Sam Mendes began his theatre career as Assistant Director at the Chichester Festival Theatre and was the first Artistic Director of the Minerva in 1989. In 1992 Sam founded the Donmar Warehouse where he was the Artistic Director until 2002.
While at the Donmar Warehouse, he directed: Assassins (Olivier and Evening Standard awards), Translations, Cabaret, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Glass Menagerie (Olivier Award), Company (Olivier Award), Habeas Corpus, The Front Page, The Blue Room, To the Green Fields Beyond, and Uncle Vanya (Olivier and Evening Standard Awards) and Twelfth Night (Olivier and Evening Standard Awards). In the West End: The Cherry Orchard (Critic’s circle Award), The Plough and the Stars, Kean, London Assurance, and Oliver!, which ran for 4 years at the London Palladium.
RSC: Troilus and Cressida, The Alchemist, The Tempest, Richard III.
NT: King Lear, The Sea, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Evening Standard Award), The Birthday Party and Othello. Broadway productions include: (as producer) The Real Thing and Take Me Out (Tony Awards) and Shrek the Musical. As director The Blue Room, Gypsy, The Vertical Hour and Cabaret (Tony Award.)
Film Credits include: Bond 24, Bond: Skyfall, Away We Go, Revolutionary Road, American Beauty (Academy Award Best Director and Best Picture, Golden Globe, DGA Award), Road to Perdition and Jarhead.
In 2009, his transatlantic company, The Bridge Project, debuted with productions of A Winter’s Tale and The Cherry Orchard led by Simon Russell Beale and Ethan Hawke. The plays opened in New York and arrived at the Old Vic in May of 2009 after an international tour. In 2010, The Bridge Project entered its second year with productions of As You Like It and The Tempest, led by Stephen Dillane. The third and final season in 2011 has Kevin Spacey taking the lead in Richard III. In 2013 his production of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory opened in London’s West End.
He has been the recipient of the Director’s Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in the theatre. He was made a CBE in 2000.