The program, created in 1994 to offer young directors the opportunity, at the start of their professional careers, to work alongside leading theatre directors for a year at the Donmar, has previously seen directors like Sam Buntrock, Toby Frow, Rupert Goold, Josie Rourke and Sacha Wares emerge from it. According to press materials, it is widely regarded as the most prestigious training program for young directors in the country. The post is advertised every October in the national press and on-line at www.donmarwarehouse.com.
The first season of Donmar Trafalgar, which will run Sept. 30-Dec. 18, will see Charlotte Westenra, Róisín McBrinn and Chris Rolls each stage a production – Lower Ninth, Novecento and Les Parents Terribles, respectively.
In a press statement Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage commented, "It has always been a great privilege to support young directors through the Donmar's RAD scheme and this residency at the Trafalgar will now give everyone an opportunity to watch the next generation of theatre directors at work. I have every confidence that over the next three years we will see some serious and important talent emerging that will help us focus on the theatre practitioners of the future."
The season will begin with Westenra's production of Lower Ninth, a new play by Beau Willimon. It will begin performances Sept. 30, prior to an official opening Oct. 4, for a run through Oct. 23. Westenra was the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director in 2004. She has subsequently directed Kiss of the Spider Woman there. Other credits include directing We the People at Shakespeare's Globe, and co-directing Darfur – How Long is Never?, Bloody Sunday – Scenes from the Saville Inquiry and Justifying War at the Tricycle, as well as working at Sheffield Crucible, the Edinburgh Festival and the National Theatre Studio. Willimon, who was the recipient of the Summer Play Festival residency at the Donmar, has also written Farrugut North, which was produced at New York's Atlantic Theater and LA's Geffen Playhouse, and of which a screenplay adaptation is now in development with Warners. He is also currently writing an original film, "The Candidate for Summit Entertainment." According to press materials, the play is set in New Orleans' Lower Ninth district where two African Americans, Malcolm and Ezee, find themselves stranded on a rooftop waiting for rescue. Their city has been devastated, their worldly possessions swept away and the body of their young friend lies before them.
The season then continues with McBrinn's production of Alessandro Baricco's Novecento, beginning performances Oct. 28, prior to an official opening Nov. 1, running through Nov. 20. McBrinn was the Donmar’s Resident Assistant Director in 2003, where she has subsequently returned to direct Fugitive Kind, a reading presented as part of the Tennessee Williams season. She has also subsequently directed for Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Bromley's Churchill Theatre, the Fishamble Theatre Company, and at Southwark Playhouse and the Arcola Theatre. Barrico's play was first staged in Italy in 1994, and later made into a feature film. The play is set in 1900 on board a great Atlantic cruise liner, where Novecento was born. He became the greatest jazz musician the world would never know. For six years before World War II, Tim Tooney played trumpet with him and Novecento gave him his story. andThe season will conclude with Rolls' production of Jean Cocteau's Les Parents Terribles, beginning performances Nov. 25 prior to an official opening Nov. 29, running through Dec. 18. Rolls was Resident Assistant Director in 2005. He has subsequently directed a Donmar Warehouse reading of Millicent Scowlworthy and worked at Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theatre, London's BAC, Finborough and Shakespeare's Globe, and at the Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg and Lichield's Garrick Theatre. Cocteau's play, translated by Jeremy Sams, is set in a bohemian household in ‘30s Paris. When Michael declares his love for a girl, his devoted mother burns with jealousy while his father is shocked to discover that his son's lover is someone he knows only too well.
The annual Donmar Trafalgar season will run for an initial period of three years. It is sponsored by United House.
Tickets will go on sale June 7. To book tickets, contact the box office at 0844 871 7632, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com for more details.