As his first five years at the Donmar Warehouse comes to a close, artistic director Michael Grandage has announced, at a press briefing held in London today, his plans to secure the theatre’s long-term future, including the purchase of its Covent Garden base and the launch of a year-long West End residency at Wyndham’s Theatre where Kenneth Branagh, Jude Law and Derek Jacobi will be amongst those heading the bill.
The “Donmar West End” season will run from September 2008 to August 2009. It launches with Grandage’s new production of Chekhov’s first play, 1887’s Ivanov, in a new version by Tom Stoppard. Kenneth Branagh – who has previously been directed by Grandage in Richard III at Sheffield Crucible, where Grandage was previously in charge, and who won the Whatsonstage.com Best Actor Award for his last London stage appearance, David Mamet’s Edmond at the National in 2003 – will take the title role.
Branagh was previously due to appear in Ivanov at the Bristol Old Vic this autumn, but when those plans evaporated following the regional theatre’s decision to close, he brought the project to the Donmar. Grandage’s production will run from 17 September (previews from 12 September) to 29 November 2008.http://www.whatsonstage.com