|Education||New Hall, Cambridge|
|Notable work||Mary Queen of Scots (2018)|
Josie Rourke (born 3 September 1976) is an English theatre and film director. She is a Vice-President of the London Library and was the artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse theatre from 2012 to 2019. In 2018, she made her feature film debut with the Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.
Early life and education
Rourke was born in 1976 in Salford, Greater Manchester, to Vivienne and Sean Rourke. She has one brother, Damian. She attended St Mary's RC Primary School, Swinton, St Gilbert's RC Primary School, Winton, St Patrick's RC Secondary School, Eccles, and Eccles College of Further Education.
She was the first person in the history of her school to attend Cambridge University, where she studied English at New Hall, now Murray Edwards College. She began directing for theatre at Cambridge and, amongst other credits, was the first woman in history to direct the Footlights Pantomime, which was co-written by Footlights President and Vice President Richard Ayoade and John Oliver.
Upon graduating from Cambridge in 1998, she worked for Cambridge Arts Theatre, co-ordinating the BT National Connections project around East Anglia. She then moved to London, where she worked nights as a secretary for a mergers and acquisitions bank, pursuing theatre projects during the days, including assisting Laurie Sansom on a production of J.B. Priestley's Dangerous Corner (1999) at Watford Palace Theatre.
After nine months of living and working in London, she was appointed Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar Warehouse. Sam Mendes was then the Artistic Director. Over her year-long traineeship, she assisted Michael Grandage on Peter Nichols' Passion Play (2000) and Merrily We Roll Along (2000–2001), Nicholas Hytner on Orpheus Descending (2000), starring Helen Mirren, Sam Mendes on Nick Whitby's To the Green Fields Beyond (2000) and Phyllida Lloyd on David Mamet's Boston Marriage (2001), starring Zoë Wanamaker.
Following her twelve months at the Donmar, Sam Mendes asked her to direct Frame 312 (2002) on its stage, and Michael Grandage invited Rourke to Sheffield to direct Kick for Touch (2002) as part of the Peter Gill Festival at Sheffield Theatres. While preparing those productions, Rourke assisted Peter Gill on his own play, The York Realist (2001), and John Osborne's Luther (2001) on the Olivier stage of the National Theatre.
Early directing career
While resident at the Royal Court Theatre, under Artistic Director Ian Rickson, she programmed readings, developed new work and directed Crazyblackmuthafuckin'self (2003) in the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court and Loyal Women (2003) in the Theatre Downstairs. Her productions for Sheffield Theatres during this time were on the Lyceum, Crucible and Studio stages and included Much Ado About Nothing (2005) and Willis Hall's The Long and the Short and the Tall (2006). Her production of Steve Waters' play World Music (2003) transferred from Sheffield to the Donmar stage. During this period, Rourke was also the UK tour director of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues (2003).
She also directed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 2005 Gunpowder Season, Believe What You Will by Philip Massinger and, as part of the 2006 Complete Works Festival, King John by William Shakespeare, starring Richard McCabe, Joseph Millson and Tamsin Greig. She returned to the Donmar to direct a production of David Mamet's The Cryptogram (2006), which starred Kim Cattrall and Douglas Henshall.
Bush Theatre (2007–2011)
In 2007, Rourke was appointed Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, one of the country's key venues for new plays and playwrights. During her time at The Bush, she programmed the first plays and early work of, amongst other writers: James Graham, Nancy Harris, Lucy Kirkwood, Nick Payne, Penelope Skinner, Jack Thorne, Steve Waters, Anthony Weigh and Tom Wells.
Shortly after she was appointed, the Bush Theatre was the target of a proposed cut in funding by Arts Council England. Rourke made a Freedom of Information Act request which established that the proposed cut had been made using flawed evidence and data. The Arts Council reinstated the theatre's funding but gave Rourke three years in which to find a new home for the Bush Theatre. In 2011, the Bush Theatre opened in new premises in a former library building, winning Theatre of the Year.
