Donmar Celebrates 2010 with Sondheim, Mendes, Roger; Full Season Announced

Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Donmar Warehouse, Michael Grandage, today announced new details surrounding the new Donmar season through until February 2011 including. Casting has been announced for Polar Bears; David Leveaux has been pronounced director of Simon Gray's The Late Middle Class; von Kleist's The Prince of Homburg has been added to the season; new events in celebration of Sondheim's 80th birthday - in addition to the production of Passion - have been revealed; and Michael Grandage has been confirmed to direct Derek Jacobi in King Lear.

In addition to the above season of work, the Donmar will launch a new initiative at the Trafalgar Studios - Donmar Trafalgar. Demonstrating the Donmar's commitment to the next generation of young directors, the company will take up a residency at Trafalgar Studio 2 for twelve weeks a year for the next three years to showcase the work of graduates of the Donmar's Resident Assistant Director programme.

The Donmar also continues to expand outside its Covent Garden home. As well as a UK tour of Serenading Louie, the Donmar heads to New York - Michael Grandage's production of Red transfers to Broadway while Creditors directed by Alan Rickman opens at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music. Piaf continues its run in Buenos Aires before transferring to Madrid.

Artistic director Michael Grandage said today "This new season of work demonstrates our ongoing commitment to deliver high quality productions both at home and abroad. Eight new productions, one tour and three transfers around the world will enable the Donmar's work to continue to reach out to more and more people than ever before. These are exciting times for the Donmar and I look forward to engaging with new and diverse audiences through our productions and our expanding education programme in the year ahead."

Season details are as follows:


World Première of Polar Bears
A new play by Mark Haddon
Cast: Richard Coyle, Paul Hilton, Celia Imrie, David Leon, Jodhi May, Skye Bennett, and Alice Sykes
Director: Jamie Lloyd; Designer: Soutra Gilmour
Lighting Designer: Jon Clark; Composers and Sound Designers: Ben & Max Ringham
1 April - 22 May, Opening Night 6 April

"And I promise. I will carry on loving you when the lights go out. I will."

John has never met anyone like Kay. When the moon is in the right phase, she is magnetic and amazingly alive. But when the darkness closes in, she is lost to another world, a world in which John does not belong.

One man's struggle to love, support and live with someone suffering from a psychological condition is beautifully captured with humour and pathos in this extraordinary new play by Mark Haddon.

Richard Coyle returns to the Donmar to play John. His previous work for the company includes After Miss Julie and Proof. His other theatre work includes The Lover & The Collection (Comedy Theatre), Look Back in Anger (Theatre Royal Bath), Don Carlos (Sheffield Crucible and Gielgud Theatre) and The York Realist (Royal Court and Strand Theatre). For television, his credits include Going Postal, Miami Trauma, Octavia, Whistleblowers, Cracker, The Best Man, Gunpowder Treason and Plot, Strange and Coupling; and for film, Georgia, The Prince of Persia, Franklyn, A Good Year, The Libertine, Happy Now, Topsy-Turvy and Jane Eyre.

Paul Hilton plays Sandy. He previously appeared at the Donmar in Michael Grandage's production of The Wild Duck. His other theatre credits include Riflemind, In Celebration (Duke of York's Theatre), Rosmersholm (Almeida Theatre), On the Third Day (New Ambassadors) and The President of an Empty Room, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters (National Theatre). His television work includes Laconia, Garrow's Law, Lydon; True, Dare, Kiss; The Relief of Belsen, The Family Man and The Princes in the Tower; and for film, Klimt.

Celia Imrie plays Margaret. Her theatre work includes The Rivals (Southwark Playhouse), Mixed Up North (Out of Joint), Plague Over England (Duchess Theatre), Unsuspecting Susan (59th Street Theatre, New York) and Acorn Antiques - The Musical (Theatre Royal Haymarket). For television, her credits include Kingdom, After You've Gone, The Commander, The Last Detective, Lavender List, Sparkhouse, Dr Zhivago, The Gathering Storm and Absolutely Fabulous; and for film, St Trinian's, Woody Allen Summer Project 2009, Imagine Me and You, Imagine Me and You, Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones, Wimbledon, Calendar Girls, Hilary and Jackie, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and The Borrowers.

