In a statement Grandage said, "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 hand-over period to a new artistic director. 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. I have spent nearly fifteen years running organisations in the subsidised sector in Sheffield and London and the experience has been completely thrilling from start to finish. 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. There are an enormous amount of people to thank for making the last few years the most exciting of my professional life and I look forward to engaging with each and every one of them in the months ahead."
The chair of the board of directors, Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury, added, "Under Michael's leadership during the past decade, the Donmar has gone from strength to strength - superb artistic excellence, exciting programming, triumphs on Broadway, global reach, the Wyndham's and Trafalgar Studios seasons, and a transformed educational offering. For all of us, it has been a privilege to work with Michael through such a momentous period. 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."
During his nine years leading the Donmar Warehouse, Grandage has "created an international theatre with a commitment to reaching as many people as possible through touring, education and affordable ticket prices, as well as continuing to produce work of the highest quality at their home base in Covent Garden," according to Donmar statement.
Grandage's inaugural production in 2002 was The Vortex with Chiwetel Ejiofor, a relationship he renewed five years later with his multi-award-winning production of Othello.
He engaged leading writers to offer new adaptations of foreign classics, including David Greig (Caligula, Creditors), Tom Stoppard (Pirandello's Henry IV and Ivanov) and David Eldridge (The Wild Duck and John Gabriel Borkman). The Donmar's award-winning production of Schiller's Mary Stuart, in a new version by Peter Oswald, transferred to the West End and Broadway. Grandage also continued to present musicals re-imagined in the intimate Donmar surroundings, including Grand Hotel, Parade and, currently, Passion.
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.
During his tenure, Grandage introduced a national touring program, which this year extends to eight weeks with his production of King Lear; and an extensive education program that has grown annually over the last nine years.
In 2009 he led the company into the West End for a year-long season of work at the Wyndham's Theatre, which played to 98 percent capacity.
Grandage has also overseen the expansion of the company internationally; in fact, in 2009 the Donmar's work played across four continents.
Grandage's next production for the Donmar is King Lear followed by a new production of Schiller's Luisa Miller in 2011. Also next year, he makes his debut at the Met with a new production of Don Giovanni In 2012 he is set to direct a production of Evita on Broadway.