We wondered what director Michael Grandage would do when he left the Donmar Theatre last year (where he was Artistic Director for ten years), after directing so many wonderful and award winning productions there, and cementing the theatre as one of the most exciting in London. Well, now we know, and we’re not disappointed.
He and Executive Producer James Bierman (who worked at the Donmar, alongside Grandage) have formed the Michael Grandage Company, a production company that will use new work and the classical and Twentieth Century repertoire to produce theatre and later on, film and TV. What’s different about the Michael Grandage Company though, as opposed to any other ambitious production company, is its genuine commitment to reach out to new audiences. There will be a full education programme during the whole season, for example,(including free seats for first time theatre goers from various London schools), and, great news for all of us, over 200 tickets for the each play (over 100,000 in all) on sale for £10 each.
And trust us, this is a season of plays you really want to see. As you might expect with Michael Grandage, a writer’s and actor’s director if ever there was one, he has attracted mega-watt talent. Judi Dench, Ben Wishaw, Simon Russell Beale, Jude Law, Sheridan Smith, Daniel Radcliffe and David Walliams star in the first season, which opens with Peter Nichols’ Privates on Parade starring Russell Beale on 1st December 2012 at the Noel Coward Theatre. Following that play will be four more in 2013 and into the early part of 2014: Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan (Radcliffe), Henry V (Jude Law), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Walliams and Smith), and Peter and Alice (Dench and Wishaw) – a new play by American writer John Logan, who wrote the multi-award winning play Red, as well as films such as Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator and Hugo. There are tickets available for all the plays at all prices at the moment, including plenty for £10, but be warned, there won’t be for long, so book now, even if you have to wait till 2014 to see something. The difficult question is, which play will you book for? The easy answer, of course, is, at £10 a pop and spread out over more than a year, all five.