David Leon plays Jesus. His stage work includes Richard II (Old Vic), Pride and Prejudice (Orange Tree Theatre) and The Dream (ROH). For television, his credits include Vera, Clapham Junction, Strictly Confidential, Billy the Kid and Cutting It; and for film, The Glass House, RocknRolla, Love Me Still and The Lives of Saints.

Jodhi May makes her Donmar debut as Kay. Her theatre work includes Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival and Albery Theatre), The Seagull (Edinburgh Festival Theatre), The Talking Cure (National Theatre) Far Away (Theatre Des Bouffes) and Platonov (Almeida at King's Cross). For television, her credits include Strike Back, Emma, Angel, Sleep With Me, The Street and Friends and Crocodiles; and for film, Defiance, Flashbacks of a Fool, Nightwatching, The House of Mirth, The Gambler, Sister My Sister (Best Actress Award Valladolid Film Festival), Last of the Mohicans and A World Apart (Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival, and Variety Club & Evening Standard Awards for Best Newcomer).

Polar Bears is screenwriter and author Mark Haddon's first work for the theatre. His work for television includes Coming Down the Mountain, Fungus the Bogeyman (adapted from Raymond Briggs' book, INDIE Award for Best Children's Programme) and Microsoap (BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme, New York TV Festival - Gold Award, Prix Jeunesse Award (Munich), and Haddon also received a Special Screenwriter's Award for Contribution to Children's Television by BAFTA. As an author his work include A Spot of Bother, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Whitbread prize, Guardian children's fiction prize, The British Book Awards - Children's Book of the Year & Literary Fiction Award, Book Trust Teenage Fiction Award), The Real Porky Philips, Agent Z and Titch Johnson - Almost World Champion.

As Associate Director of the Donmar Jamie Lloyd's work for the company includes Piaf (Donmar Warehouse, Vaudeville Theatre, Buenos Aires - ADEET Award for Best Production and Clarin Award for Best Musical Production - and Spain) and readings as part of the TS Eliot Festival and the Tennessee Williams' season. His other credits include The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre) Three Days of Rain (Apollo Theatre), Eric's (Liverpool Playhouse), The Pride (Royal Court - Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement), The Lover and The Collection (Comedy Theatre) and The Caretaker (Sheffield Crucible and Tricycle Theatre). Lloyd will direct Salome for Headlong in May 2010.

Designed by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by Jon Clark and the composers and sound designers are Ben & Max Ringham.

The Late Middle Classes
By Simon Gray

Cast includes: Helen McCrory

Director: David Leveaux; Designer: Mike Britton; Lighting Designer: Hugh Vanstone
Composer: Corin Buckeridge; Sound Designer: Simon Baker

27 May - 17 July. Opening Night 1 June

"We live in secret almost all the time."

Celia is bored to distraction; Charles is obsessed with his work; and their son is having his first lessons in music and in life.

Simon Gray's funny, melancholic and captivating play about a young boy trapped between two types of oppressive love reveals the frustration, secrets and guilt of middle class respectability in 1950s England.

Helen McCrory returns to the Donmar to play Celia. Her work for the Donmar includes Old Times, Twelfth Night & Uncle Vanya (also New York), In a Little World of Our Own and How I Learned to Drive. Her other recent theatre work includes Rosmersholm, Five Gold Rings, Platonov, The Triumph of Love (Almeida Theatre) and As You Like It (Wyndham's Theatre). For television, her credits include Doctor Who, Life, Frankenstein, Charles II, Carla, The Jury, North Square (Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress), Anna Karenina, In a Land of Plenty, Spoonface Steinberg, The Fragile Heart and Street Life (RTS and Monte Carlo Awards for Best Actress, also Welsh BAFTA); and for film, 4,3,2,1, Harry Potter, A Special Relationship, The Queen, Casanova, Enduring Love and Charlotte Gray.

