Drawing: Michael Grandage

Michael Grandage

Anyone raised in Penzance, Cornwall must end up in some form of theatrical vocation and that’s exactly what happened to Michael Grandage, who not only works in theatre but is one of Britain’s leading directors and producers. He has won over 13 awards, including an Olivier and a Tony. From 2002 to 2012 he succeeded Sam Mendes as the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse.

He then established the Michael Grandage Company with James Bierman. They have just completed a fifteen month season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End aimed at reaching a new generation of theatregoers through pricing and access with 100,000 £10 seats. Michael directed all five productions, including Privates on Parade with Simon Russell Beale, John Logan’s new play Peter and Alice with Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw, Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan and two Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, finishing with Jude Law as Henry V.

Michael is currently taking a break from the boards to direct Genius with Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender.

Drawing: Jude Law and Jessie Buckley in Henry V at The Noël Coward Theatre

Henry VThe inaugural season of work for the Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre comprising of five productions ended with the final performance of Henry V, starring Jude Law as the national hero, come war criminal monarch.

After a pioneering 15 month season, the star-studded team played to 390,000 people, with a quarter of the tickets sold for £10. At the heart of the Company’s philosophy was to offer affordable seats to attract a new generation of fans. A third were bought by first time theatre goers.

Jude was the last big draw, in a season that included Simon Russell Beale, Dame Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw, Sheridan Smith and David Walliams. On the final night he and Jessie Buckley (Princess Katharine) signed my sketch.