Michael Grandage

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Michael Grandage
Born (1962-05-02) 2 May 1962 (age 52)
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[edit]

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 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]

Career[edit]

Sheffield Theatres[edit]

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. The Crucible was awarded Theatrical Management Association Theatre of the Year in 2001.

Donmar Warehouse[edit]

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 most lasting legacy will be the purchase of the theatre site in Earlham Street in 2009 and the purchase of Dryden Street (office and rehearsal space) in 2011. Both of these were made possible because of the 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 6 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.

Opera[edit]

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 de 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 in NYC in 2014.[10]

Michael Grandage Company[edit]

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 is due for release in the second half of 2015.[15]

Stage productions[edit]

Honours, Appointments, Awards and nominations[edit]

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.

Awards
  • 2014 Whatsonstage Award for Best Director - for The Michael Grandage Season at the Noel Coward Theatre
  • 2011 London Evening Standard Editor’s Award - for a decade at the Donmar
  • 2011 Critics' Circle Award for Best Director - King Lear
  • 2010 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play - Red
  • 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play - Red
  • 2009 Critics' Circle Award for Best Director - Ivanov/The Chalk Garden
  • 2009 Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Director - Ivanov/The Chalk Garden/Othello
  • 2008 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director - Ivanov/The Chalk Garden/Othello
  • 2005 Critics' Circle Award for Best Director - The Wild Duck
  • 2005 TMA Award for Best Director - Don Carlos
  • 2005 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director - Grand Hotel/Don Carlos
  • 2004 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director – Caligula
  • 2000 Critics' Circle Award for Best Director – Merrily We Roll Along/Passion Play/As You Like It
  • 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director – Merrily We Roll Along/Passion Play/As You Like It
Nominations
  • 2014 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play - The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • 2014 Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Director of a Play - The Cripple of Inishmaan
  • 2011 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director - King Lear
  • 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director - Hamlet
  • 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play - Hamlet
  • 2007 Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play – Frost/Nixon
  • 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play – Frost/Nixon
  • 2006 London Evening Standard Award for Best Director - Frost/Nixon, Don Juan in Soho, Evita
  • 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director - Don Carlos
  • 2001 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Director - Passion Play

References[edit]

External links[edit]