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Nick Ormerod

“His genius is a visual poetry of suggestion, of material minimalism”

Professor Carol Chillington Rutter, University of Warwick


Nick Ormerod is co-founder and joint Artistic Director of Cheek by Jowl with director Declan Donnellan. He has designed set and costume for the company’s productions since its inception.

“In my view, the designer (in collaboration with the director) defines the space. The act of theatre is essentially a willing conspiracy between actor and audience – one performing feats of the imagination, the other suspending their disbelief – that begins when the houselights dim, and finishes when the cast take their final bow.”
Nick Ormerod, Making a Scene: The World of Theatre Design

Rehearsal photo
Nick Ormerod. Photograph: Johan Persson.
Read the full biography

After qualifying as a barrister, Nick Ormerod trained in Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art. His first job in theatre was a year as an assistant at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. From there he went on to work with Declan Donnellan on various productions for the Royal Court and Arts Educational Schools before forming Cheek by Jowl in 1981. Since then, he and Declan Donnellan have taken work to over 400 cities, and received awards across the world.

His credits also include Fuenteovejuna, Peer Gynt, Sweeney Todd, The Mandate, and both parts of Angels in America for the National Theatre; The School for Scandal, King Lear and Great Expectations (which he also co-adapted) for the Royal Shakespeare Company; The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for the English National Opera, Martin Guerre for the Prince Edward Theatre, Hayfever for the Savoy Theatre, Antigone for The Old Vic, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet for the Bolshoi, Falstaff for the Salzburg Festival and The Revenger’s Tragedy for the Piccolo Teatro Milano. In 2012, Ormerod co-directed the feature film Bel Ami with Declan Donnellan.

Ormerod’s work is characterised by its simplicity and directness, an approach that has shaped the visual signature of the company’s work and led to winning the Corral de Comedias Award with Donnellan in 2008 and an Olivier Award nomination for Designer of the Year (1988) for A Family Affair, The Tempest and Philoctetes. In 2017, he was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to theatre design.

Complete list of works
DateProductionPlaywrightProduced by
1981The Country WifeWycherleyCheek by Jowl
1982OthelloShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1983Vanity FairThackerayCheek by Jowl
1984PericlesShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1985The Man of ModeEtheregeCheek by Jowl
1985BentShermanNorthcott Theatre
1985A Midsummer Night’s DreamShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1985A Masked BallVerdiOpera 80
1985AndromacheRacineCheek by Jowl
1986Twelfth NightShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1986The CidCorneilleCheek by Jowl
1986Romeo and JulietShakespeareNew Shakespeare Company
1987Macbeth ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1988A Family Affair OstrovskyCheek by Jowl *
1988Philoctetes SophoclesCheek by Jowl
1988The Tempest ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1989Lady Betty DonnellanCheek by Jowl *
1989Fuente Ovejunade VegaNational Theatre
1990SaraLessingCheek by Jowl *
1990Peer GyntIbsenNational Theatre
1991Hamlet ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1991Big FishDonnellanA short film
1992Angels in America: Part One KushnerNational Theatre
1992 As You Like It ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1993The Blind Mende GhelderodeCheek by Jowl *
1993Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetSondheim & WheelerNational Theatre
1993Don’t Fool With Love de MussetCheek by Jowl
1993Angels in America: Part Two KushnerNational Theatre
1994The Rise and Fall of the City of MahagonnyWeill & BrechtEnglish National Opera
1994Measure for Measure ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1995As You Like It (revival)ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1996The Duchess of Malfi WebsterCheek by Jowl
1997Out Cry Tennesse WilliamsCheek by Jowl *
1997The Winter’s TaleShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1997Martin GuerreBoublil & SchonbergPrince Edward Theatre
1998Much Ado About NothingShakespeareCheek by Jowl
1999AntigoneSophoclesOld Vic Theatre
1999Hay FeverCowardSavoy Theatre
1999The School for ScandalSheridanRoyal Shakespeare Company
2000Boris GodunovPushkinChekhov International Theatre Festival with Cheek by Jowl
2001FalstaffVerdiThe Salzburg Festival
2002Homebody/KabulKushnerCheek by Jowl *
2002King LearShakespeareRoyal Shakespeare Company Academy
2003Twelfth Night ShakespeareChekhov International Theatre Festival with Cheek by Jowl
2004Othello ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2004Romeo and JulietShakespeareThe Bolshoi Ballet
2004The MandateErdmanNational Theatre
2005Three SistersChekhovChekhov International Theatre Festival with Cheek by Jowl
2005Great ExpectationsDickensRoyal Shakespeare Company
2006The ChangelingMiddleton & RowleyCheek by Jowl
2007Cymbeline ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2007Andromaque RacineBouffes du Nord with Cheek by Jowl
2008Troilus and CressidaShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2009Macbeth ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2011The Tempest ShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2011‘Tis Pity She’s A WhoreFordChekhov International Theatre Festival with Cheek by Jowl
2012Bel AmiMaupassantFeature Film
2013Ubu Roi JarryCheek by Jowl
2013Measure for MeasureShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2014Shakespeare in LoveLee HallNoël Coward Theatre
2015HamletShakespeareThe Bolshoi Ballet
2016The Winter’s TaleShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2018Périclès, Prince de TyrShakespeareCheek by Jowl
2018The Revenger’s TragedyMiddletonPiccolo Teatro Milano
2019The Knight of the Burning PestleBeaumontCheek by Jowl

The dates represent the year each production premiered
* British première

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