This article needs additional citations for verification . (January 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Public transit||Covent Garden|
|Owner||Leased to trust|
(Ambassador Theatre Group)
|Type||Subsidised (Nonprofit organization)|
|Capacity||251 plus 20 standing places|
The Donmar Warehouse is a 251-seat, not-for-profit theatre in Covent Garden, London, England. It first opened on 18 July 1977.
Sam Mendes, Michael Grandage and Josie Rourke have all served as artistic director, a post held since 2019 by Michael Longhurst. The theatre has a diverse artistic policy that includes new writing, contemporary reappraisals of European classics, British and American drama and small-scale musical theatre.
As well as presenting at least six productions a year at its home in Covent Garden, every year the Donmar tours one in-house production in the UK.
Theatrical producer Donald Albery formed Donmar Productions around 1953,with the name derived from the first three letters of his name and the first three letters of his wife's middle name, Margaret. In 1961, he bought the warehouse, a building that in the 1870s had been a vat room and hops warehouse for the local brewery in Covent Garden, and in the 1920s had been used as a film studio and then the Covent Garden Market banana-ripening depot. His son Ian Albery, a producer and theatre design consultant, converted the warehouse into a private rehearsal studio.
In 1977, the Royal Shakespeare Company acquired it as a theatre and renamed it the Warehouse, converting and equipping at "immense speed".The first show, which opened on 18 July 1977, was Schweik in the Second World War , directed by Howard Davies, which transferred from the Other Place in Stratford. The electricity for the theatre was turned on just 30 minutes before curtain up, and the concrete steps up to the theatre were still wet.
The Warehouse was an RSC workshop as much as a showcase and the seasons were remarkably innovative, including Trevor Nunn's acclaimed Stratford 1976 Macbeth , starring Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, which opened at the Covent Garden venue in September 1977 before transferring to the Young Vic. The RSC went on to stage numerous acclaimed productions, both original and transfers from The Other Place, Stratford. In 1980 nearly all the RSC company were involved in Nicholas Nickleby so a new two hander was found from the pile of submitted scripts. Educating Rita , with Julie Walters and Mark Kingston directed by Mike Ockrent, went on to be one of the RSC's biggest successes.
From 1983 to 1989 it came under the artistic directorship of Nica Burns.
In 1990, Roger Wingate was responsible for the acquisition of the Donmar Warehouse. He completely rebuilt and re-equipped it in the form it is known today. Prior to its reopening in 1992, Roger Wingate appointed Sam Mendes as the theatre's first Artistic Director. As a board member and theatrical producer, Roger Wingate remains closely involved with the Donmar to the present day.
The Donmar became an independent producing house in 1992 with Sam Mendes as artistic director. His opening production was Stephen Sondheim's Assassins . He followed this with a series of classic revivals.
Among Mendes' productions were John Kander and Fred Ebb's Cabaret , Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie , Stephen Sondheim's Company , Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus and his farewell duo of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night , which transferred to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Under Mendes, Matthew Warchus's production of Sam Shepard's True West , Katie Mitchell's of Beckett's Endgame , David Leveaux's of Sophocles's Elektra and Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing were all productions at Donmar. Mendes' successor Michael Grandage directed some of the key productions of the later part of Mendes' tenure, including Peter Nichols's Passion Play and Privates on Parade and Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along .
In 2002 Michael Grandage succeeded Sam Mendes as Artistic Director. Grandage appointed Douglas Hodge and Jamie Lloyd as Associate Directors; in 2007 Rob Ashford succeeded Hodge.
For its revivals of foreign plays, the company regularly commissioned new translations or versions, including Ibsen's The Wild Duck (David Eldridge), Racine's Phaedra (Frank McGuinness), Dario Fo's Accidental Death of An Anarchist (Simon Nye) and Strindberg's Creditors (David Greig).
Its musical productions included Grand Hotel and the Stephen Sondheim works, Pacific Overtures , Merrily We Roll Along , Company , Into the Woods and the 1992 production of Assassins that opened Sam Mendes' tenure as Artistic Director.
Under the umbrella of Warehouse Productions, the theatre sometimes opened shows in the West End. Including 1999's Suddenly Last Summer and 2005's Guys and Dolls .
Many well-known actors have appeared at the theatre, including Nicole Kidman ( The Blue Room ), Gwyneth Paltrow (Proof), Ian McKellen (The Cut) and Ewan McGregor ( Othello ).
With only 250 seats, the tickets for Othello starring McGregor were in such demand that Grandage feared it could become "a bad news story".His response was to plan a one-year season at the 750-seat Wyndham's Theatre, four major new productions presented by Donmar West End. It commenced on 12 September 2008, with Kenneth Branagh in the title role of Chekhov's Ivanov , given in a new version by Tom Stoppard and directed by Grandage. The West End season continued with Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night , Judi Dench in Yukio Mishima's Madame de Sade and Jude Law in Hamlet , all directed by Grandage.
Following the Donmar West End season, the Donmar held three productions internationally: transfers of Red , Piaf and Creditors, to Broadway, Madrid and the Brooklyn Academy of Music respectively.Furthermore, from 30 September through December, the Donmar had the first of three year resident spots at Trafalgar Studios 2, in order to showcase its past Resident Assistant Directors.
In late 2010, the Donmar led the UK celebrations to mark Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday to recognise his long association with the theatre. It included a new production of Passion directed by Jamie Lloyd.
In February 2011, the Donmar collaborated with the National Theatre Live programme to broadcast its production of King Lear , starring Derek Jacobi, to cinemas around the world. With over 350 screens in 20 countries, this single performance of King Lear was seen by more than 30,000 people.
