Donmar Warehouse: Artistic Director Michael Grandage Announces His Farewell Season At Donmar Warehouse: Ruth Wilson, Jude Law, Douglas Hodge And Eddie Redmayne Return To The Donmar For Grandage’s Final Productions




With his critically acclaimed production of King Lear soon to embark on a national tour, Michael Grandage today announces his farewell season as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, stepping down from the role in December 2011.

Following the run of the musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; David Bradley, Deborah Findlay and Daniel Mays lead the company of Pinter’s Moonlight before Michael Grandage directs Felicity Jones in Schiller’s Luise Miller in a new version by Mike Poulton. His final season, announced today, sees the return of many Donmar alumni in new productions of Anna Christie by Eugene O’Neill, Inadmissible Evidence by John Osborne and Richard II by William Shakespeare. He is joined in his final season by his two outgoing Associate Directors Jamie Lloyd and Rob Ashford.

On becoming Artistic Director in 2002, Grandage took over a company that owned neither theatre nor rehearsal space. Under his tenure the company have purchased the lease of the theatre (taking ownership in 2016), and today he also announces their intention to purchase an office, education and rehearsal space for the company before he departs. This legacy will help secure the long term future of the Donmar in uncertain financial times.

Michael Grandage said today “After nearly ten years running the Donmar, it is a very exciting and emotional moment to announce my farewell season. From next month to February 2012 we will be presenting six new productions and I am delighted this final year celebrates so much of the repertoire we have presented over the last decade. It is particularly wonderful to be joined by so many friends and colleagues in this last season of work – it is these collaborations and creative partnerships both on stage and with the staff at the Donmar, that have made the achievements of the past ten years possible, and I hope the range and diversity of our programme continues to reach out to many more people in the year ahead”.

Grandage took over as Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse in November 2002 and his final production of Richard II will close in February 2012. During a decade of leading the organisation he has created an international theatre with a commitment to connecting with as many people as possible through touring, education and affordable ticket prices, as well as continuing to produce work of the highest quality at the company’s home base in Covent Garden.

Between 2002 and 2012 Grandage will have presented seventy productions. Under his leadership, the company have garnered over eighty major awards including Oliviers, Tonys, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards. For Grandage personally this includes, Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Director of a Play for Red, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director for Ivanov, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director for The Chalk Garden, Evening Standard Award for Best Director for Othello, Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director for The Wild Duck, Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production for Guys and Dolls, Evening Standard Award for Best Director and Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production for Grand Hotel, and Olivier Award for Best Director for Caligula.

Grandage’s inaugural production in 2002 was The Vortex with Chiwetel Ejiofor, a relationship he was to renew five years later with his multi-award-winning production of Othello. He has put the European repertoire at the heart of his programming, engaging with leading writers to offer new adaptations of foreign classics including David Greig (Caligula and Creditors), Tom Stoppard (Pirandello’s Henry IV and Ivanov) and David Eldridge (The Wild Duck and John Gabriel Borkman). The Donmar’s award-winning production of Schiller’s Mary Stuart, in a new version by Peter Oswald, transferred to the West End and Broadway.

He has also continued to present musicals re-imagined in the intimate Donmar surroundings, including Grand Hotel, Parade, and most recently Passion; as well as work from the contemporary American repertoire such as A Streetcar Named Desire, and twentieth century British plays including The Chalk Garden, Old Times, Betrayal and a festival of work devoted to T.S. Eliot, with a revival of The Family Reunion as its centrepiece. New writing has provided the company with two of its biggest successes in recent years – Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon which enjoyed a West End transfer and a run on Broadway, and John Logan’s Red which saw the company return to Broadway and win six Tonys at the 2010 awards.

During his tenure, Grandage put accessibility at the forefront of the company’s ethos – he introduced a national touring programme and an extensive education programme which has grown annually over the last nine years. In 2009 he led the company into the West End for a year long season of work at the Wyndham’s Theatre – Donmar West End – at Donmar prices, a top price of £32.50 and with over 130 tickets for each performance at just £10. The season – Ivanov with Kenneth Branagh, Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi, Madame de Sade with Judi Dench and Hamlet with Jude Law – played to 98% capacity.

In addition to a national touring programme, Grandage has also overseen the expansion of the company internationally – in 2009 the Donmar’s work played across 4 continents. Recent US work includes Red, Creditors, Hamlet, Frost/Nixon and Mary Stuart; in Australia, the Donmar’s award-winning Guys and Dolls; in Argentina, Piaf and in Europe, Piaf (Spain) and Hamlet (Denmark).

