Playwright-director Peter Gill (pictured) will return to the Donmar Warehouse next spring to direct a new production of his own 1976 play Small Change. It and a Penelope Wilton-led revival of Enid Bagnold’s 1956 play The Chalk Garden, both announced by artistic director Michael Grandage today, complete the slate of six new productions scheduled for 2008 at the theatre’s Covent Garden home base.

As previously announced (See News, 10 Sep 2007), the new year schedule commences with Sean Holmes’ production of Arthur Miller’s Broadway debut play, 1944’s The Man Who Had All the Luck, running from 5 March (previews from 28 February) to 5 April 2008 and then touring to The Lowry in Salford and Hull for Cornwall in Truro. Andrew Buchan (from TV’s Party Animals) plays the title character David Beeves, a car mechanic blessed with almost supernatural good fortune. Closed on Broadway after only four performances, the play remained one of Miller’s least-known works for decades, until it was revived on Broadway, with much more success, in 2002. Also now confirmed for the cast are Felix Scott and Michelle Terry.

It’s followed, from 15 April (previews from 10 April) to 31 May 2008, by Small Change. The play centres on the friendship between two boys and the relationship with their mothers on the east side of Cardiff in the 1950s. First performed at the Royal Court in 1976, this is the play’s first major London revival in over 25 years. Gill’s other plays include Cardiff East, Kick for Touch, Certain Young Men and The York Realist. His directing credits include Days of Wine and Roses at the Donmar in 2005, Scenes from the Big Picture, Gaslight, The Voysey Inheritance and, soon transferring to the West End with Penelope Keith, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Michael Grandage will direct Penelope Wilton in The Chalk Garden from 11 June (previews from 5 June) to 2 August 2008. Raised in a manor house by the sea, where the flowers struggle to grow, 16-year-old Laurel runs wild. As her eccentric grandmother tends to the garden, Laurel’s need for love forces her into a fantasy world. Things begin to change with the appointment of a mysterious new governess.

John Gielgud directed Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft in the play’s 1956 premiere at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Author Enid Bagnold remains best known for her 1935 novel National Velvet. The garden in The Chalk Garden was inspired by Bagnold’s own garden at North End House in Rottingdean.

As previously reported (See News, 10 Sep 2007), the second half of the Donmar’s 2008 season – with dates and order still to be confirmed - will then continue with: Strindberg’s rarely seen 1890 comic tale of obsession Creditors, in a new translation by David Grieg; Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s 17th-century masterpiece Life Is a Dream; and TS Eliot’s rarely seen 1939 play The Family Reunion.

Currently at the Donmar, Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry’s musical Parade continues until 24 November 2007 and is followed by Grandage’s already sold-out production of Othello - starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ewan McGregor and Kelly Reilly and now in rehearsals – from 4 December 2007 (previews from 30 November) to 23 February 2008.


The Covent Garden schedule is in addition to the theatre’s much-anticipated, year-long West End residency, running from September 2008 to August 2009 at Wyndham’s Theatre. The schedule there comprises: Ivanov, starring Kenneth Branagh and directed by Michael Grandage; Twelfth Night, directed by Grandage with Derek Jacobi as Malvolio; Yukio Mishima’s 1965 Japanese play Madame de Sade, directed by Grandage; and Hamlet, starring Jude Law and directed by Branagh (See News, 10 Sep 2007).

- by Terri Paddock