Why is the company called Cheek by Jowl?
The name conveys an intimacy between the actors, the audience and the text.
The phrase 'cheek by jowl' is quoted from A Midsummer Night's Dream, "Follow! Nay, I'll go with thee cheek by jowl". Act III, Scene ii.
Where is Cheek by Jowl based?
Cheek by Jowl is an Associate Artist of the Barbican, London. Its office is situated within the Barbican's theatre department. As an international touring company it also employs consultant producers based in Paris, Moscow, and other regular tour destinations.
I want to work with Cheek by Jowl - how do I get in touch?
For each new Cheek by Jowl production, a Casting Director is appointed so please do not send unsolicited CVs as we are unable to accept them.
Our Casting Director for UK productions is Siobhan Bracke whose details can be found on the Casting Directors Guild's website.
If you are interested in being considered for a role, please ask your agent to get in touch with her directly.
If you would like to be considered for a creative or technical role, please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get in touch should a position become available.
Cheek by Jowl will advertise for any office-based roles on its jobs page.
For creative/technical work experience:
If you would like to be considered for a creative or technical work placement, please send your CV to email@example.com and someone will get in touch should something come up.
For office-based work experience:
Cheek by Jowl will advertise for any upcoming office-based work experience or internships on its jobs page.
Does Cheek by Jowl accept unsolicited scripts?
Unfortunately, the company does not have the resources to accept unsolicited scripts.
In the UK, we would suggest submitting new work to venues such as Soho Theatre, The Bush, The Royal Court, The National Theatre, The Old Red Lion, Finborough Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre 503 or the Hull Truck Theatre Company, all of which have proactive literary departments and accept unsolicited work.
Where can I find information to help me with my essay, research or dissertation?
The primary source of information about the company's work is the online archive.
Here you will find a huge variety of resources including photographs, video clips, reviews, interviews, original designs, programmes, education packs and more. The biographies will give you information about the key contributors and the press section includes access to the full texts of articles on Cheek by Jowl.
In addition, Declan Donnellan's page on acting provide an insight into his approach to direction and some extracts from his book, and our YouTube channel includes trailers and a new series of behind the scenes videos featuring interviews with the casts and creatives behind Cheek by Jowl's shows.
For more information on the archive please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I interview Declan Donnellan or Nick Ormerod?
Cheek by Jowl hires a Press Agent to look after all UK press. Please contact email@example.com for UK press enquiries.
Please contact the Marketing Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org for any international press enquiries.
We are very sorry but because of their schedules it's not usually possible to interview Declan Donnellan or Nick Ormerod for essay, research or dissertation purposes, however we have posted the texts of some published interviews on the archive. If your questions have not been answered please do get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Can I watch performance recordings of Cheek by Jowl's shows?
Cheek by Jowl receives a lot of requests for performance recordings of its work such as Cymbeline. The following are available to watch at the V&A's Theatre and Performance Archive at Blythe House, London. You will need to make an appointment by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
As You Like It by William Shakespeare, Albery Theatre, London, February 1995 (2hrs 55mins)
The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, Wyndham's Theatre, London, January 1996 (2hrs 40mins)
Much Ado About Nothing William Shakespeare, Playhouse Theatre, London, July 1998 (2hrs 30mins)
Homebody/Kabul by Tony Kushner, Young Vic Theatre, London, June 2002 (3hrs 16mins)
Measure for Measure and Ubu Roi were the first productions professionally filmed for public viewing and live streamed from the Barbican Centre and Lincoln Center respectively.
In 2017, The Winter’s Tale was live streamed from the Barbican Centre and the recording made available online for several weeks. Later in the year, it was re-released as part of a free on-demand service. The recording was made possible due to the support of the Barbican Centre, and funding from The Space, Arts Council England and the BBC and reached over 80.000 spectators.
Sign up to our newsletter to find out about upcoming livestreams and productions.
If you are an academic, student or teacher and would like to view The Winter’s Tale or Measure for Measure for educational purposes, please contact email@example.com and have a look at our Education Programme.
Where can I buy 'The Actor and the Target'?
Declan Donnellan's book, The Actor and the Target, is published by Nick Hern Books and is available online and in bookshops.
Click here for more information...
Can I watch rehearsals or take photographs?
The company's rehearsals are closed to everyone except those participating in the production. We regret to say that we do not allow people in to watch, nor is it possible to take photographs of rehearsals.
Foreign Language Theatre FAQ
I may not speak Russian, but the acting was so luminous in Declan Donnellan's Twelfth Night that I felt as if I understood every wordThe Guardian
Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod have worked, in recent years, with Russian and French actors as well as English. Every show they create is performed to audiences for whom the play is not in their first language. This can be an incredibly liberating experience: instead of concentrating on every word of the text, the audience can allow themselves to be engrossed in the world on stage which should not rely on words alone to communicate its meaning.
