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Michael Grandage to leave Donmar Warehouse

Published 30 September 2010

Michael Grandage, the multi-award-winning Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, will step down from his post in late 2011 after nine years in the job.

Grandage said today: “With the Donmar’s reputation in a particularly exciting place both at home and abroad, I feel now is the right moment to start a hand-over period to a new Artistic Director. It will enable someone to build on the success we have achieved over the last nine years and to look to the future with real confidence. I have spent nearly fifteen years running organisations in the subsidised sector in Sheffield and London and the experience has been completely thrilling from start to finish. I am now keen to have a career that moves away from being in charge of a building in order to develop my work as a director in other ways. There are an enormous amount of people to thank for making the last few years the most exciting of my professional life and I look forward to engaging with each and every one of them in the months ahead.”

Under Grandage’s tenure, the Donmar Warehouse has become one of the leading theatres in London, consistently producing work that attracts big name performers and packed houses, with a total of 80 awards won by the company during his leadership.

Since his inaugural production, The Vortex, in 2002, Grandage has programmed the Donmar with a mixture of European classics, contemporary American repertoire, new writing and pared-down versions of new and classic musicals. Grandage himself has directed acclaimed productions including Mary Stuart, Caligula, Grand Hotel, The Wild Duck, The Chalk Garden, Othello, Betrayal, Frost/Nixon and Red, while the venue has also welcomed the talents of numerous visiting and resident directors.

The Donmar’s reach has stretched far beyond its Covent Garden base with a UK touring programme and frequent transfers to Broadway, where Grandage’s production of John Logan’s Red won six Tony Awards earlier this year, including Best Director. Donmar productions have also been staged in Australia, Argentina, Spain and Denmark.

The venue ventured into the West End in 2008 with the Donmar West End season at the Wyndham’s theatre. Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Jude Law and Kenneth Branagh headlined this high profile season which retained the low ticket prices of the Donmar itself in order to open up the season to a wider audience.

Grandage has also been a staunch supporter of new talent. Later this month another West End season, Donmar Trafalgar, will showcase the directorial talents of graduates of the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director scheme.

The search will now be on to find his replacement. The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Donmar, commented: “Under Michael’s leadership during the past decade, the Donmar has gone from strength to strength – superb artistic excellence, exciting programming, triumphs on Broadway, global reach, the Wyndham’s and Trafalgar Studios seasons, and a transformed educational offering. For all of us, it has been a privilege to work with Michael through such a momentous period. These are big shoes to fill, but we’re excited by the challenge of finding the right person to take us forward to further success.”

Currently playing at the Donmar Warehouse is Jamie Lloyd’s production of Passion. Grandage’s next production at the venue is King Lear, with Jacobi in the title role, while next year he will direct Schiller’s Luise Miller.

CB

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