Simon Gray (1936 - 2008) is a British playwright, novelist and diarist. He wrote 40 original stage plays, screenplays and screen adaptations. His plays include Wise Child, Butley (Evening Standard Award), Otherwise Engaged (New York Critics' Circle, Drama Desk, and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play),The Rear Column, Close of Play, Quartermaine's Terms(Cheltenham Literary Prize), The Common Pursuit, Hidden Laughter, Cell Mates, Life Support, Japes, Japes Too, The Old Masters, Little Nell and The Last Cigarette (with Hugh Whitemore).

David Leveaux directs. His previous work for the Donmar includes The Real Thing (also West End and New York - Tony Award for Best Revival), Nine and Electra (also New York). His other theatre work includes Tales of Ballycumber, Three Sisters (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), Arcadia (Duke of York's Theatre), Rudolph (Vienna), A Doll's House (Tokyo), Cyrano, The Glass Menagerie, Fiddler on the Roof, Nine (Tony Award for Best Revival), Betrayal, Anna Christie (Tony Award for Best Revival) and A Moon for the Misbegotten - all Broadway, Sinatra Live (London Palladium), Jumpers (also Piccadilly Theatre and Broadway) and The Father (both National Theatre), No Man's Land, Moonlight, Betrayal and The Distance From Here (Almeida Theatre) and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Romeo and Juliet (RSC). For Opera, his work includes The Turn of the Screw and The Marriage of Figaro (Scottish Opera) and Salome (ENO).

Designed by Mark Britton, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, the composer is Corin Buckeridge and sound by Simon Baker.

Heinrich von Kleist's The Prince of Homburg
In a new version by Dennis Kelly

Cast includes: Charlie Cox, Ian McDiarmid

Director: Jonathan Munby; Designer: Angela Davies; Lighting Designer: Neil Austin;
Composer: Dominic Haslam; Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt

22 July - 4 September. Opening Night 27 July

"The highest rule is that which beats in the heart."

Heroic commander of the Prussian cavalry, the Prince of Homburg dreams of victory, glory and fame. But his reckless disobedience during a crucial military operation leads the Prince to his greatest battle yet.

The creative team behind the Donmar's critically acclaimed production of Life is a Dream present Heinrich von Kleist's poetic masterpiece The Prince of Homburg which is considered to be one of the most haunting and beautiful plays of the nineteenth century, exploring honour, courage, ambition and love.

Charlie Cox makes his Donmar debut as the Prince of Homburg. Cox's theatre work includes The Lover & The Collection (Comedy Theatre) and 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Southwark Playhouse). For television, his credits include Moby Dick and A for Andromeda; and for film, Glorious 39, Stardust, Things to Do Before You're 30, The Merchant of Venice and Casanova.

Ian McDiarmid plays the Elector. McDiarmid returns to the Donmar, where his work includes Be Near Me (also national tour), John Gabriel Borkman and Pirandello's Henry IV. As well as extensive work at the Almeida where he was also Joint Artistic Director from 1990 to 2001 his other credits include performances at the RSC and the Royal Exchange, Manchester. McDiarmid's most recent stage roles are in Six Characters in Search of an Author (Chichester Festival Theatre and Gielgud Theatre) and Jonah and Otto at Manchester Royal Exchange. He played Teddy in Faith Healer on Broadway, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play. Television work includes The Odds, Margaret, City of Vice, Our Hidden Lives, Elizabeth I, Charles II, Crime and Punishment, Great Expectations, Hillsborough and Karaoke; and his many films include Sleepy Hollow, Restoration, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and the Star Wars series.

Heinrich von Kleist (1777 - 1811) is a German playwright, poet, novelist and short-story writer. His work for the stage includes The Schroffenstein Family, Penthesilea, The Broken Jug and Die Hermannsschlacht. In 1811 von Kleist and his lover Henriette Vogel committed suicide.

Dennis Kelly is a playwright and screenwriter. His original works include The Gods Weep, Orphans (Fringe First and Herald Angel Award), Deoxyribonucleic Acid, Taking Care of Baby, After the End (Meyer-Whitworth Award), Osama the Hero and Debris. He has also translated and adapted works that include Rose Bernd (Arcola Theatre) and The Fourth Gate. For television, Pulling (co-written with Sharon Horgan) and Monkey Dust.