Our Russian Work
Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, the artistic directors of Cheek by Jowl, are in the unusual position of being considered national treasures in two countries - their native England and their adoptive Russia.The Independent
In 1999, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod (Cheek by Jowl's Artistic Directors) were commissioned by the Chekhov International Festival to form a Russian ensemble. Featuring some of Russia's finest actors, the ensemble first performed in 2000 at the Moscow Arts Theatre with Boris Godunov by Pushkin.
Since then, this new Russian company has won awards at home in Moscow and has performed across the world from Sydney to Buenos Aires. Cheek by Jowl's Russian repertoire includes Boris Godunov, Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, Twelfth Night, The Tempest and Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare.
You can find out more about these productions in our archive.
Our French Work
Following their performances of Le Cid and As You Like It at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, Peter Brook commissioned Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod to form a company of French actors. Their first production was to be Andromaque by Racine.
Andromaque was invited to perform across Europe, including the UK, before returning once more to Paris. Ubu Roi is the second production with this ensemble of actors. The show has toured across France, the UK and Europe as well as performing in the United States and Mexico.
You can find out more about these productions in our archive.
Périclès, Prince de Tyr, opening in 2018, is the third Cheek by Jowl production in French with this group of actors.
Hugely impressive, a great torrent of passionate language flowing like white-hot lavaThe Daily Telegraph
Intense, raw...The acting is superbThe Financial Times
Will I understand it?
Surtitles above or to the sides of the stage translate the text so that you can always follow what is going on. Many people find that rather than focus on the words, the movement and expressiveness of the actors allows them to follow the story.
What are surtitles?
Surtitles are like subtitles on a film or television programme, only rather than being displayed at the bottom of the screen, they are projected above or to the sides of the stage. They display the text or dialogue as it is spoken on stage. Sometimes they display an edited version of the text rather than an exact and full translation to allow the audience to read what is going on whilst still watching the stage. It quickly becomes natural to glance up at them without missing any of action. Indeed, many people forget they are there at all.
Cheek by Jowl International Work
Cheek by Jowl work in Russian, French and English and tour this work internationally - every show we produce is performed to audiences for whom the play is not in their first language. This can be an incredibly liberating experience: instead of concentrating on every word of the text, the audience can allow themselves to be engrossed in the world on stage which should not rely on words alone to communicate its meaning.
What the Critics said...
Hugely impressive, a great torrent of passionate language flowing like dangerous white-hot lava. What's more, it is easy to follow with the help of surtitles. Indeed, even with my rusty schoolboy French, I was able to get the gist of what was going on without looking at them, so powerful is the acting, so precise the verbal delivery.'The Telegraph on Andromaque
[Declan Donnellan] certainly knows how to inspire non-English-speaking actors to make their mother tongues peal with truth and life for us'Evening Standard on Andromaque
There have and will be countless productions with the full text, but I cannot imagine another that will deliver the non-verbal poetry these Russian actors communicate to the audience as casually as if they were tossing roses.Sunday Telegraph on Twelfth Night
The glorious surprise of this Twelfth Night ... is in how it finds an alchemical substance in Shakespeare that transcends the verbal. At first I was distracted by the telegraphic nature of the supertitles. But Mr. Donnellan and Mr. Ormerod...make the heretical case that the essence of Shakespeare isn't exclusively linguistic. The words, it seems, are but steppingstones to a universal pattern of images and insights about human behavior and the perplexing world that thwarts and shapes it. Shakespeare's first language, it would seem, is not English, after all; it's Theater.New York Times on Twelfth Night
What a pleasure it is to hear Chekhov in Russian. I barely understand a word of the language, but you can follow the dialogue with the help of surtitles, and there is a vigour and urgency about the sound of the language that instantly banishes the wan, droopy quality of second-rate English productions of Chekhov.Charles Spencer, The Telegraph on Three Sisters in Russian
What audience members said...
I don't speak French but I was absolutely transfixed by Cheek By Jowl's production of Andromaque - I could respond to the rhythms and the beauty of the language in a very uncomplicated way, and the meaning was evoked by the dynamics between the characters, their destructive passions, loyalties and betrayals. When something real happens on stage, it is impossible not to engage and react as an audience member, and the creation of human truths is what Cheek By Jowl knows how to do so brilliantly. Although language is a very important part of a play, this production spoke to me as a non-French speaker on a level that seemed to transcend language. Watching the play was indeed a unique and powerful experience. I can't wait for the next tour, whether it be an English or foreign language production.'Audience Member, Andromaque, Cambridge Arts Theatre
A survey was conducted in 2007 when Cheek by Jowl toured Three Sisters in Russian. 90% of those interviewed said that they would like to see foreign language theatre again.
These audience comments on Cheek by Jowl's Russian Twelfth Night were posted onto a Guardian blog:
I saw Cheek by Jowl's production at the Lowry in Salford...cramped seating, a warm evening. Two minutes in, though, I was enraptured. The characterisation was perfect, and the physicality of the humour was exaggerated by the foreign tongue. We loved it.'Posted by ThomasC
One of the reasons this production works so well even for non-Russian speakers is that it's such a visual play and fairly short, especially at the wonderful Cheek by Jowl pace.'Posted by LawrenceNight