Rourke as the new artistic director of the successful Covent Garden venue. She will take over from Michael Grandage at the beginning of 2012.

Josie Rourke

Josie Rourke

It has been rumoured for some time that Rourke, 34, who is currently artistic director of the Bush Theatre, would take over at the Donmar. Her stewardship of the Bush since 2007 has seen a number of high profile productions, successful funding drives and the relocation of the venue to a new home, which will open in September this year. She has also worked in Sheffield, at the Royal Court, the Old Vic and London’s National Theatre.

Rourke is also directing the forthcoming high-profile production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham’s Theatre (from 16 May) starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Grandage has proved a hugely successful artistic director at the Donmar over the past 10 years through a succession of hit shows including his Olivier and Tony Award winning production of Red starring Alfred Molina . He in turn inherited the venue from Sam Mendes, who cemented the Donmar’s reputation as a world-class theatre.

Rourke said that she was “thrilled and honoured” to be taking up the post and that, “ten years ago, I started my career as the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar. Nothing could make me more proud than to return to the place where I began. Both Michael Grandage and Sam Mendes have always been great friends and invaluable mentors and when I take over as the Donmar’s Artistic Director I will inherit their legacy of twenty years of wonderful productions, extraordinary performances and great nights out at the theatre.”

Michael Grandage commented that the Donmar’s board of directors had made “an inspired appointment” and that “the Donmar will now benefit from that energy and leadership.”

Grandage’s last season at the Donmar will include Jude Law and Ruth Wilson starring in Eugene O’Neill’s play Anna Christie, Douglas Hodge in John Osborne’s Inadmissible Evidence and Eddie Redmayne in Richard II.

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