Jonathan Munby returns to the Donmar where he directed the critically acclaimed production of Life is a Dream last year. His other work includes Serious Money (Birmingham Rep), The Dog in the Manger (Washington Shakespeare Theatre Company), The White Devil (Menier Chocolate Factory), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), Henry V, Mirandolina (Manchester Royal Exchange), Gilgamesh, Firebrand (National Theatre Studio), A Number (Sheffield Crucible), Nakamitsu (The Gate) and Don Giovanni (English Touring Opera).

Designed by Angela Davies, with lighting by Neil Austin, the composer is Dominic Haslam and sound by Christopher Shutt.

In celebration of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday, the Donmar will stage a revival of his 1994 musical Passion, alongside other events to mark the occasion, and to recognise the long association the composer has had with the Donmar since 1992.

Stephen Sondheim said today, "My association with the Donmar Warehouse has been a joy from its inception in 1992 with Assassins through its productions of Company, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods and Pacific Overtures. Our collaborations over the years have been professionally fulfilling and personally gratifying and now I'm honoured and thrilled that they are presenting Passion to help celebrate my 80th birthday. There is no venue, or team of artists, that I would rather have produce the piece."

Music & Lyrics by: Stephen Sondheim Book by: James Lapine

Cast includes: Elena Roger

Director: Jamie Lloyd; Designer: Christopher Oram; Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
Musical Director: Alan Williams; Sound Designer: Nick Lidster & Terry Jardine for Autograph; Choreographer: Scott Ambler

10 September - 27 November. Opening Night 21 September

"In war you know the enemy. Not always so in life."

Captain Giorgio Bachetti, a military hero, is transferred to a strange and remote Italian outpost. Far away from his beloved Clara, he encounters Fosca, the cousin of his commanding officer, and her influence has shattering and inconceivable consequences.

Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's multi-award-winning musical examines the power of love in a haunting story of desire, sacrifice and redemption.

Donmar Associate Director Jamie Lloyd is reunited with Elena Roger - following their work together on the Donmar production of Piaf.

Elena Roger plays Fosca. As well as Piaf (also Vaudeville Theatre, Buenos Aires) and Evita, her other theatre work in the UK includes Boeing, Boeing (Comedy Theatre). In her native Buenos Aires, Elena Roger's credits include the original productions of Nine, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables and Saturday Night Fever. In 2003 Elena Roger and director Valeria Ambrosio devised Mina, che cosa sei. This musical, based on the life of the Italian singer, won five awards including the ACE (Critics' Award) for Best Actress for Elena Roger.

Stephen Sondheim (b1930) is one of the world's greatest living composer and lyricists. His major works includes Saturday Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park With George (Pulitzer Prize), Into the Woods, Assassins and Bounce (re-titled Road Show). Sondheim also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story, Gypsy and Do I Hear a Waltz? He is the recipient of multiple awards, including 8 Tony Awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award, 7 Grammys and an Academy Award for Best Song for Dick Tracy, and was elected to The American of Arts and Letters (1983).

James Lapine (b1949) also collaborated with Sondheim on Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods - he also directed the original productions. His other librettos include Falsettos, Der Glockner von Notre Dame and A New Brain. Lapine is also a director and playwright.

Jamie Lloyd directs. For his biography, please see page 3.

Designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Neil Austin, the musical director is Alan Williams, with sound by Nick Lidster & Terry Jardine for Autograph and choreography by Scott Ambler.

Stephen's Sondheim's new book - Finishing the Hat - Published by Virgin Books
Virgin books are very proud to be publishing Finishing the Hat, Stephen Sondheim's first volume of his lyrics with "attendant comments, principles, heresies, grudges, whines and anecdotes" which offers an unprecedented insight into this lyrical genius and his work.

Along with the lyrics for all of Sondheim's productions from 1954 to 1981, the book will be full of tales that only Sondheim could tell. He also educates us: he tells us what he's learned from his failures as well as his successes; and dissects many songs, sometimes line by line, to outline his thought process and the decisions that go into the verses. Sondheim discusses his predecessors, his contemporaries, and analyzes his own work, offering rules, sins and wisdom on lyric writing that will definitely be studied for many years to come. This gorgeous book will also contain behind-the-scenes photographs from each production and many personal photographs of Sondheim with his contemporaries and collaborators.