The new home for The Bush opened with Sixty-Six Books (2011), a 24-hour performance cycle with 66 writers and 144 actors that Rourke co-directed with a dozen of her peers. The cycle went on to be performed overnight in Westminster Abbey.
During her time at The Bush, Rourke continued to work as a freelance director. Her projects included Twelfth Night (2009) and The Taming of The Shrew (2010) for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Men Should Weep (2010–2011) by Ena Lamont Stewart at the National Theatre and Much Ado About Nothing (2011) for Sonia Friedman Productions at the Wyndham's Theatre, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate, the onstage reunion of which won the WhatsOnStage Award for the Theatre Event of the Year.
Donmar Warehouse (2012–2019)
In 2011, Rourke was appointed Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, the first woman to hold the role and the first female theatre director to be appointed the artistic director of a major London theatre.
As Artistic Director, she was responsible for programming the work of, amongst other directors: Phyllida Lloyd, who directed her all-female Shakespeare Trilogy at the Donmar; Kwame Kwei-Armah; Lyndsey Turner, whose celebrated revivals of Brian Friel's work have been a significant part of the Donmar's programme; Polly Findlay; Blanche McIntyre; John Crowley; Joe Wright and Robert Hastie.
Her first production at the Donmar was The Recruiting Officer (2012), beginning a working relationship with actor and writer Mark Gatiss, who would go on to star in Coriolanus (also starring Tom Hiddleston) and The Vote at the Donmar. Other notable productions at the Donmar include: Saint Joan (2017) with Gemma Arterton; Berenice (2012) with Anne-Marie Duff; Conor McPherson's The Weir (2013); which transferred to the West-End; Nick Payne's new play Elegy, starring Zoë Wanamaker, Barbara Flynn and Nina Sosanya; the innovative and campaigning Privacy (2014) by James Graham; The Machine (2013) by Matt Charman; the musical City of Angels (2014) by Cy Coleman, Larry Gelbart and David Zippel, which won an Olivier Award; Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2015) with Janet McTeer, Elaine Cassidy and Dominic West at the Donmar and McTeer, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Liev Schreiber on Broadway; and also the BAFTA-nominated play for theatre and television, The Vote (2015), which was broadcast live onto television on the night of the general election. The broadcast starred Judi Dench, Mark Gatiss, Catherine Tate and Nina Sosanya and garnered the highest annual viewing figures for the channel in that slot.
From the Donmar, The Weir transferred to the West End, The Machine transferred from the Manchester International Festival to the Park Avenue Armory in New York, Les Liaisons Dangereuses to Broadway and Privacy was reconceived in a US version at The Public Theater with Daniel Radcliffe playing the leading role.
A number of Rourke's productions, including Coriolanus, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Saint Joan, were broadcast in cinemas in the UK and internationally as part of the National Theatre Live programme.
Film and television
Rourke made her film debut with Working Title's Mary Queen of Scots. The film starred Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I. It premiered on 15 November 2018 at the AFI Fest and later received three nominations at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, and two nominations, for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling, at the 91st Academy Awards.
In early 2019, it was first announced that she would direct Catherine Tate's feature film, The Nan Movie, about her popular old-lady character from the BBC sketch series The Catherine Tate Show. In September, Rourke made an Instagram post, saying, "I think I speak for loads of us when I say that my Gran's spirit lives in Catherine Tate's immortal Nan. I have loved working with Catherine over the years on stage, and it is a massive treat to put her Nan on film." After initial filming, the film was substantially retooled. It largely took place in 1940s London, but those scenes were reportedly scaled back and new footage, greatly expanding the modern-day road trip sections, was filmed without Rourke at a low cost, with animation sequences used to fill any gaps. The film was scheduled to be released in June 2020, but was indefinitely postponed due to cinemas being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nan Movie was eventually released on 18 March 2022, with Rourke receiving an executive producer credit and no director credited.
