To celebrate 40 years of Cheek by Jowl, Lev Dodin, artistic director of the Maly Drama Theatre, St Petersburg, sent the company a personal message, reflecting upon the years of friendship between the artists that have lasted to this day.
I cannot say I’ve known and admired you and your work for all the 40 years Cheek by Jowl has existed – but I have not fallen far behind. In 1986 in Finland, I’ve met you and after becoming friends first with you I have then gotten to meet, know and love the Cheek by Jowl company around the many international Festivals we’ve all been lucky enough (as we understand now) to perform at together. Your Family Affair, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, your Russian productions – first in St-Petersburg and then in Moscow – I remember all the Cheek by Jowl productions I’ve seen, they are all – though very differently mesmerising – soaked in your passion for theatre that’s alive and for acting that’s alive.
I am terribly proud, to be honest, that our theatre was the first Russian theatre Cheek by Jowl has collaborated with. So today I can congratulate you and everyone who had been or is a part of Cheek by Jowl on your wonderful company turning 40 years young with a certain sense of me being a part of those 40 years! Your company shares your gift of doing the most venerable classics as if it were written today and doing the newest new writing as if it had already become a part of the world theatre’s treasury.
It warms my heart to know with absolute certainty that together we are doing the same job – preserving something that matters. I am happy and proud that I’ve been doing this since 1986, for the last 35 years, cheek by jowl with you and your amazing company.
I hug you warmly.
Dear Cheek by Jowl company, happy 40th birthday! S Dniom Rogdenia! S Ubileem! Many happy returns!
Sincerely always yours,
Maly Drama Theatre