In January 2012, Josie Rourke became the third Artistic Director in the Donmar's history. The first production under her leadership was George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer , which Rourke also directed. Her first season also included Robert Holman's 1987 play, Making Noise Quietly, directed by Peter Gill; Jack Thorne's new version of The Physicists by Swiss playwright Friedrich Duerrenmatt; Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come! , directed by Lyndsey Turner; and Rourke's own production of Jean Racine's Berenice , in a new translation by Alan Hollinghurst and Phyllida Lloyd's all female Julius Caesar, which later went on to play at the St. Ann's Warehouse, New York.
The Donmar built a temporary, in-the-round, 420-seat theatre next to King's Cross station. This theatre housed the all-female Shakespeare trilogy: The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Henry IV, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, from September to December 2016.
In June 2018, Michael Longhurst was named the fourth Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. Longhurst's previous credits include Constellations at the Royal Court Theatre and Amadeus at the National Theatre.
Longhurst's first season at the Donmar started on 20 June 2019 with David Greig’s Europe, followed by the UK premiere of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Further planned productions include [Blank] by Alice Birch, the UK premiere of Mike Lew's Teenage Dick and the season closes with Caryl Churchill's Far Away.
Samuel Alexander Joseph West is an English actor, theatre director and voice actor. He has directed on stage and radio, and worked as an actor across theatre, film, television and radio. He often appears as reciter with orchestras and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in 2002. He has narrated several documentary series, including five for the BBC about the Second World War.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a major British theatre company, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The company employs over 1,000 staff and produces around 20 productions a year. The RSC plays regularly in London, Stratford-upon-Avon, and on tour across the UK and internationally.
Sir Samuel Alexander Mendes is an English film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter. In theatre, he is known for his dark re-inventions of the stage musicals Cabaret (1993), Oliver! (1994), Company (1995), and Gypsy (2003). He directed an original West End stage musical for the first time with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013). For directing the play The Ferryman, Mendes was awarded the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play in 2019.
Sir Simon Russell Beale, is an English actor.
Julian Mark Ovenden is an English actor and singer. He has starred on Broadway and West End stages, in television series in both the United Kingdom and United States, in films, and performed internationally as a concert and recording artist.
Michael Grandage CBE is a British theatre director and producer. He is currently Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company. From 2002 to 2012 he was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse in London and from 2000 to 2005 he was Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres.
Jeremy Sams is a British theatre director, writer, translator, orchestrator, musical director, film composer, and lyricist.
Nancy Carroll is an English actress. She has worked extensively in theatre productions, particularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She also has numerous film and television credits, including a long-running feature role as Lady Felicia in the BBC series Father Brown.
Rupert Goold, is an English director who works primarily in theatre. He is the artistic director of the Almeida Theatre, and was the artistic director of Headlong Theatre Company (2005–2013).
Josie Rourke is an English theatre and film director. She is a Vice-President of the London Library and was the artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London from 2012 to 2019.
Simon Dormandy is an English theatre director, teacher and actor. As an actor, he worked with Cheek by Jowl and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), as well as at The Donmar Warehouse, The Old Vic, Chichester Festival Theatre and The Royal Exchange, amongst many others. He is perhaps best known on screen for his performances in Little Dorrit (film) and Vanity Fair. Between 1997 and 2012 he taught drama at Eton College, Berkshire, and held the posts of Director of Drama and Head of Theatre Studies. . He is currently working as a freelance theatre director. His directing credits include Julius Caesar at the Bristol Old Vic and Much Ado About Nothing at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, and his own adaptations of A Passage to India and the Coen Brothers' film The Hudsucker Proxy.
Christopher Oram is a British theatre set and costume designer.
Red is a play by American writer John Logan about artist Mark Rothko first produced by the Donmar Warehouse, London, on December 8, 2009. The original production was directed by Michael Grandage and performed by Alfred Molina as Rothko and Eddie Redmayne as his fictional assistant Ken.
Alex Waldmann is an English actor from London. He is married to director Amelia Sears.
Jamie Lloyd is a British director, best known for his work with his eponymous theatre company.
Lisa Ann Diveney is a British actress, best known for playing Beth in the Only Fools and Horses spin-off The Green Green Grass. She has also appeared in an episode of BBC drama Call the Midwife.
Max Bennett is an English actor. On television, he is best known for playing Monk Adderley in Poldark on the BBC, and Robert Southwell in Will for TNT. On film, he is best known for playing David in the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and Brown in Guy Ritchie's crime caper The Gentlemen. He has worked extensively in London theatre, with leading roles in the West End, as well as for the Donmar Warehouse, Royal Court, Young Vic, Shakespeare's Globe and the National Theatre.
The Vote is a 2015 British play written by James Graham. The play received its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse as part of their spring 2015 season, where it ran from 24 April to 7 May 2015. Directed by Josie Rourke and set in a fictitious London polling station on election night 2015, the play was broadcast live on UK television channel More4 on the night of the election. In 2019, the play was updated in a production for that year's general election.
Caro Newling OBE is an English theatre producer and currently Vice-President of the Society of London Theatre. Newling established the Donmar Warehouse with director Sam Mendes in 1992 and ran the London venue for ten years. Newling and Mendes produced over 70 productions together at the Donmar Warehouse including Cabaret (1993), Company (1995), The Glass Menagerie (1995), The Blue Room (1998) and Electra (1999). Newling and Mendes left the Donmar Warehouse in 2002 to found Neal Street Productions with Pippa Harris. In 2012, Newling, Mendes and Harris were joined by former BBC director of UK drama Nicolas Brown.
Michael Longhurst is artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse theatre in Covent Garden, London. He was appointed as its fourth artistic director, succeeding Josie Rourke in the role.