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Culture news, 04.06.2004 14:08

Best of British presents 'Othello'

Best of British presents 'Othello' The innovative British director Declan Donnellan is coming to town next week with his company Cheek By Jowl to perform a rendition of Shakespeare's "Othello," which first premiered in France in April.

One of the ten great theatre companies in the world", according to Time Magazine, Cheek by Jowl was formed in 1981 by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. The company has performed in almost 300 cities in over 40 countries When asked why the company chose 'Othello', director Donnellan is blunt and enthusiastic: 'because we found a fantastic actor called Nonzo Anozie who was just made and built to do Othello', and besides, 'it's always good to do Othello and to examine racism and what we do to people who are different from us'.

Certainly Donnellan is a little different. Born of Irish parents in England in 1953, he trained as a barrister but chose to follow his real instincts by setting up 'Cheek by Jowl' with Ormerod, his fellow artistic director. 'I was a rather lonely and, in some ways, unhappy 16-year-old when I discovered theatre and it gave me peace. There is no greater gift that a person can be given than to be put in touch with his creativity. It transformed my life'.

Several performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg are part of an extensive, year-long international tour supported by the British Council. After Russia, the company will visit Spain, Portugal, China, Australia and the United States.

Over the past five years, the director has produced two works in Russia, both of them being bold takes on Shakespeare. "The Winter's Tale", staged in 1999 and still running in repertory at the Maly Drama Theater, won the Golden Mask, Russia's top theatrical award. Last summer he produced "Twelfth Night" with actors from Moscow's International Confederation of Theatrical Unions.

"Othello", produced jointly with Theatre du Nord in association with Odeon-Theatre de l'Europe Paris, is showing at the Maly Drama Theater - Theater of Europe on June 10 and 11.

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