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Grandage exits Donmar

Director to step down in late 2011

Michael Grandage will step down as a.d. of London’s Donmar Warehouse in late 2011.

During his nine years at the helm of the U.K. drama powerhouse, the company has won 80 major awards, including Oliviers, London Critics’ Circle Awards, Evening Standard Awards, Drama Desk awards and eight Tonys for the Broadway transfers of “Red,” “Frost/Nixon” and “Mary Stuart.”

Grandage, 48, introduced and has overseen a major expansion in the 250-seat theater’s output, with national and international touring as far afield as Australia (“Guys and Dolls”) and Argentina (“Piaf”), and an extensive education program which has grown annually.

In addition to productions at the Covent Garden home, Grandage created two major West End residencies, including Donmar West End, which saw Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench and Jude Law heading SRO productions of “Ivanov,” “Twelfth Night,” “Madame de Sade” and “Hamlet,” all with a top ticket price of £32.50 (about $50).

Prior to his Donmar tenure, Grandage was artistic associate and then a.d. of Sheffield Theaters, a three-auditorium regional complex.

“I spent 15 years running organizations in the not-for-profit sector in Sheffield and London, and the experience has been completely thrilling from start to finish,” he told Daily Variety. “I am now keen to have a career that moves away from being in charge of a building in order to develop my work as a director in other ways.”

Grandage dismissed the possibility that as a freelancer he might consider turning his attention, in part, to movies. He is currently at Houston Grand Opera making his U.S. opera debut with “Madame Butterfly” on Oct. 22. He’ll make his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2011 with “Don Giovanni.”

His next Donmar production is “King Lear,” beginning Dec. 3 and starring Jacobi, followed by a new production of Schiller’s “Luisa Miller,” starting perfs in June. In 2012, he will helm the Broadway revival of “Evita” with Ricky Martin starring as Che.

Chris Smith, chair of the Donmar board of directors, said, “These are big shoes to fill, but we’re excited by the challenge of finding the right person to take us forward to further success.”

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