Director. Born August 1, 1965, in Redding, England. Raised by his mother, an author of
childrenís books, after his parentsí divorce, Mendes grew up in north London. He attended
Cambridge University, graduating in 1987. After graduation, he got a low-level job at the
Chichester Festival Theater. When a veteran director dropped out of a production of London
Assurance, the 23-year-old Mendes was asked to step in. The production became a hit, and
soon moved to Haymarketís Theatre Royal. Mendesís second effort, The Cherry Orchard,
starring Dame Judi Dench, opened later that same year.
By the end of 1991, Mendes had staged several productions for the renowned Royal
Shakespeare Company, including Troilus and Cressida, starring Ralph Fiennes, and The
Alchemist. He also helmed the acclaimed The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (1992), starring Jane
Horrocks, which was adapted into a 1998 film version, Little Voice, co-starring Horrocks and
In 1992, Mendes became the artistic director for the Donmar Warehouse, Londonís prestigious
non-profit theater. At the Donmar, Mendes staged innovative productions of Richard III (1993)
and The Glass Menagerie (1996), as well as a striking update of Cabaret, which opened in
1994 and featured Horrocks and Alan Cumming. Also in 1994, he directed a hit revival of Oliver!
at the London Palladium, which became the theaterís longest-running production to date in 1998.
Mendes forged a friendship with legendary playwright Stephen Sondheim, directing a version of
his Assassins in 1992 at the Donmar and a highly popular London revival of Company in 1996.
Considered one of Britainís hottest directing c...