Grandage announced this past October that he would leave the Donmar, to pursue more freelance directing opportunities, in late 2011 after nine years in charge. Since taking over from Sam Mendes in 2002, Grandage has further extended the theatre’s national and international reputation far beyond its 250-seat Covent Garden home base.
His successor has not yet been announced, but amongst the names frequently mentioned in the mix are Bush artistic director Josie Rourke and two of Grandage’s associate directors at the Donmar, Jamie Lloyd and Rob Ashford, who helm the first two productions in the season announced today.
The schedule opens with Ashford’s Anna Christie, running from 9 August to 8 October 2011 (previews from 4 August). In O’Neill’s 1921 Broadway play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, former prostitute Anna, who was exiled from her home as a child, is reunited with the father who sent her away 15 years earlier and sets sail in search of a new beginning.
Ruth Wilson takes the title role alongside Jude Law as Anna’s lover Mat Burke. Wilson won an Olivier and was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Ashford’s 2009 Donmar revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. She’s nominated again in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards for her Almeida performance in Through a Glass Darkly.
Jude Law won the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actor for Michael Grandage’s Donmar West End production of Hamlet, which transferred to Broadway after its sell-out season at Wyndham’s Theatre. Anna Christie will mark his first return to the stage since. The production is designed by Paul Wills, with music and sound by Adam Cork.
Osborne’s 1968 play Inadmissible Evidence, running from 18 October to 26 November 2011 (previews from 13 October), is directed by Jamie Lloyd and features fellow Donmar associate Douglas Hodge as Bill Maitland, a middle-aged lawyer who puts himself on trial to fight for his sanity. Hodge’s previous Donmar work includes, as an actor, Guys and Dolls in the West End and The Lover/The Collection; and as a director, Dimetos and Absurdia.
The season concludes with Richard II, running from 6 December 2011 to 4 February 2012 (previews from 1 December) with Grandage himself directing Eddie Redmayne in the title role. Grandage also directed Redmayne in the world premiere of John Logan’s Red, which transferred to Broadway last year after its run at the Donmar. Redmayne won a Tony Award and has also been nominated in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards for Red. His other stage credits include Hecuba, Now or Later and The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?.
In the Donmar schedule, these three final offerings follow Grandage’s current production of King Lear, starring Derek Jacobi – which is now confirmed to transfer to New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music from 28 April to 5 June; the UK premiere of Broadway musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by Jamie Lloyd, Bijan Sheibani’s revival of Harold Pinter’s Moonlight, with David Bradley, Deborah Findlay and Daniel Mays; and Mike Poulton’s new version of Schiller’s Luise Miller directs Felicity Jones and directed by Grandage.
Grandage’s inaugural production as Donmar artistic director, a revival of Noel Coward’s The Vortex starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, opened in November 2002 and his final production closes in February 2012. Commenting today on his near-decade’s tenure, Grandage said: “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.”
Also announced today, the Donmar will be purchasing a Covent Garden-based office, education and rehearsal space for the company, which follows the successful purchase of the lease of the theatre itself (taking ownership in 2016). Prior to Grandage, the company owned no property. For more detail about Grandage’s Donmar legacy, click here.