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Twelfth Night at NCPA


Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts - Theatre

Dates: August 11-13, 2017


Twelfth Night is a result of coproduction of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival, International Confederation of Theatre Unions in cooperation with the renowned UK theatre company Cheek by Jowl, inviting the three-time Olivier Awards winner Declan Donnellan as the director. Featured with modern choreography, this drama integrates strong Russian cultural flavour and musical dance elements, making use of British minimalist style in the set and lighting design, redefining the literary giant Shakespeare’s fantasy about love. As a play performed in Russian, the drama, due to the director Declan Donnellan’s ingenious arrangement, won the Best Director Award at the Russian “Golden Mask Awards”, and the Chivalric Order of Culture” from the French government. Twelfth Night stars A-list Russian dramatic performers, and all the roles are played by male actors.

After its premiere on the Fifth Chekhov Festival in 2003, this dazzling production of Twelfth Night has been performed on the most prestigious stages around the globe including the UK, France, Brazil, Chili, Australia and New Zealand.


Director: Declan Donnellan

Assistant Director: Evgeny Pisarev


Alexander Arsentiev

Vsevolod Boldin

Alexander Feklistov

Ilya Iliin

Andrey Kuzichev

Yury Makeev

Sergey Mukhin

Kirill Sbitnev

Dmitry Shcherbina

Igor Teplov

Igor Yasulovich

Sergey Zaytsev

Mikhail Zhigalov


Twelfth Night is an outstanding representative of Shakespeare’s comedies, and its plot unfolds around love affairs in a colourful way. Sebastian and Viola are twin brother and sister looking alike. They get separated from each other on the Illyrian shore in a maritime accident. Viola thinks her brother has died in the accident, thus she disguises herself as a man, names herself Cesario, and then works as a servant in Duke Orsino’s house. Duke Orsino asks Viola to propose to young, beautiful and rich female earl Olivia for him. However, Viola has had a crush on Orsino, while Olivia falls in love with Viola at first sight. The drama is not only as elegant and humorous as a lyric drama, but as vulgar, buffo and amusing as a popular comedy. Moreover, the “female protagonists” Viola and Olivia have personalities complementary to each other’s: The former is kind, selfless, fortitudinous and forbearing, while the latter has sincere feelings and pursue rigidly. All this vividly reveals the soul and theme of the play.


Chekhov International Theatre Festival

First held in Moscow in 1992, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival is a highlight that theatre goers wouldn’t miss.

The Chekhov Festival initially introduced world masterpieces, such as plays by Peter Brook, Giorgio Strehler, Peter Stein and Otoмar Krejca, to Russia. However, since 1998, the Festival has focused more on internationally renowned directors who were little known to Russian audience, such as Ariane Mnoushkine, Robert Wilson, Christoph Marthaler, Krystian Lupa and Tadashi Suzuki. Apart from theatrical works, other forms of performing arts, such as opera and ballet, were included in the 1998 Festival. In 2001, the Chekhov Festival added the Experimental Programme and the Street Theatres of the World, which was directed by Slava Polunin. 2001 was also the year the International Committee for Theatre Olympics held the World Theatre Olympics in Moscow – a sign of recognition of Russia’s previous efforts in Chekhov Festivals. The Fifth and Sixth Chekhov Festivals highlighted Japanese and Brazilian theatre, offering a window to Asia and Latin America.

In 2010 the Ninth Chekhov Festival presented productions of various genres, including drama, circus and dance, focusing on the plays by Anton Chekhov, Russian famous writer, whose 150th anniversary was celebrated all over the world. The programme of the Festival included the productions “after Chekhov, about Chekhov, to Chekhov”. Among them performances directed by Frank Castorf, Mats Ek, Gerardo Vera, Josef Nadj, Wajdi Mouawad, Daniele Finzi Pasca, Nacho Duato, Lin Hwai-min and the others.

In association with other international organizations the Chekhov International Theatre Festival also presents co-productions with foreign directors and Russian actors, and The Twelve Night is one of these extraordinary productions. Aside from performances, the Festival also holds round-tables, play readings and numerous opportunities for artists to exchange ideas and experiences.


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