In an announcement that has made not just the front page of the Evening Standard but an editorial as well, Sam Mendes has announced that his association with the Donmar Warehouse, the off-West End Covent Garden theatre that he has turned into one of the most successful and fashionable in London over a ten year period, is to end.
His resignation as Artistic Director is to take effect in December 2002. Leaving the Donmar will enable him to concentrate on theatre and film production, the latter being something he has been increasingly involved with since his Oscar-winning success with American Beauty. His latest film effort, The Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks, will be released in early 2002.
2002, his final year, looks set to be one of the most exciting and high-profile ones of his career, with Nicole Kidman returning to the Donmar (where she scored a sensation in The Blue Room) to star in a double-bill of Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night.
The post of Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse will be advertised - in contrast to the 'emergence' of a Director of the National Theatre - and the contest for the job, one of the hottest in the theatre world, is likely to be fierce.
The Donmar's next production is Privates on Parade, which previews from next week.
-by Paul Webb Theatrenow