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Not True, But Useful…
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Bonus Episodes

Released from December 2021

Episode 12
Time

Time is never the character’s friend – but this makes it useful to the actor. In this episode, Declan chats to Lucie about time in Shakespeare’s texts, and how there is never enough of it. He emphasises the importance of liveness in theatre, and the interconnectedness this creates.
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Episode 11
Treacherous Exercises

Declan talks to Lucie about a question he can’t stand: can he share the exercises he uses in the rehearsal room? He urges directors to ask not for a technique, but for what they’re trying to achieve, and talks about how he himself is constantly observing in order to become more attentive to the needs of the actor.
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Episode 10
Flow

Lucie talks to Declan about his favourite word in the rehearsal room: Flow. Flow is like love, like a football match, like a good evening spent with friends. For actors, flow is being a part of the living thing on the stage, and focusing what’s outside and within you.
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Episode 9
The Art of Forgetting Things

Imposter syndrome is another longstanding problem that most actors face. For Declan, however, it is not unique to actors: the characters of Shakespeare’s plays all go through these same feelings. In this episode, Declan talks to Lucie about how the relationship between the actor and Shakespeare’s texts should be equal, and how those characters also go through their own insecurities 
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Episode 8
Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is another longstanding problem that most actors face. For Declan, however, it is not unique to actors: the characters of Shakespeare’s plays all go through these same feelings. In this episode, Declan talks to Lucie about how the relationship between the actor and Shakespeare’s texts should be equal, and how those characters also go through their own insecurities 
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Episode 7
The Problem of Not Feeling

In this episode, Declan chats to Lucie about the age-old problem actors face of not ‘feeling’ what their character feels, and whether the character themselves might be feeling anything at all. Declan talks about the theatre of feeling in everyday life, and how all the world is indeed a stage.
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Episode 6
Oedipus

In this episode, Declan and Lucie discuss the transgression and intensity of Sophocles’ classic tragedy, Oedipus. They talk about Declan and Nick’s upcoming production of Oedip Rege in Craiova, how ideas can drastically change over a production period, and how even today Oedipus can be truly frightening.
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Episode 5
Shakespeare and Love

In this episode, Declan and Lucie discuss the subject of love in As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet. They talk about the BBC Open University documentary on Cheek by Jowl’s production of As You Like It, which you can watch here.
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Episode 4
To Be Or Not To Be

Beginning with a reading of Hamlet, Declan dives deep into the universal themes of (non-)existence, futility, and being driven by the fear of anonymity.
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Episode 3
The Element of Surprise

In this episode, Declan and Lucie talk about the issue of heightened behaviour and the act of being surprised on stage and on screen.
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Episode 2
Body and Meaning

In Episode 2, Declan joins Lucie to discuss the limitations of language and how the body ought to be prioritised in the rehearsal space.
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Episode 1
Character Revisited

In this first episode of our winter mini-series, Declan revisits ‘character’, a much discussed subject, and questions how useful it may be in rehearsal to the actor and director exploring a play.
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Series Three

Released May-July 2021

Series 3, Episode 9
Extra Tagliatelle

To mark 40 years since our first ever touring production – The Country Wife –  we’re delighted to release a bonus episode of Series 3…
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Series 3, Episode 8
Troilus and Cressida

In Episode 8, Declan and Nick discuss Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare’s scathing anti-war satire on glory, chivalry and doomed love. Find out why the play is possibly the most un-Shakespearean of Shakespeare’s plays, the dangers of ‘truth’, and the importance of reserving one’s judgment when approaching a work of art.
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Series 3, Episode 7
Much Ado About Nothing

Declan and Nick take a deep dive into one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies, Much Ado About Nothing. They join Lucie to discuss the darkness beneath the play’s lightness, the horror and dread in Beatrice and Benedick’s love story, and how it has become the blueprint for many modern romcoms…
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Series 3, Episode 6
The Revenger’s Tragedy

This week’s discussion takes us back to Cheek by Jowl’s last live onstage production before the lockdown of 2020, The Revenger’s Tragedy by Thomas Middleton. In this episode, Declan and Nick speak about theatre as a problem-solving business, and what Middleton’s play teaches us about being right and our need to seek justice…
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Series 3, Episode 5
Measure for Measure

This week, Declan and Nick talk the politics of acting, the importance of ensemble, and the danger of logic in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure
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Series 3, Episode 4
Three Sisters

If you think Chekhov’s plays are about nothing happening – think again! This week, Declan, Nick and Lucie discuss Three Sisters, another play of love, loss and self-deception in which – from the very first line – the protagonists are faced with an overwhelming predicament…
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Series 3, Episode 3
Hamlet

