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Spotlight on Sam Mendes

As Sam Mendes returns to the West End with The Ferryman at the Royal Court and its upcoming transfer to the Gielgud we look back on his varied career as a director.

A Cambridge graduate, at age 24 Mendes was directing Judi Dench in The Cherry Orchard, before moving on to direct productions at the RSC. He later moved to Chichester Festival Theatre where he worked as assistant director on various productions. Aged just 25 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse, spending two years overseeing a re-design which has led to the Donmar becoming one of the West End’s most respected theatre spaces. His season at the Donmar opened with Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and included productions of Cabaret and Oliver! The revivals were great successes, going on to Broadway and winning multiple awards.

He inevitably moved into film and his debut, American Beauty, was not only received with financial acclaim but with critical acclaim too, winning Mendes nearly all the major awards for directing, including the Oscar. In recent years, his film attentions have been focused on James Bond, which he has combined with a return to theatre. In 2013 he directed Simon Russell Beale in their eighth collaboration together and returned to musicals in the form of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Mendes has used his star power to create the Bridge Project, a collaboration between American and British actors staged in both countries.

The Ferryman became the Royal Court's fastest-selling show of all time prompting the announcement of its transfer to the Gielgud before the opening of its Royal Court run.


Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.


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