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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 16:55 GMT
Mendes leaves theatre job
Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes has enjoyed success on stage and in film
Sam Mendes has announced that he is to leave London's Donmar Warehouse theatre after 10 years as artistic director.

The Oscar-winning director, best known for American Beauty and The Blue Room, will leave his position at Christmas 2002, but will retain his affiliation with the Donmar as Founding Director.

"It is time to hand the Donmar on to another generation," said Mendes.

"This is a hard but fitting decision to make, and we believe it is the right way to ensure the Donmar's ongoing development as a vibrant, influential theatre."

Success

Mendes' career at the Donmar - a 250-seat studio theatre - led to 70 productions, including Assassins, Translations, Glengarry Glen Ross, Habeus Corpus, The Fix and The Front Page.

The director also launched Jane Horrocks's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, followed by Company and The Glass Menagerie into the West End.

The Blue Room
Nicole Kidman starred in The Blue Room

But he is perhaps best known as the man who persuaded Hollywood star Nicole Kidman to make her London stage debut in the Donmar Warehouse production of David Hare's The Blue Room, which was also to transfer successfully to Broadway.

Mendes went on to make his directional film debut with American Beauty. This dark suburban drama, won five Oscars at the 72nd Academy Awards - including best picture and best director.

The announcement of his Donmar departure comes just days after Mendes confirmed that he was having a relationship with the actress Kate Winslet.

Mendes recently told the Mail newspaper: "I am delighted to express my delight at being with Kate. Yes, we are having a relationship. It's early days, and we are very happy."

See also:

20 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Beauty's Golden Globe rush
19 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Mendes confirms Winslet affair
05 Nov 99 | Tom Brook
Sam steals the show in Toronto
19 Nov 01 | Film
Mendes' Midas touch
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