This week sees the opening of two new Donmar Warehouse productions on consecutive nights: on Tuesday (31 May), the Covent Garden theatre hosts the press night for the European premiere of Neil LaBute’s This Is How It Goes, first seen at New York’s Public Theatre earlier this year, which follows hard on the West End premiere last week of LaBute’s Some Girls; and on Wednesday (1 June), the Donmar takes to the West End by premiering its first show to originate directly there since Michael Grandage took over the artistic directorship of the theatre, with Grandage staging a new production of the classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls.

Now plans have been announced for attractions at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre for the next year, to April 2006. In addition to the already announced production of Schiller’s Mary Stuart directed by Phyllida Lloyd with Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter at the Donmar Warehouse from 14 July to 3 September (with a press night on 30 July; see News, 4 February, 2005), the Donmar’s autumn season also promises new productions of plays by Christopher Hampton, Sam Shepard, Ibsen (in a new version by David Eldridge) and Mark Ravenhill. Amongst the actors lining up to appear in them are Simon Russell Beale and Ian McKellen, and the directors include actress-turned-director Kathy Burke and Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage.

Further casting has also been announced for Mary Stuart, being presented in the world premiere of a new version by Peter Oswald, that in addition to McTeer and Walter will also include regular National and RSC actor David Burke, Barbara Jefford (most recently seen on stage in the West End in Simon Gray’s The Old Masters, directed by Harold Pinter), RSC actor James Fleet and Rory Kinnear (most recently seen in the Almeida’s production of Festen at the Lyric). The production is designed by Anthony Ward who previously worked at the Donmar on Sam Mendes’ departing double-bill of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya, as well as Mendes’ opening production there of Assassins and To the Green Fields Beyond in between.

Russell Beale, who was also the star of the Mendes double-bill of Twelfth Night and Uncle Vanya, returns to the Donmar for the first time since then to play the title role in The Philanthropist (running from 8 September to 15 October, with a press night on 13 September). He plays a University don who, after the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated and England’s most treasured writers are being murdered one by one, tries hard to please his academic friends as he anguishes over sex, marriage, anagrams and the meaning of life.

Next, Kathy Burke directs the European premiere of Sam Shepard’s new play The God Of Hell, premiered at New York’s Actor’s Studio last year and described the author as “a take-off on Republican fascism”. It will run from 20 October to 3 December (with a press night on 26 October). Burke is currently represented in London by her Oxford Stage Company production of Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow, being revived at the Tricycle Theatre.

Then, Michael Grandage directs two consecutive plays at the theatre. A revival of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, in a version by David Eldridge whose adaptation of Festen was an award-winning West End hit and whose most recent play Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness is currently playing at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, runs from 8 December to 18 February (with a press night on 13 December). Then Grandage directs a cast that includes Ian McKellen (pictured) in his Donmar debut in the world premiere of Mark Ravenhill’s The Cut (running from 23 February to 1 April, with a press night on 28 February). The play revolves around an ordinary man with a shocking secret. At home, he is a loving husband and father. But at work, he administers the Cut. In a society sickened by his profession, he struggles with his conscience and longs to tell the truth.

- Mark Shenton