Michael Grandage

Michael Grandage
Born (1962-05-02) 2 May 1962
Yorkshire, England
Occupation Theatre director, producer

Michael Grandage CBE (born 2 May 1962) 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.

Early years

Grandage was born in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Penzance, Cornwall, where his parents ran a family business. He was educated at the Humphry Davy Grammar School before training as an actor at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama through 1984. He spent twelve years working as an actor for companies such as the Royal Exchange and the Royal Shakespeare Company and was also a member of National Youth Theatre before turning to directing. He made his directorial debut in 1996 with a production of Arthur Miller's The Last Yankee at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester. In 1998 he was invited by Sheffield Theatres to direct Twelfth Night, his first Shakespeare production.[1] In the same year he made his London directorial debut at the Almeida Theatre with a production of Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma. He lives in London and Cornwall with his partner, the award-winning British theatre designer Christopher Oram.[2]


Sheffield Theatres

From 1999 to 2005 he was artistic director of Sheffield Theatres where his high-profile productions included Edward II with Joseph Fiennes, Richard III with Kenneth Branagh, Suddenly, Last Summer with Diana Rigg and Victoria Hamilton, The Tempest with Derek Jacobi and Don Carlos with Derek Jacobi. He produced over forty plays with predominantly young directors and designers.

Donmar Warehouse

From 2002 to 2012 he was artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse where he succeeded Sam Mendes. During his tenure, he expanded the theatre's repertoire to include European work, touring productions and an extensive education programme as well as taking the new Donmar brand to international audiences in America, Australia, Argentina and Europe. In September 2008 he launched a one-year Donmar West End "access for all" season of four plays with affordable ticket prices when the company extended its repertory to the newly refurbished Wyndham's Theatre. Grandage directed all four productions: Kenneth Branagh in Ivanov, Derek Jacobi in Twelfth Night, Judi Dench in Madame de Sade and Jude Law in Hamlet.[3]

In 2010 he launched a three-year West End season at the Trafalgar Studios to highlight the work of young directors who emerged from the Donmar's training scheme.[4] During his decade at the Donmar he produced sixty six productions directing twenty five of them himself. His contributions to the Donmar included organising, in 2009, the future purchase of the theatre site in Earlham Street, and the purchase of office and rehearsal space in nearby Dryden Street in 2011. These were made possible through commercial activity that Grandage engaged in on behalf of the Donmar during his tenure, particularly transferring productions to the West End and Broadway.[5]

His work at the Donmar won Tony, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and South Bank Awards. He was first nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2001 for Best Director for Peter Nichols' Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse before winning in 2004 for David Greig's Caligula. Two of his musical productions for the Donmar have also won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and a third won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. He has won four Evening Standard Awards for his Donmar work including productions of Passion Play, Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel, Ivanov, The Chalk Garden and Othello. In 2010, his production of Red by John Logan won six Tony Awards including Best Play and Best Director.

In June 2012, Constable & Robinson published A Decade At The Donmar by Michael Grandage, a photographic record of his tenure.


In 2010 Grandage started to work in opera, making his debut at Glyndebourne with a production of Billy Budd.[6] He returned there in 2012 to direct Le nozze di Figaro.[7] In the U.S. his work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera,[8] Chicago Lyric Opera and Houston Grand Opera.[9] His Glyndebourne production of Billy Budd was also seen at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City in 2014.[10]

Michael Grandage Company

At the end of 2011, Grandage set up the Michael Grandage Company[11][12] with James Bierman (formerly executive producer of the Donmar) to produce work in theatre, film and TV.

In June 2012, they announced a fifteen-month season of work at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End aimed at reaching out to a new generation of theatregoers through pricing and access with over 100,000 seats going on sale at £10. Between December 2012 and February 2014 they produced Privates On Parade with Simon Russell Beale; John Logan's new play Peter and Alice with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw; Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh; and two plays by Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, followed by Henry V with Jude Law. Grandage directed all five productions and the season was nominated for six Olivier Awards.[13] In 2014 The Cripple of Inishmaan transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for six Tony Awards.[14]

In 2014 Grandage and Bierman started work on their first feature film, Genius, about the relationship between author Thomas Wolfe and his editor Max Perkins. The film which is based on A. Scott Berg's biography Max Perkins: Editor of Genius has a screenplay by John Logan and is directed by Grandage. It stars Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce, Dominic West and Laura Linney. The film got released on June 16 in the USA.[15]

Michael Grandage opened the 2015 Newlyn arts festival in Cornwall [16]

Stage productions

Theatre (U.K.)
  • 1996: The Last Yankee – Mercury Theatre, Colchester
  • 1997: The Deep Blue Sea – Mercury Theatre, Colchester
  • 1998: The Doctor's Dilemma – Almeida and national tour
  • 1998: Twelfth Night – Sheffield
  • 1998: What The Butler Saw – Sheffield
  • 1999: The Jew of Malta – Almeida and national tour
  • 1999: Good – Donmar
  • 2000: The Country Wife – Sheffield
  • 2000: Passion Play – Donmar
  • 2000: As You Like It – Sheffield and Lyric Hammersmith
  • 2000: Merrily We Roll Along – Donmar
  • 2001: Don Juan – Sheffield
  • 2001: Privates on Parade – Donmar
  • 2001: Edward II – Sheffield
  • 2002: The Tempest – Sheffield and Old Vic Theatre, London
  • 2002: Richard III – Sheffield
  • 2002: The Vortex – Donmar
  • 2003: A Midsummer Night's Dream – Sheffield
  • 2003: Caligula – Donmar
  • 2003: After Miss Julie – Donmar
  • 2004: Don Carlos – Sheffield & Gielgud Theatre, London
  • 2004: Suddenly Last Summer – Sheffield and Noel Coward Theatre, London
  • 2004: Pirandello's Henry IV – Donmar
  • 2004: Grand Hotel – Donmar
  • 2005: The Wild Duck – Donmar
  • 2005: Guys and Dolls – Piccadilly Theatre, London
  • 2006: The Cut – Donmar
  • 2006: Evita – Adelphi Theatre, London
  • 2006: Frost/Nixon – Donmar and Gielgud Theatre, London
  • 2006: Don Juan in Soho – Donmar
  • 2007: John Gabriel Borkman – Donmar
  • 2008: Twelfth Night – Donmar at Wyndham's
  • 2008: Ivanov – Donmar at Wyndham's
  • 2008: The Chalk Garden – Donmar
  • 2008: Othello – Donmar
  • 2009: Red – Donmar
  • 2009: Hamlet – Donmar at Wyndham's
  • 2009: Madame de Sade – Donmar at Wyndham's
  • 2010: King Lear – Donmar
  • 2010: Danton's Death – National Theatre
  • 2011: Richard II – Donmar
  • 2011: Luise Miller – Donmar
  • 2013: Henry V – Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2013: A Midsummer Night's Dream – Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2013: The Cripple of Inishmaan – Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2013: Peter and Alice – Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2013: Privates on Parade – Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2014: Dawn French: Thirty Million Minutes – UK Touring Production
  • 2015: Photograph 51 – Noel Coward Theatre
Theatre (U.S.)

Honours, appointments, awards and nominations

Grandage has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of London, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University. He has been given honorary fellowships by The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Falmouth University. He was awarded the 2006 Award for Excellence in International Theatre by the International Theatre Institute. In 2010 he became president of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for Services to Drama.



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