Josie Rourke, currently a.d. of the Bush Theater, will succeed Michael Grandage as a.d. of prominent London legit company Donmar Warehouse.
Appointment, effective Jan. 1, 2012, makes Rourke the first female a.d at any of the U.K.’s leading legit addresses, including the National, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court.
The 34-year-old Rourke is no stranger to the internationally renowned 250-seat Donmar. Rourke helmed productions there of “Frame 312” by U.S. dramatist Keith Reddin (2002), “World Music” (2004) and David Mamet’s “The Cryptogram” starring Kim Cattrall (2006). She also trained at the Donmar as resident assistant director in 2000 working alongside Grandage, Nicholas Hytner, Phyllida Lloyd and Sam Mendes.
Rourke made a considerable splash in 2008 by overturning a nearly 40% funding cut to the Bush Theater, and recently secured the venue’s future, overseeing a move to a new building opening this fall. She made her National Theater debut in 2010 with an acclaimed revival of “Men Should Weep” and has already been booked to return there for a production whose title remains under wraps.
Rourke is currently in pre-production for her West End debut, helming Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” for producer Sonia Friedman in a staging starring Catherine Tate and David Tennant, who have previously been co-stars of BBC TV ratings sensation “Doctor Who.”
Rourke said, “Ten years ago, I started my career as the Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar. Nothing could make me more proud than to return to the place where I began.”
The Donmar is currently touring Grandage’s SRO hit production of King Lear, which plays the Brooklyn Academy of Music Apr. 28-Jun. 5, and producing the U.K. preem of the tuner “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Grandage’s farewell will be a production of “Richard II” (Dec. 1–Feb. 12, 2012) starring Eddie Redmayne, 2010 Tony winner for “Red.”