Michael Grandage to leave Donmar Warehouse

Michael Grandage has announced that he is to step down as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in late 2011, after nine years running the West End venue.

Grandage has led the Covent Garden theatre since November 2002, when he succeeded Sam Mendes.

During his tenure, the company has extended its work both within the UK and internationally. In 2009, the Donmar presented work across four continents, as well as a West End season at the Wyndham’s Theatre, in addition to its regular programme at the Donmar Warehouse.

Under Grandage, the Donmar has won more than 80 major awards including Oliviers, Tonys, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards. Grandage has himself won 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 commented: “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 15 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.”

Grandage’s next production for the Donmar is King Lear followed by a new production of Schiller’s Luisa Miller in 2011. Also next year, he makes his debut at the New York Met with a new production of Don Giovanni. In 2012, he is set to direct a production of Evita on Broadway as well as a return to Glyndeborne following his production of Billy Budd there earlier this year.

Chair of the Donmar’s board of directors, Lord Smith of Finsbury said: “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.”

For more see next week’s print edition of The Stage.

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