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Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare
Performed in English

Brother and sister, Sebastian and Viola, who are very close and look a great deal alike, are shipwrecked separately in Illyria, both thinking the other dead.

On finding herself without means in a foreign country Viola dresses as her brother and adopts the name Cesario, becoming the man-servant and confidante to the Count Orsino.

She is sent to deliver a message of love to Lady Olivia, who instead falls in love not with the master but the messenger, who in turn is beginning to harbour feelings for her employer, Orsino.

Shakespeare’s tale of unrequited love, mistaken identity and comic wordplay is one of the best-loved of his comedies.

Produced by Cheek by Jowl. The first performance of Twelfth Night was held at the Liverpool Playhouse on 25th July 1986. 

“An epiphany… each relationship contains a far wider spectrum of emotion than one had ever imagined … the tenderness of the love-scenes errupts into ferocity.”

Sunday Telegraph
Cast and creative team


Patricia KerriganViola
David MorrisseySebastian
Patrick RomerAntonio
Keith BartlettSea Captain/Sir Toby Belch
Timothy WalkerOrsino
Alex StarrCurio
Anne WhiteOlivia
Hugh RossMalvolio
Aden GillettValentino
Melinda McGrawMaria
Stephen SimmsFeste

Creative Team

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
Musical Director/ComposerJoanna MacGregor
ChoreographerSara Van Beers
Stage Manager/Lighting DesignerAlex Starr
Mary AskhamAssistant Stage Manager
Louise PageCostume Supervisor
Previous performances

Previous Performances

22–23 May 1987Amiens, Maison de la Culture, France
19–20 May 1987Bourges, Maison de la Culture, France
16–17 May 1987Munich, Gasteif Kulturzent, Germany
12 May 1987Wuerburg, Stadttheatre, Germany
9 May 1987Tampere, Theatre Hallitus, Finland
4–6 May 1987Helsinki, National Theatre, Finland
29 April–3 May 1987Oslo, Norske Teatret, Norway
24–26 April 1987Copenhagen, Ostre Gasvoerk, Denmark
3 April 1987Plovdiv, House of Culture, Bulgaria
31 March–1 April 1987Sofia, Christo Sarafov Institute, Bulgaria
26–28 March 1987Ankara, Kucuk Theatre, Turkey
23–25 March 1987Istanbul, Venus Theatre, Turkey
12–15 February 1987Stratford-upon-Avon, Swan Theatre, UK
12 January–6 February 1987London, Donmar Warehouse, UK
19 December 1986Shewsbury, Ashton Theatre, UK
17 December 1986Kidderminster, Rose Theatre, UK
11–12 December 1986Carlisle, Stanwix Art Theatre, UK
8–9 December 1986Luton, Library Theatre, UK
1–4 December 1986Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal, UK
26 November 1986Milton Keynes, Woughton Centre, UK
24–25 November 1986Tewkesbury, Roses Theatre, UK
20 November 1986Cambridge, Cambridge Arts Theatre, UK
11 November 1986Stamford, Arts Centre, UK
3–4 November 1986Hull, Spring Street Theatre, UK
31 October 1986Hereford, New Theatre, UK
29 October 1986Chipping Norton, The Theatre, UK
22 October 1986Brighton, Gardner Centre, UK
20–21 October 1986Ipswich, Wolsey Theatre, UK
16–17 October 1986Bracknell, Wilde Theatre, UK
10 October 1986Oundle, Stahl Theatre, UK
29–2 September 1986Dublin, Mansion House, Ireland
22–25 September 1986Birmingham, Midlands Arts Centre, UK
18–20 September 1986Epsom, Epsom Playhouse, UK
5–6 September 1986Boston, Blackfriars Arts Centre, UK
25–27 August 1986Taormina, Villa Communale, Italy
29 July–1 August 1986Buxton, Buxton Octagon, UK
25–27 July 1986Liverpool, Liverpool Playhouse, UK
1 January–9 April 1987Warsaw, Theatre Stodola, Poland
MoreSee also – Cheek by Jowl’s 2003–2018 production of Twelfth Night
Awards and reviews


Olivier Award – Director of the Year for Declan Donnellan

1987 – For The Cid, Twelfth Night and Macbeth at the Donmar Warehouse

Time Out Readers’ Award

1987 – Hugh Ross – Twelfth Night

Laurence Olivier Award nomination

1987 – Comedy of the Year – Twelfth Night

Drama Magazine – Best Director for Declan Donnellan

1987 – Declan Donnellan for Twelfth Night


“Cheek by Jowl’s modern dress production of Twelfth Night demonstrates what miracles a truly dedicated touring company can achieve with the slenderest of resources…An epiphany…each relationship contains a far wider spectrum of emotion than one had ever imagined…the tenderness of the love-scenes errupts into ferocity. No lover of Shakespeare in particular or of the theatre should miss this lovely treat.”

Francis King, Sunday Telegraph
Production photo
Photograph: Peter Mares
Production photo
Photograph: Peter Mares

“No lover of Shakespeare in particular or of the theatre should miss this lovely treat.”

Sunday Telegraph

My father had a daughter loved a man As it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship.

Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene 4

Love is merely a madness

As You Like It, Act III, Scene ii

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