Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


Josie Rourke

Josie Rourke is an acclaimed theatre and film director, and the former Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse and the Bush Theatre in London.

During her time at the Bush she programmed early work from some of our best playwrights, including James Graham, Lucy Kirkwood, Nick Payne, Penelope Skinner and Jack Thorne.

During her tenure as the first female Artistic Director at the Donmar between 2012 and 2019, there were a great many notable productions, including Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female Shakespeare Trilogy, Mark Gatiss in The Recruiting Officer, Tom Hiddleston in Corialanus, and Conor McPherson’s The Weir, which also transferred to the West End. Likewise her production of Les Liaison Dangereuse in 2015 transferred to both the West End and Broadway. Other credits at the Donmar include: Saint Joan, Measure for Measure, Sweet Charity, The Vote, The Machine, and Privacy.

Other directing includes Much Ado About Nothing, with Davis Tennant and Catherine Tate; the musical City of Angels; and Men Should Weep at the National Theatre.

Her most recent theatre credits include As You Like It at the new Soho Place theatre in December last year, and Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons starring Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman in the West End earlier this year.

She has also directed the film Mary Queen of Scots, starring Sercha Ronan and Margot Robbie, which earned BAFTA and Oscar award nominations. Her last screen project was Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads with Jodie Comer.

Josie Rourke in rehearsal at the National Theatre
Photo by Manuel Harlan

Recommended Play(s)

Josie recommended two plays: The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare,
and 2nd May 1997 by JackThorne.