During the 2020 lockdown, she directed the episode "Her Big Chance" of the BBC reboot of Alan Bennett's classic 1980s monologues, Talking Heads, starring Jodie Comer in the lead role. In summer 2021, she directed and co-wrote (with James Graham) the star-studded short film Rhythm of Life, encouraging people to get COVID-19 vaccines. It featured the song "The Rhythm of Life" from the 1966 classic musical, Sweet Charity, and starred Jim Broadbent, Derek Jacobi, David Walliams, Asa Butterfield, Colin Salmon, Don Warrington, Nicola Roberts, Russel Tovey and West End dancers.
From 2012 to 2018, Rourke served as a Non-Executive Director of public service broadcaster Channel 4. Since November 2019, Rourke has been a Vice-President of the London Library, having a particular focus on developing the Library's support for emerging playwrights as part of its wider Emerging Writers Program.
|2018||Mary Queen of Scots||Feature directorial debut|
|2020||Alan Bennett's Talking Heads||Episode: "Her Big Chance"|
|2021||Rhythm of Life||Short film; also writer|
|2022||The Nan Movie||Uncredited; also executive producer|
- Cavendish, Dominic (18 July 2018). "Josie Rourke: Donmar Warehouse's recruit is making her mark" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Everett, Lucinda. "News article". The Telegraph.
- "Josie Rourke: 'it should be an entitlement for children to engage with a cultural event outside school'". The Telegraph. The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- "Boston Marriage - ZOE WANAMAKER OFFICIAL WEBSITE - www.zoewanamaker.com". www.zoewanamaker.com. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- Billington, Michael (15 March 2002). "Frame 312, Donmar Warehouse, London". The Guardian.
- "Kick for Touch by Peter Gill, Crucible Studio, Sheffield, 2002". www.petergill7.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- Pavel, John. "Assistant directors". www.petergill7.co.uk.
- "Production of Luther | Theatricalia". theatricalia.com. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- Able, Sane and. "Josie Rourke - The Agency". Archived from the original on 9 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- Billington, Michael (4 December 2002). "Crazyblackmuthafuckin'self, Royal Court Theatre, London". The Guardian.
- Billington, Michael (12 November 2003). "Loyal Women, Royal Court, London". The Guardian.
- Hickling, Alfred (4 March 2006). "The Long and the Short and the Tall Lyceum, Sheffield". The Guardian.
- Billington, Michael (17 February 2004). "World Music, Donmar Warehouse, London". The Guardian.
- "Josie Rourke, On Directing, The Essay - BBC Radio 3". BBC.
- Billington, Michael (27 May 2005). "Believe What You Will, Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon". The Guardian.
- "King John, Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon". Archived from the original on 17 June 2022.
- "Josie Rourke Will Succeed Michael Grandage as Artistic Director of London's Donmar Warehouse - Playbill". Playbill.
- Smith, Alistair (12 March 2007). "Josie Rourke appointed Bush Theatre artistic director". The Stage. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011.
- "Bush names new artistic director". BBC News. 7 July 2011.
- "Bush Theatre faces £180,000 cut in funding". 12 April 2012.
- [dead link]
- Brown, Mark (12 November 2010). "London's Bush theatre moves from the pub to the library". The Guardian.
- "Sixty-Six Books". www.bushtheatre.co.uk.
- "Josie Rourke - Chicago Theater Beat". chicagotheaterbeat.com.
- Billington, Michael (26 October 2010). "Men Should Weep - review". The Guardian.
- Spencer, Charles (1 June 2011). "Much Ado About Nothing, Wyndham's Theatre, review" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- "Rourke named new Donmar director". BBC News. 11 March 2011.
- "Theatre's new power couple". 10 April 2012.
- Gardner, Lyn (23 November 2016). "Shakespeare Trilogy review – Donmar's phenomenal all-female triumph". The Guardian.
- Spencer, Charles (15 February 2012). "The Recruiting Officer, Donmar Warehouse, review" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Billington, Michael (18 December 2013). "Coriolanus – review". The Guardian.
- "Saint Joan review: 'Arterton's Joan radiates a gentle simplicity'". Archived from the original on 17 June 2022.
- Billington, Michael (2 October 2012). "Berenice – review". The Guardian.
