Dame Judi Dench returns to London in the spring of 2009 to star in the Donmar West End production of Madame De Sade at the Wyndham’s. Dench is to play Madame de Montreuil, Madame de Sade’s mother, in the Michael Grandage-directed piece, the third show in the Donmar Warehouse’s season at the Wyndham’s. No further casting has been revealed. Madame De Sade opens on 18 March (previews from 13 March) and runs until 23 May.
Madame de Sade was written by Japanese playwright, novelist, poet and essayist Yukio Mishima in 1965. It considers the life of the notorious Marquis de Sade from the perspective of six of the women in his life, three real – his wife Renee, her sister and their mother – and three imagined. Mishima’s catalogue of work includes 18 plays, 40 novels and 20 books of essays.
Dench last appeared in the West End in the Peter Hall-directed production of Hay Fever at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2006, a venue where she had previously starred opposite Maggie Smith in 2002’s The Breath Of Life. The actress is, along with designer William Dudley, the theatre practitioner most honoured by the Laurence Olivier Awards, with seven statuettes adorning her trophy cabinet. These include two Best Actress awards for Absolute Hell (1996) and Antony And Cleopatra (1987), and one award for Best Actress in a Musical for A Little Night Music (also 1996).
Dench joins other high profile theatre stars Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi and Jude Law in the Donmar West End season, which opens in September 2008 with Branagh starring in Ivanov. This production is followed by Jacobi in Twelfth Night from December and Dench’s Madame De Sade in March 2009. The season is completed in May 2009 by Law’s Hamlet, directed by Branagh, the only production of the season not to be directed by Grandage.