London's Donmar Warehouse Announces Final Season of Young Directors' Initiative

News   London's Donmar Warehouse Announces Final Season of Young Directors' Initiative London's Donmar Warehouse has announced the final season of its three-year initiative to promote the work of young directors who have previously assisted at the Covent Garden venue. New versions of classic European works have been commissioned from playwrights Penelope Skinner, Conor McPherson and Anthony Weigh that will be directed by Alex Sims, Titas Halder and Simon Evans.

The Donmar's artistic director Josie Rourke, who was herself once a resident assistant director at the theatre during Sam Mendes' tenure, has commented in a press statement, "I can confidently say it gives the best training to an aspiring director.  Not only did it give me an amazing insight into the great craft of British theatre, the relationships I made started my career as a professional director.  It is these concrete opportunities for new directors that the industry and young people need right now."

Sims will direct Skinner's new version of Soviet playwright Aleksei Arbuzov's The Promise,  beginning performances Nov. 15 prior to an official opening Nov. 19, for a run through Dec. 8. The play is set in war-ravaged Leningrad in 1943, where three teenagers are thrown together by history. In the years following the siege allegiances shift, love falters and their vow of solidarity is stretched to its limits. According to press materials, the play is "a heartrending portrayal of youthful hope forged in war and tested by time." Sims was the  resident assistant director at the Donmar from 2007-08, working on Othello, Parade, Absurdia, Betrayal, Kiss of The Spider Woman and John Gabriel Borkman. Since leaving the Donmar, he has directed at Theatre 503 and has been associate director of the West End and Toronto runs of War Horse.

Halder will direct McPherson's new version of Strindberg's The Dance of Death, beginning performances Dec. 13, prior to an official opening Dec. 17. for a run through Jan. 5. In the play,  military captain Edgar and his wife, Alice, live a bitter life on an isolated island, their marriage soured by hatred. When the possibility of redemption and escape arrives for Alice in the shape of their former comrade Kurt, it seems that Edgar is prepared to use his very last breath to make their lives a living hell. Halder was resident assistant director at the Donmar from 2010-11, working on King Lear, Passion, The Prince of Homburg, The Late Middle Classes and Polar Bears. He has worked as a director at the Bush, Finborough and Clwyd Theatr Cymru, and as a playwright for companies that include Paines Plough and nabokov. He was previously creative associate at the Bush Theatre and literary associate at the Finborough Theatre.

Evans will direct Weigh's new version of Vercors' The Silence of the Sea, beginning performances Jan. 10 prior to an official opening Jan. 14, for a run through Feb. 2. In a time of conflict, a soldier is billeted to the home of an old man and his niece. Powerless to turn him away, they resist him with silence - a silence that becomes their most potent weapon. According to press materials, the play examines an excruciating dilemma faced by both the occupier and the occupied. Evans was resident assistant director at the Donmar from 2011-12, working on Richard II, Inadmissible Evidence, Anna Christie, Luise Miller, Moonlightand The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. As a director, he will shortly direct Thom Pain at the Print Room; he has also directed at Trafalgar Studios, Riverside Studios, White Bear, Theatre 503, New York's Public Theater and the Tristan Bates Theatre. As an assistant director, he worked with Josie Rourke on Men Should Weep at the National Theatre, where he was previously staff director.

To book tickets, which are on sale from Sept. 12, contact the box office on 0844 871 7632, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com for more details.

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