The actors are deep in rehearsals and the front of house signage has gone up at the venue. Nearly a year after it was first announced (See News, 10 Sep 2007), the highly-anticipated Donmar West End season is nearly upon us and the excitement is running high.

The Donmar Warehouse’s year-long residency, scheduled from 12 September 2008 to 22 August 2009 at the West End’s 750-seat Wyndham’s Theatre, running concurrently with ongoing regular programming at its 250-seat Covent Garden home base, comprises four high-profile productions: Ivanov, starring Kenneth Branagh; Twelfth Night, with Derek Jacobi as Malvolio; the UK premiere of Yukio Mishima’s little-known Japanese play Madame de Sade, led by Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike and Hamlet, with Jude Law in the title role. The first three are all directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage with the last helmed by Branagh, who is the season’s artistic associate.

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In the opening production of Chekhov’s first play, 1887’s Ivanov, in a new version by Tom Stoppard, Branagh is joined by Andrea Riseborough as Sasha and Gina McKee as Anna Petrovna (See News, 20 Jun 2008). The all-star ensemble also features: Kevin R McNally, Malcolm Sinclair, Tom Hiddleston, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Lucy Briers and Lorcan Cranitch.

Once a man of limitless promise, Ivanov (Branagh) is plunged into debt. His marriage is in crisis, and his evenings are spent negotiating loans, avoiding love affairs and fighting to resist the small town jealousies and intrigues which threaten to engulf his life.



Left-right: Ivanov’s Andrea Riseborough (Sasha), Kenneth Branagh (Ivanov)
and Gina McKee (Anna Petrovna). Photo by Johan Persson.

The production is designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Paule Constable and music and sound by Adam Cork. Ivanov runs at Wyndham’s from 17 September (previews from 12 September) to 29 November 2008.

- by Terri Paddock

** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to IVANOV on 7 October 2008 - including a FREE programme & EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A – all for £35! – we’ve now secured EXTRA tickets for this previously sold-out event! - click here to book now! **