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.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Game of Thrones actress Aimee Richardson begs for 'other princess work' after Myrcella Baratheon part is recast
Cultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
The Walking Dead season 5 will see deaths of 'favourite characters', suggests Andrew Lincoln
Star Wars Episode 7: Simon Pegg hints at role
Big Bang Theory: Filming delayed by contract disputes over actors' pay
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >