Josie Rourke: Donmar Warehouse's artistic director to leave in 2019

Josie Rourke and Kate PakenhamImage copyright
Dan Wooller

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Rourke (left) and Pakenham took over the Donmar six years ago

Josie Rourke, artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse theatre since 2012, is to step down from her post in 2019.

Her departure coincides with that of executive producer Kate Pakenham, who will leave the theatre in June.

The pair were the first female partnership to run a London theatre.

Their tenure has seen such productions as The Vote, a play about the 2015 UK general election that was shown on television on election night itself, and an all-female Shakespeare trilogy.

Tom Hiddleston, Gemma Arterton and Sir Lenny Henry are among the star names who have appeared in shows staged under their watch.

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Manuel Harlan/Johan Persson

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Dame Judi Dench and Tom Hiddleston are among the stars to appear during their tenure

“Leading the Donmar is one of the great privileges of London theatre, and doing so in partnership with Kate Pakenham has been one of the great joys,” said Rourke.

“I am so grateful for the chance to have brought new plays, new audiences and new talent to its stage.

“I was proud to be the first woman director to run a major London theatre, but I’m even prouder that the landscape has now changed beyond recognition, and forever.

“It will be a year before I say my final goodbye and I look forward to celebrating all that is great about the Donmar and its artists over the next 12 months before pursuing my next creative challenges.”

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The Donmar’s City of Angels won an Olivier for best musical revival in 2015

Rourke recently directed her first feature film – Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie – which will be released in November this year.

Sam Mendes and Michael Grandage served as artistic director at the Donmar before Rourke began her tenure in January 2012.

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