Grandage is a keen supporter of new talent, both on stage and behind the scenes. The company’s most recent venture, Donmar Trafalgar, is a three year initiative to promote the work of recent graduates of the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director scheme. The second season of work will begin at the end of this year with work directed by Hamish Pirie, Abbey Wright and Paul Hart.

From 2000 to 2005 he served as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres where he produced over 40 plays with predominantly young directors and designers. His own work there included Richard III with Kenneth Branagh, Edward II with Joseph Fiennes, The Tempest with Derek Jacobi and an award- winning production of Don Carlos which transferred to the West End.

by Eugene O’Neill

Cast includes: Jude Law, Ruth Wilson
Director: Rob Ashford; Designer: Paul Wills
Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork

4 August – 8 October
Press night: 9 August

‘We’re all poor nuts, and things happen, and we just get mixed in wrong’

Exiled from her home by the Old Devil Sea to the inland plains, Anna Christie’s life changed forever at just five years of age. Fifteen years later, she is reunited with the father who sent her away and sets sail in search of a new beginning.

Eugene O’Neill’s epic Pulitzer Award-winning play about love and forgiveness charts one woman’s longing to forget the dark secrets of her past and hope for salvation.

Jude Law returns to the Donmar to plat Mat Burke. He previously played the title role in Michael Grandage’s production of Hamlet for the Donmar West End season for which he won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance. Law’s other theatre work includes Dr Faustus and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Young Vic), Les Parents Terribles (National Theatre and Broadway) and Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse). His film work includes Hugo Cabret, Contagion, Repo Men, Sherlock Holmes, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, The Repossession Mambo, Sleuth, My Blueberry Nights, The Holiday, Closer, Alfie, The Aviator, Cold Mountain, Road to Perdition, The Talented Mr Ripley and Wilde.

Ruth Wilson returns to the Donmar to play Anna Christie reuniting her with director Rob Ashford. He directed her as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire for which she won the Olivier for Best Supporting Actress. Her other theatre work includes Through a Glass Darkly (Almeida Theatre), Philistines (National Theatre) and Good (Sound Theatre). Her television credits include Luther, The Prisoner, Freezing, Mad, A Real Summer, Capturing Mary, Jane Eyre and Suburban Shootout; and for film, Get Off My Land.

Eugene O’Neill (1888 – 1936) was one of the greatest American playwrights. His many works for the stage include Beyond the Horizon, The Emperor Jones, Desire Under the Elms, Strange Interlude, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936.

Rob Ashford returns to the Donmar to direct. His previous work for the company includes the critically acclaimed productions of A Streetcar Named Desire (South Bank Theatre Award) and Parade – which marked his directorial debut. As a director his work includes Promises, Promises (Broadway Theater) and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (opening March 2011 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre). He was the choreographer on Michael Grandage’s Guys and Dolls for the Donmar at the Piccadilly Theatre. His other credits include Candide (ENO, La Scala and La Chatelet Theatre), Michael Grandage’s production of Evita (Adelphi Theatre); Thoroughly Modern Millie (both UK and US – Tony Award for Best Choreography) and the films Love Walked In and Beyond the Sea. Ashford serves on the Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

by John Osborne

Cast includes: Douglas Hodge

Director: Jamie Lloyd; Designer: Soutra Gilmour; Lighting Designer: James Farncombe
Composer and Sound Designers: Ben and Max Ringham

13 October – 26 November
Press night: 18 October

‘I can’t escape it. I can’t forget it. And I begin again.’

Bill Maitland, a middle aged lawyer, struggles to avoid the harsh truths of his life and keep a hold on reality. As those closest to him begin to draw away, he puts himself on trial to fight for his sanity.

John Osborne’s poignant, witty and intensely compelling portrait of loss, betrayal and defeat releases the author’s characteristic display of soaring rhetorical venom to powerful effect.

Douglas Hodge returns to the company to play Bill Maitland. His previous work for the Donmar includes Michael Grandage’s production of Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre) and The Collection/The Lover; and as an Associate Director for the Donmar, he directed Dimetos, Murder in the Cathedral (part of the Donmar’s TS Eliot Festival) and Absurdia. His other theatre work includes his celebrated performance as Albin in Les Cages Aux Folles for which he won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical (Menier, Playhouse Theatre and Longacre Theatre on Broadway). His other theatre work includes A Matter of Life and Death, Betrayal and Burned by the Sun (National Theatre), The Caretaker (Comedy Theatre) and Dumb Show (Royal Court). For television, his credits include Outnumbered, Skins, Whistleblowers, Lift, Mansfield Park, Spooks, The Way We Live Now and The Russian Bride; and for film, Robin Hood, Scenes of a Sexual Nature and Vanity Fair.

John Osborne (1929 – 1994) was a playwright, screenwriter and actor. His principal works for the stage include Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer, Epitaph for George Dillon, Luther, A Patriot for Me and The Hotel in Amsterdam (revived by the Donmar under Michael Grandage in 2003).

Jamie Lloyd directs. As Associate Director of the Donmar, Lloyd’s work for the company includes The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – currently in rehearsals, Passion – centrepiece of the company’s Sondheim at 80 Season and winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, Polar Bears, Piaf (Donmar Warehouse, Vaudeville Theatre, Buenos Aires – ADEET Award for Best Production and Clarin Award for Best Musical Production – and Spain) and readings as part of the TS Eliot Festival and the Tennessee Williams’ season. His other credits include Salome (Headlong), The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre) Three Days of Rain (Apollo Theatre), Eric’s (Liverpool Playhouse), The Pride (Royal Court – Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement), The Lover and The Collection (Comedy Theatre) and The Caretaker (Sheffield Crucible and Tricycle).

by William Shakespeare

Cast includes: Eddie Redmayne

Director: Michael Grandage; Designer: Richard Kent; Lighting Designer: David Plater

1 December 2011 – 4 February 2012
Press night: 6 December

‘O call back yesterday, bid time return’

King Richard banishes his noblemen and seizes their land to fuel his own wars. As anger mounts, a battle for the soul of England begins and one man’s divine right to rule is called into question.

Shakespeare’s poetic masterpiece is an epic tale of destruction, ruin and decay that casts light on the decline of a kingdom and the solitude of power.

Richard II reunites Grandage and Redmayne who recently worked together on the multi-award-winning production of John Logan’s Red. Following performances at the Donmar, the production transferred to Broadway winning 6 Tony Awards, including Best Director for Grandage and Best Performance by a Featured Actor for Redmayne.

Eddie Redmayne returns to the Donmar to play Richard II. He previously appeared in Red (Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Supporting Actor) and Hecuba. His other theatre work includes Now or Later (Royal Court) and The Goat (Almeida Theatre and Apollo Theatre). His television credits include Miraculous Year, The Pillars of the Earth, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Elizabeth I and In Search of Shakespeare; and for film, My Week with Marilyn, Black Death, Glorious 1939, Powder Blue, Yellow Handkerchief, The Other Boleyn Girl, Savage Grace, Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Good Shepherd.

Donmar Artistic Director Michael Grandage directs his final production for the company. Previous work for the Donmar includes King Lear, Red (also Broadway – Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Director of a Play), The Chalk Garden (Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director), Othello (Evening Standard Award for Best Director), John Gabriel Borkman, Don Juan in Soho, Frost/Nixon (also West End and Broadway), The Cut, The Wild Duck (Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Donmar in the West End – Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Evening Standard Award for Best Director, Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Henry IV, After Miss Julie, Caligula (Olivier Award for Best Director) and The Vortex. As part of the Donmar in the West End season Grandage directed Ivanov – Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director, Twelfth Night, Madame de Sade and Hamlet (also Kronborg Castle and Broadway). Other West End work includes Evita. He was the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres 1999 – 2005, where his many productions included Don Carlos (Evening Standard Award for Best Director).


by William Shakespeare

At the Brooklyn Academy of Music
28 April – 5 June

Cast includes: Harry Atwell, Tom Beard, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Stefano Braschi, Ron Cook, Michael Hadley, Derek Hutchinson, Derek Jacobi, Paul Jesson, Gwilym Lee, Gina McKee, Justine Mitchell, Alec Newman, Amit Shah, Gideon Turner, Ashley Zhangazha

Director: Michael Grandage; Designer: Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin; Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork

The Donmar Warehouse returns to BAM following last year’s critically acclaimed production of Strindberg’s Creditors directed by Alan Rickman. The company made their BAM debut in 2003 with Sam Mendes’ productions of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya.

Prior to performances at BAM, King Lear will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide on 3 February as part of NT Live, and embark on an 8 week national tour to Venue Cymru, Llandudno (21 – 26 February), Belfast Opera House (28 February – 5 March), Glasgow Theatre Royal (7 – 12 March), Milton Keynes Theatre (14 – 19 March), The Lowry, Salford (21 – 26 March), Richmond Theatre (28 March – 2 April), Bath Theatre Royal (4 – 9 April) and Hall for Cornwall, Truro (11 – 16 April).

“Who is it that can tell me who I am?”

An ageing monarch. A kingdom divided. A child’s love rejected. As Lear’s world descends into chaos, all that he once believed is brought into question.

One of the greatest works in western literature, King Lear explores the very nature of human existence: love and duty, power and loss, good and evil.

Derek Jacobi and Michael Grandage renew their collaboration, having previously worked together on The Tempest, Don Carlos and Twelfth Night. Grandage’s creative team – Christopher Oram, Neil Austin and Adam Cork are the Tony Award-winning team behind the company’s recent Broadway smash hit Red.


Under Michael Grandage’s tenure, the Donmar Warehouse has secured two major capital assets in purchasing both a property in Covent Garden for rehearsal, education and office space on a 112 year lease, and the theatre site on Earlham Street on a 125 year lease. This marks a significant step for the charity and for the independent future of the Donmar as a producing theatre.

The Donmar, which, until now, hasn’t owned its own offices, rehearsal rooms or theatre site, has set aside reserves over the last few years to make these capital purchases a priority. The revenue has been generated from many of Grandage’s productions staged outside the Donmar from Guys and Dolls to last year’s Red, and has enabled the company to build a designated capital fund under his tenure. This reserve will now form the springboard for a fundraising campaign to complete these plans.

The Donmar Warehouse currently has to rent a variety of different spaces across London for its rehearsal, auditions, office staff and education work. The Donmar Board recently committed to the purchase of a building in Covent Garden to become its creative home. This will enable the company to continue to achieve all its artistic ambitions to the highest standards and also overcome many practical and financial constraints imposed by the present situation.

The purchase of the theatre site in Earlham Street went ahead in 2008 and the Donmar charity will continue to work closely with its current landlord, ATG, for the remaining five years of ATG’s lease on the theatre before taking sole possession.


by Enid Bagnold

Cast: Steph Bramwell, Suzanne Burden, Jamie Glover, Felicity Jones, Clifford Rose, Una Stubbs, Margaret Tyzack, Penelope Wilton

Director: Michael Grandage

Michael Grandage’s production of The Chalk Garden is being recorded for BBC Radio 3 with the company reuniting for this special event – it will be broadcast on Sunday 13 March at 8pm. Previously BBC Radio 3 broadcast Michael Grandage’s production of Othello with Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The Chalk Garden opened at the Donmar in 2008 to great critical acclaim winning many awards, including the Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Actress for Margaret Tyzack, the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress for Penelope Wilton, and the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director for Michael Grandage.

The child’s a flower. She grows in liberty.

Raised in a manor house beside the sea, where the flowers struggle to grow, sixteen-year-old Laurel runs wild. As her eccentric grandmother tends to the garden, Laurel’s need for love forces her into a world of fantasy. But things begin to change with the sudden appointment of a governess who brings a mysterious new presence to an already dysfunctional household.

The Chalk Garden was first staged in London at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1956 – John Gielgud directed Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft. The garden of the play was inspired by Bagnold’s own garden at North End House in Rottingdean.


To complement the Donmar’s productions the company continues to undertake a programme of education and outreach work led by their team of Education practitioners, including Education specialists and former Resident Assistant Directors.

Around the forthcoming season, the Donmar will deliver its playwriting project Write Up around the production of Moonlight. The project aims to inspire participants to write a short play, which is developed with the help of professional writing practitioners and performed on the Donmar stage by a cast of professional actors. For this project, participants will be encouraged to use the Donmar’s production of Pinter’s Moonlight as their inspiration and stimulus.

Also, in keeping with its commitment to access, the Donmar is providing a programme of work to compliment King Lear on its nationwide tour. The project, Reuniting the Kingdom will see the Donmar recreate their Schools Matinee programme with schools in each of the eight venues. Donmar Education practitioners will deliver workshops inspired by the rehearsal process, focusing on text, voice, character and the themes of the Donmar’s production. Students who would not necessarily be able to afford to attend the production will be offered a discounted ticket price and will receive a complimentary resource and edited version of the text.

As part of the core Education programme there is a Schools Matinee for each production. This programme allows over 200 young people to attend a production, participate in a post-show discussion with the cast which is led by the Resident Assistant Director, and also undertake a preparatory workshop in their school led by one of the Education Associates. To support the teachers through this programme a Teachers Preview Performance and a Resource Pack are provided.

Release issued by: Donmar Warehouse press office


Donmar Warehouse website

📷 Main photo: Artistic Director Michael Grandage Announces His Farewell Season At Donmar Warehouse: Ruth Wilson, Jude Law, Douglas Hodge And Eddie Redmayne Return To The Donmar For Grandage's Final Productions

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