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Declan Donnellan (born 4 August 1953) is a Britishmarker theatre director and writer. He is co-founder of Cheek by Jowl theatre company. In 1992 he received an honoris causa degree from the University of Warwickmarker and in 2004 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his work in France.


Donnellan was born in Manchester, Englandmarker and grew up in Ealingmarker, Londonmarker. He was educated at St Benedict's Schoolmarker in Ealingmarker and Queens' College, Cambridgemarker, where he read English and Law. After leaving Cambridge, he was called to the Bar at Middle Templemarker in 1978.

He founded Cheek by Jowl with Nick Ormerod in 1981. Since 2006 the company has been part of the Barbican’s International Theatre Program (BITE) resulting in co-productions of The Changeling (2006), Cymbeline (2007) and Troilus and Cressida (2008).

For the Royal Shakespeare Company he has directed School for Scandal, King Lear (Academy 2002) and Great Expectations. He has also directed Le Cid for the Avignon Festival, Falstaff for the Salzburg Festival and the ballet of Romeo and Juliet for the Bolshoi in Moscow. Other work in Russia includes The Winter's Tale for the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburgmarker.

In 2000 he formed a company of actors in Moscowmarker, under the auspices of The Chekhov Festival, whose productions includeBoris Godunov, Twelfth Night and Three Sisters.

He wrote a play, Lady Betty, which was performed by Cheek by Jowl in 1989. He has also adapted Don't Fool with Love by de Musset, Antigone by Sophocles, The Mandate by Erdman and Masquerade by Lermontov.

First published in Russian in 2001, Donnellan's book, The Actor and the Target, has subsequently been published in English (2002, reprinted 2005), French and Spanish.

Donnellan has won awards in London, Paris, New York and Moscow, including Laurence Olivier Awards for :

Stage productions

Cheek by Jowl



  • Donnellan, D. The Actor and the Target (English edition) Nick Hern Books, London, 2002 (ISBN 1-85459-127-4)
  • Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America, eds. Deborah R. Geis and Steven F. Kruger University of Michiganmarker Press, Ann Arbor, Michiganmarker, 1997 (ISBN 0-472-09623-0)
  • Reade, Simon. Cheek by Jowl: Ten Years of Celebration, Oberon Books (hardback) 1991 (ISBN 0-948230-47-9) -- currently out of print
  • Irvin, Polly. Directing the Stage, RotoVision, Hove, 2003 (ISBN 2-88046-661-X)
  • In Contact With the Gods?, Directors Talk Theatre, eds. Maria M. Delgado & Paul Heritage, Manchester Universitymarker Press, Manchester, 1996 (ISBN 0-7190-4763-3)
  • National Theatre Platform Papers No. 2 on Angels in America, National Theatre Publications Department
  • National Theatre Platform Papers, Declan Donnellan Talks About his Book, The Actor and the Target, National Theatre Publications Department, London, 24 January 2003
  • On Directing, eds. Mary Luckhurst and Gabriella Giannachi, Faber, London 1999 (ISBN 0-571-19149-5)

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