Peter Brook

Definition

Theater

  • (1925 - ) British theater director, noted forhis strikingly original productions. The child of Russian emigrĂ©s,Brook made his debut at the age of 18 with a production of Marlowe'sDr Faustus. In 1945 Brook was invited to direct Paul Scofieldin King John at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, followingthis with a celebrated production of Love's Labours Lost (1946)at Stratford-upon-Avon (again with Scofield). Further successes includedAnouilh's Ring Round the Moon (1950), Otway's Venice Preserv'd(1953), Hamlet (1955), The Power and the Glory (1956),and The Family Reunion (1956).

    Brook was made a codirector of the newly formed Royal ShakespeareCompany in 1962, directing later that year a highly acclaimed productionof King Lear (with Scofield once again). Other successes withthe RSC included Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade (1964), Seneca'sOedipus (1968), and a famous production of A Midsummer Night'sDream (1970), featuring an all-white set and the use of circusskills.

    In 1970 Brook founded, with Jean-Louis Barrault,the International Centre for Theatre Research, a companyof international performers with whom he toured extensively. Since 1974 the Centre has been based at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris.Brook's subsequent productions have included a nine-hour adaptation of the Indian epic The Mahabharata (1985), a pared down version of Carmen (1989), and Qui est la? (1995), a reworking of Hamlet. In 2004 Brook presented Tierno Bokar, a meditation on the life and teachings of the title character, a Sufi mystic in French colonial Africa.

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