Popped along to the National Theatre platform with Michael Grandage this evening. He's got a book to promote except its not quite ready yet. Whoops. Anyhow, the book is about his 10 years at the Donmar so it was lots of talk about that and some other stuff.
How he became artistic director at the Donmar:
Fell in love with space as different from three spaces at Sheffield where was already working as artistic director. Had two years left to run on contract at Sheffield and said 'didn't know what possessed me to apply'.
Was determined to see out his contract at Sheffield and asked to do both jobs but initially Donmar said no, later changed their minds so spent a lot of time on trains between Sheffield and London.
His plans when he started out:
He had got interested and excited by the European repertoire of plays while working at the Almeida and wanted to explore that further, particularly plays that hadn't been staged in London before.
Changes made at the Donmar:
Brought with him things he'd learnt about running a theatre while in Sheffield for example, Sheffield toured productions but Donmar didn't, neither did it have an education programme.
He said there were a lot of producing theatres already in London but had a policy 'if we liked a new play we would do it'.
How the Wyndhams season came about:
Wyndhams season came about because Othello was sold out and tickets were changing hands on the internet for 'silly money'. Run couldn't be extended the because of the actors commitments. Around that time the term 'boutique theatre' was being banded about and 'I was accused of being one'. Didn't like that label so made 10% of seats available on the day and capped advance sales.
Talked to a lot of actors who wanted to come to the Donmar but thought about fact that only 250 people a night would see them. Donmar production in the West End with Donmar ticket prices came as a result.
"At one period we had productions in four continents so definitely playing to more than 250 people a night"