Cheek by Jowl is an international touring theatre company dedicated to producing fresh and vivid productions that focus on the actor's art, avoiding directorial and design concepts.
Led by Co-Artistic Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, who established the company in 1981, Cheek by Jowl produces work in English, French and Russian. The company has performed in 380 cities in more than 50 countries spanning six continents.
One of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Companies, Cheek by Jowl has been an Artistic Associate at the Barbican in London since 2005.
In 2007, Peter Brook invited Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod to form a group of actors to perform Racine's Andromaque. Following that production's international success, Cheek by Jowl worked with the same French actors on its new production of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi.
The sheer vitality of Jarry's creation offered a thrilling new point of departure for the company in bringing the extraordinary eponymous figure to the stage. Ubu Roi has toured the UK, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and continues to tour throughout 2014 and 2015.
Measure for Measure, co-produced with the Pushkin Theatre, opened on 22 November 2013. Playing in repertoire at the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow and available to tour from September 2014, it was described by Novaya Gazeta as "a convincing, shattering portrait of contemporary Russia".
Cheek by Jowl has a number of different strands of participation activity in place, enabling school pupils, students and emerging professionals to engage with the company and its work in diverse ways. These activities are organised throughout the year, both in the context of a production and as stand-alone events.
They include: practical workshops led by the Artistic and Associate Directors using techniques employed in the rehearsal room to bring texts to life, talks and master classes, as well as to talks on producing led by the Executive Director.
In addition to higher education and school groups, in the course of its participation work over the past few years Cheek by Jowl has collaborated with organisations as diverse as the Venice Biennale, the Shakespeare Institute, Territory Festival in Moscow and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.
"The collusion of actor and audience spark an event rooted in a celebration of shared humanity"
"Declan Donnellan is one of the most original directors working in theatre today"
"This British troupe has been responsible for some of the most imaginative and revelatory classical performances I’ve seen during the past couple of decades"
New York Times
"Cheek By Jowl would represent Britain on any list of the world's most influential theatre companies: it is not merely an institution; it is a kiss of life."
Declan Donnellan & Nick Ormerod