Declan Donnellan is joint founder of Cheek by Jowl with Nick Ormerod. He is joint Artistic Director of the company.
Declan Donnellan was born in England of Irish parents in 1953. He grew up in London and read English and Law at Queens' College, Cambridge. He was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1978.
He and his partner, Nick Ormerod, formed Cheek by Jowl in 1981 and he has directed 25 productions for the company.
In 1989 he was made Associate Director of the Royal National Theatre in London where his productions have included Fuenteovenjuna, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate and both parts of Angels in America.
For the Royal Shakespeare Company he has directed The School for Scandal, King Lear (Academy 2002) and Great Expectations.
He has also directed Le Cid for the Avignon Festival, Falstaff for the Salzburg Festival and the ballet of Romeo and Juliet for the Bolshoi in Moscow. Other work in Russia includes The Winter's Tale for the Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg.
In 2000 he formed a company of actors in Moscow, under the auspices of The Chekhov Festival, whose productions include Boris Godunov, Twelfth Night and Three Sisters.
He has written a play, Lady Betty, which was performed by Cheek by Jowl in 1989. He has also adapted Don't Fool with Love by de Musset, Antigone by Sophocles, The Mandate by Erdman and Masquerade by Lermontov.
He has received awards in Moscow, Paris, New York and London, including three Laurence Olivier Awards — Director of the Year (1987), Best Director of a Play (1995) and the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement (1990). In 1992 he was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Warwick and in 2004 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France.
First published in Russian (2001), Declan Donnellan's book The Actor and the Target has subsequently been published in English (2002, reprinted 2005), French, Spanish and Italian.