Declan and Nick join Lucie to discuss Hamlet, including their experiences of staging the play as a ballet for the Bolshoi, the difference between what we say and what we do, and Hamlet’s greatest fear: non-existence.
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Series 3, Episode 2
Twelfth Night

This week, Declan, Nick and Lucie discuss Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s great tale of love, loss, and self-deception.
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Series 3, Episode 1
Macbeth

To kick off Series 3, Declan and Nick join Lucie Dawkins to discuss Macbeth, a play that continues to reveal new things to us, including the universal problems of loneliness, gratitude, and the danger of trying to solve life’s great mysteries.
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Series Two

Released November 2020-January 2021

Series 2, Episode 8
Cymbeline

Declan, Nick and Lucie discuss Shakespeare’s ‘badly behaved’ play Cymbeline. They chat about empathy, the idea of ‘realism’, inventing one’s own exercises…
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Series 2, Episode 7
Boris Godunov

We head to Russia to discuss Pushkin’s great lyrical masterpiece Boris Godunov, a compelling exposé of the seductive appeal of power…
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Series 2, Episode 6
The Changeling

Declan, Nick and Lucie deep dive into The Changeling, a bloody Jacobean tragedy filled with lunatics, ghosts, horror, sex and obsession…
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Series 2, Episode 5
The Tempest

How does theatre make us less alone? What is the role that the audience has to play in the act of art? What does Shakespeare have to teach us about humanity and forgiveness…
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Series 2, Episode 4
As You Like It
“If it’s not painful, it ain’t love!”
This week, Declan and Nick discuss Shakespeare’s As You Like It, paying special attention to their landmark 1991 production starring Adrian Lester as Rosalind…
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Series 2, Episode 3
Ubu Roi

Blood, sex, tyranny, and sausages! Declan and Nick join Lucie to discuss Ubu Roi, Alfred Jarry’s gruesome and raucous 1896 satire.
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Series 2, Episode 2
Tis Pity She’s A Whore

Tis Pity She’s a Whore is a vivid and violent Jacobean tragedy about a brother and sister’s passionate descent into hell. It is also the first production Declan and Nick ever worked on together…
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Series 2, Episode 1
The Winter’s Tale

Declan and Nick discuss Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a play in which unity of time, place and action are hurled aside as we range across Europe…
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Series One

Released April-June 2020

Series 1, Episode 10
Tagliatelle

Like the delicious Italian meal made from the remainders of other pasta, in this episode we have assembled the tastiest bonus offcuts from the interviews for Season One…
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Series 1, Episode 9
Character and Process

In this episode, Declan Donnellan talks about motive, and ways of examining why people in real life and characters in plays do what they do…
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Series 1, Episode 8
Encountering the Predicament

Declan and Nick talk about the predicament of being a human, and how that helps us to think about plays. They consider cats, Breaking Bad, Shakespeare, Beckett, cheese trolleys on the Titanic…
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Series 1, Episode 7
Design Deep Dive

Co-Artistic Director Nick Ormerod joins Lucie to dive into the world of theatre design, discussing how design can be informed by the space and the actors…
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Series 1, Episode 6
Why We Do What We Do

In this episode, Declan Donnellan talks about motive, and ways of examining why people in real life and characters in plays do what they do. He talks about dread as a motor …
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Series 1, Episode 5
Words Grown False

Declan and Nick talk about how words can behave treacherously, and explore what this means with staging the great plays. With Fawlty Towers, detective novels, Three Sisters, Othello all in the mix…
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Series 1, Episode 4
Scenes and Sandcastles

In this episode, Declan and Nick discuss an important idea in their work: ‘Thresholds’. They share with us lessons they have learned about the theatre from holidays in Margate, King Kong, and newborn babies…
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Series 1, Episode 3
Into the Woods

In this episode, Declan and Nick talk about the history of their collaboration, and the way they work together as director and designer. They map 40 years of a shared creative life…
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Series 1, Episode 2
Space and Shakespeare

What do lobsters, Shakespeare, the room next door, and our lockdown all have in common? They all have something to tell us about space and the theatre…
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Series 1, Episode 1
Thoughts from Inside Quarantine

In this first episode, Cheek by Jowl’s Artistic Director Declan Donnellan talks to Lucie Dawkins about his thoughts on life, quarantine, making theatre, the brain and Macbeth…
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“Have a listen to this brilliant podcast… for some isolation insights into Shakespeare and making theatre. As ever, some very shiny pearls of wisdom”

Listener response on social media

“Been audio binging on Cheek by Jowl’s ‘Not True, But Useful’ podcast today – opening up completely new ways to look at text and performance. Highly recommended”

Listener response on social media

“Declan is never anything but interesting when he talks (so fluently) about theatre. His thoughts on “encounter”, particularly in the current situation, are very telling”

Listener response on social media

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