Good Venue Guide 31: Donmar Warehouse, WC2
Sunday 03 May 1998
Brief history: bananas. Harking back to the time when Covent Garden was famed not for its bars and boutiques but its fruit and veg, the warehouse made a living as a banana-ripening factory. It remained part of the market until the 1970s when the partnership of Donald Albery and Dame Margot Fonteyn secured the venue and converted it into a studio/performance space. Under Donald and Margot the 'Don-Mar' was born. The RSC held court there from 1977 to 1981, when Ian Albery (Donald's nephew) and Nico Burns took it over. They staged productions by some of Britain's most innovative touring companies, including the Druid Theatre Co and Cheek by Jowl. But lack of funds meant it was forced to close in 1989. It reopened in 1992 under the artistic directorship of Sam Mendes. It is the only studio theatre in central London generating productions with absolutely no public funding.
The building: a huge 19th-century warehouse. The recent redevelopment, by Renton, Howard, Wood & Levin, with a vertiginous mezzanine, 254-seat auditorium, reached by free-standing, winding metal staircases, has retained the building's airy height.
Uses: intelligent, innovative productions with starry casts (Brenda Blethyn, Zoe Wanamaker and Jim Broadbent have all appeared there since Mendes arrived); new plays, musicals (Cabaret recently transferred to Broadway) and revivals.
Current events: A triple bill of one-act Pinter plays, A Kind of Alaska with The Lover and The Collection, Thurs to 13 Jun, tickets pounds 10-25. All bookings on 0171 369 1732.
Recommended seats: centre stalls for view, top of circle for economy.
Getting there: Covent Garden tube, then a walk down Neal Street.
Where to meet: there's a bar in the stalls and another in the circle.
Cost of a glass of wine: pounds 2.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
- 2 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 3 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 4 News agency criticised for describing Amal Clooney as 'actor's wife' in coverage of human rights trial
- 5 If men are so obsessed by their genitals, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities of sex?
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
Lady Chatterley’s Lover: Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn