Declan Donnellan Director

Declan Donnellan is co-founder and joint Artistic Director of Cheek by Jowl, with designer Nick Ormerod.

Declan Donnellan, Irlandais d'origine, Anglais d'éducation, Européen de culture, universel de pensée, est l'un des metteurs en scène les plus originaux qui soient. Le Figaro

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, before being called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1978.

He and his partner, Nick Ormerod, formed Cheek by Jowl in 1981 and he has since directed over 30 productions for the company, touring to nearly 400 cities, spanning six continents. Work with Cheek by Jowl includes his cross-gender, colour-blind cast As You Like It with Adrian Lester, hailed as the definitive production by critics the world over. Donnellan has also staged the English premieres, 300 years after their writing, of major European classics by writers such as Racine, Corneille, Lessing and Ostrovski to great acclaim.

In 1989, Donnellan was made Associate Director of the Royal National Theatre in London where his productions have included Fuenteovejuna, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, The Mandate and both parts of Angels in America.

In 2000, he formed a company of actors in Moscow, under the auspices of The Chekhov International Theatre Festival, whose productions include Boris Godunov, Twelfth Night, Three Sisters, and The Tempest. These productions have already been seen in in more than 25 countries.

His book, The Actor and the Target, originally published in Russian (2001), has since appeared in 15 languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, German, Romanian and Mandarin, and the second English edition was published in 2005. Donnellan also wrote the play Lady Betty, bringing Ireland's notorious hangwoman to the stage with Cheek by Jowl in 1989. His adaptation credits for the company include Don't Fool with Love by Alfred de Musset, Antigone by Sophocles, The Mandate by Erdman and Masquerade by Lermontov.

Donnellan has received awards in London, Moscow, Paris and New York, including four Olivier Awards for Director of the Year (1987), Best Director of a Musical (1994), Best Director of a Play (1995), and Outstanding Achievement (1990). In February of 2004 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France, and in 2009 he shared the Charlemagne award with Craig Venter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Other productions include: Shakespeare in Love (Noël Coward Theatre), The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (English National Opera), Martin Guerre (Prince Edward Theatre), Hayfever (Savoy Theatre), Antigone (The Old Vic), Verdi's Falstaff (Salzburg Festival), The Winter's Tale (Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg), and Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet for the Bolshoi Ballet.

For the Royal Shakespeare Company: The School for Scandal, King Lear (RSC Academy), and his co-adaptation of Great Expectations.

His first feature film, Bel Ami, co-directed with Nick Ormerod, and starring Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, and Robert Pattinson, was released in 2012.

Video Interviews

Declan Donnellan discusses...

Audio Interviews

Declan Donnellan: To Russia with Love

Declan Donnellan discusses his connection with Russia. First broadcast on BBC Radio 3's The Essay, produced by Sasha Yevtushenko.