- Gardner, Lyn (22 January 2014). "The Weir – review". The Guardian.
- Billington, Michael (28 April 2016). "Elegy review – Zoë Wanamaker is superb in Nick Payne's soulful play about science". The Guardian.
- Shuttleworth, Ian (23 April 2014). "Privacy, Donmar Warehouse, London – review". Financial Times.
- Sulcas, Roslyn. "'The Machine,' by Matt Charman, Is Coming to New York".
- "Winner's interview: City Of Angels".
- "LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES - Official Website". Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- "Initial cast announced for The Vote | Channel 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Donmar's The Vote sets ratings record for More4 - News - The Stage". 9 May 2015.
- "Review: 'Privacy,' a Play That Urges You to Keep Your Smartphone On".
- "Coriolanus at National Theatre Live: cut the chat and get on with the show". the Guardian. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Les Liaisons Dangereuses review – Dominic West on love's battlefield". the Guardian. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Josie Rourke on Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan - The Skinny". www.theskinny.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- "Bafta Film Awards 2019: All the nominees". BBC News. 9 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
- "Mary Queen of Scots' Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer Alexandra Byrne". www.motionpictures.org. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
- Brew, Simon (11 September 2019). "The "Nan" movie is going by the name of This Nan's Life, it appears". Film Stories. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- Edwards, Chris (10 September 2019). "Here's your first look as Catherine Tate's Nan movie". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
- Johnston, Rich (20 March 2022). "Gossip: What Really Went Down With Catherine Tate's The Nan Movie". Bleeding Cool News And Rumors. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
- Mustafa, Filiz (15 October 2019). "Catherine Tate's Nan movie finally lands an official release date". Digital Spy. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
- Hogan, Michael (23 April 2020). "Yes, we are bovvered: why Catherine Tate needs to return to TV". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2020 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- The Nan Movie - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland. 18 February 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
- Johnston, Rich (17 March 2022). "Is Catherine Tate's New Film The Nan Missing a Director Credit?". Bleeding Cool News And Rumors. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
- "Jodie Comer to star in new BBC production of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads". the Guardian. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Celebrities get back to the 'Rhythm of Life' in new film supporting COVID-19 vaccination programme". GOV.UK. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "What is Channel 4? - C4 Corporate". www.channel4.com.
- Baird, David (26 February 2020). "Josie Rourke". Speakers for Schools. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Patrons, Presidents and Trustees". www.londonlibrary.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Josie Rourke becomes a Vice-President of The London Library". www.londonlibrary.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2022.
- "Dancing at Lughnasa". National Theatre. 7 November 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
- "Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons | Official Box Office | Harold Pinter Theatr". www.haroldpintertheatre.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
- "As You Like It". @sohoplace. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
- "MEASURE FOR MEASURE". Donmar Warehouse. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
- "Josie Rourke – Biography". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- "Privacy". Donmar Warehouse. Retrieved 15 April 2014.[permanent dead link]
- "The Machine". Manchester International Festival. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "The Weir". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Berenice". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "The Physicists". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "The Recruiting Officer". Donmar Warehouse. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Sixty-Six Books". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Josie Rourke". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "gb71-thm/342 – Josie Rourke Collection". Archives Hub. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "gb71-thm/342 – Josie Rourke Collection". Archives Hub. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- Theo Bosanquet (19 April 2010). "Sky Arts Premieres Five More Plays from June". Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "The Taming of the Shrew". Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Apologia". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "2,000 Feet Away". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Tinderbox". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "How To Curse". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "gb71-thm/342 – Josie Rourke Collection". Archives Hub. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- "Annual Report and Accounts" (PDF). Royal Shakespeare Company. 17 November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- John Highfield (1 November 2004). "The Unthinkable". The Stage. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Crazyblackmuthaf***In'self at The Royal Court Theatre". The Royal Court Theatre. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "gb71-thm/342 – Josie Rourke Collection". Archives Hub. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "gb71-thm/342 – Josie Rourke Collection". Archives Hub. Retrieved 4 July 2013.