Michael Grandage to step down from Donmar Warehouse

Michael Grandage Grandage will leave the Donmar after nine years in 2011

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Michael Grandage is to step down as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse after nine years, it has been announced.

He will be leaving late 2011 after nine years leading the London company.

"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," he said.

During his tenure, Grandage expanded the company internationally with Donmar productions playing in four continents.

'Big shoes to fill'

"With the Donmar's reputation in a particularly exciting place both at home and abroad, I feel now is the right moment to start a handover period to a new artistic director," Grandage said in a statement.

"It will enable someone to build on the success we have achieved over the last nine years and to look to the future with real confidence."

After he replaced Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes in 2002, Grandage's inaugural production was The Vortex with Chiwetel Ejiofor, whom he worked with again five years later in his production of Othello.

New writing provided the company with two of its biggest successes in recent years - Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon which enjoyed a West End transfer and a run on Broadway, and John Logan's Red which saw the company return to Broadway and win six Tonys this year.

The director also put accessibility at the forefront of the company's ethos, introducing a national touring programme and an extensive education programme.

Last year he led the company into the West End for a year long season of work at the Wyndham's Theatre.

The season, featuring Ivanov with Kenneth Branagh, Twelfth Night with Derek Jacobi, Madame de Sade with Judi Dench and Hamlet with Jude Law, played to 98% capacity.

The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, chair of the 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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