Finishing the Hat will be published on the 14th October 2010. The second volume, Look I Made a Hat will be published in October 2011.


Alongside the Donmar's production of Passion, the company hosts four events to celebrate the composer's 80th birthday.

Thursday 16 September at 6pm
Michael Grandage and Sam Mendes in conversation about staging Sondheim at the Donmar

Monday 11 October at 6pm
Stephen Sondheim IN DISCUSSION
Stephen Sondheim in conversation about his life and career

Sunday 31 October at 7.30pm
A concert performance of Sondheim's musical written in 1970

Sunday 7 November at 7.30pm
A concert performance of Sondheim's musical written in 1981

King Lear 
By William Shakespeare

Cast includes: Derek Jacobi

Director: Michael Grandage; Designer: Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin; Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork

3 December 2010 - 5 February 2011. Opening Night 7 December

"Who is it that can tell me who I am?"

An ageing monarch. A kingdom divided. A child's love rejected. As Lear's world descends into chaos, all that he once believed is brought into question.

One of the greatest works in western literature, King Lear explores the very nature of human existence: love and duty, power and loss, good and evil.

Derek Jacobi and Michael Grandage renew their collaboration, having previously worked together on The Tempest, Don Carlos and Twelfth Night.

Derek Jacobi returns to the Donmar to play King Lear. His work for the company includes his Olivier Award-winning performance as Malvolio in Michael Grandage's production of Twelfth Night (Donmar West End) and A Voyage Round My Father (also Wyndham's Theatre). Jacobi's other theatre work includes Don Carlos (Sheffield Crucible and Gieldgud Theatre), The Tempest (Sheffield Crucible and Old Vic) - both directed by Michael Grandage, and Hollow Crown (RSC). Jacobi is renowned for his role as Claudius in I Claudius. His recent television credits include Margot, Endgame, The Old Curiosity Shop, Pinochet in Suburbia, The Long Firm, Mr Ambassador, Inquisition, The Gathering Storm, The Jury and Frasier. For film, his work includes Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park and Gladiator.

Donmar Artistic Director Michael Grandage directs. Previous work for the Donmar includes Red, The Chalk Garden (Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Director), Othello (Evening Standard Award for Best Director), John Gabriel Borkman, Don Juan in Soho, Frost/Nixon (also West End and Broadway), The Cut, The Wild Duck (Critics' Circle Award for Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Donmar in the West End - Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Evening Standard Award for Best Director, Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Henry IV, After Miss Julie, Caligula (Olivier Award for Best Director) and The Vortex. As part of the Donmar in the West End season Grandage directed Ivanov - Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Director, Twelfth Night, Madame de Sade and Hamlet (also Kronborg Castle and Broadway). Other West End work includes Evita. He was the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres 1999 - 2005, where his many productions included Don Carlos (Evening Standard Award for Best Director).

Designed by Christopher Oram, lighting by Neil Austin and the composer and sound designer is Adam Cork.


In 1994 the Donmar Warehouse began their Resident Assistant Director (RAD) scheme - to offer young directors at the start of their professional careers the opportunity to work alongside leading theatre directors for a year at the Donmar. Since the scheme began, it has produced directors including Sam Buntrock, Toby Frow, Rupert Goold, Josie Rourke and Sacha Wares. It is widely regarded as the most prestigious training programme for young directors in the country.

The first year of Donmar Trafalgar will see Charlotte Westenra, Róisín McBrinn and Chris Rolls each stage a production - Lower Ninth, Novecento and Les Parents Terribles respectively.

Michael Grandage, Artistic Director of the Donmar, said, "It has always been a great privilege to support young directors through the Donmar's RAD scheme and this residency at the Trafalgar will now give everyone an opportunity to watch the next generation of theatre directors at work. I have every confidence that over the next three years we will see some serious and important talent emerging that will help us focus on the theatre practitioners of the future."

The RAD scheme at the Donmar has been supported by Jon and NoraLee Sedmak and the Sedmak Wooten Family Foundation since 2003. 

For more information on the RAD scheme and all events, visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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