- Peter Brook
name = Peter Brook
birthname = Peter Stephen Paul Brook
birthdate = birth date and age|1925|03|21
Chiswick, west London
occupation = Director
tonyawards = Best Direction of a Play
A Midsummer Night's Dream"
While at Gresham's he took part in
The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, and while at Oxford The Infernal Machine. In 1945–1946, he worked at the Birmingham Repertory Theatreon productions of Man and Superman, King John, and The Lady from the Sea. In 1946, his first London production was Vicious Circle. In 1947, he went to Stratford-upon-Avonas assistant director on Romeo and Julietand Love's Labour's Lost. From 1947 to 1950, he was Director of Productions at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. A proliferation of stage and screen work as producer and director followed.
In 1951, Brook married the actress Natasha Parry and together they have one son and one daughter.
In 1970, with
Micheline Rozan, Brook founded the International Centre for Theatre Research, a multinational company of actors, dancers, musicians and others which travelled widely in the Middle Eastand Africain the early 1970s. It is now based in Parisat the Bouffes du Nord theatre. [Chambers, Colin "The Continuum Companion To Twentieth Century Theatre" (Continuum, 2002, ISBN 0-8264-4959-X) p. 384] You can hear a recording of his voice on TheatreVoice.
His work is inspired by the theories of experimental theatre of
Jerzy Grotowski, Bertolt Brecht, Meyerhold, G. I. Gurdjieffand the works of Edward Gordon Craigand Stuart Davis.Fact|date=February 2007
Brook was influenced by the work of
Antonin Artaudand his ideas for a Theatre of Cruelty.
In England, at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Peter Brook and Charles Marowitz undertook The Theatre of Cruelty Season in 1964, aiming to explore ways in which Artaud's ideas could be used to find new forms of expression and retrain the performer. The result was a showing of 'works in progress' made up of improvisations and sketches, one of which was the premier of Artaud's
Jet of Blood
"The Empty Space"
Peter Brook's book "The Empty Space" was a highly influential piece of work. It consists of 4 parts, each describing a version of the notion and nature of theatre. Each section is an adaptation of a speech he gave at various Universities. For this reason this book has an accessible, fluid tone.
The opening couple of sentences are extremely widely quoted:
I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all I need for an act of theatre to be engaged.
This quote has become something of a mantra for practitioners of site-specific theatre, and also for those working with devising.
"The Empty Space" strips theatre down to the bare bones of what performance is, rejecting the necessity for traditional theatre spaces, elements or forms in themselves, and placed a huge emphasis on the direct relationship between actor and audience. These ideas are shared with
In the mid 1970s,cite news | first=Joe | last=Morgenstern | coauthors= | title=Jean-Claude Carriere; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind - interview about the stage adaptation | date=April 17 1988 | publisher=New York Times | url =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE1DC143AF934A25757C0A96E948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ] Brook, with writer
Jean-Claude Carrière, began work on adapting the Indian epic poem the " Mahābhārata" into a stage play which was first performed in 1985 [cite news | first=Jean-Claude | last=Carriere | coauthors= | title=Jean-Claude Carriere; the Mahabharata, the great history of mankind - interview about the stage adaptation | date=September 1989 | publisher= | url =http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1310/is_1989_Sept/ai_8067489 | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ] and then later into a televised mini series. The production using an international cast caused heated interculturaldebate. Negative criticism came from Indian scholar Pradip Bhattacharya who felt that Brook's interpretation "was not a portrayal of a titanic clash between the forces of good and evil, which is the stuff of the epic... [but] the story of the warring progeny of some rustic landlord". [cite news | first=Pradip | last=Bhattacharya | coauthors= | title=Negative Criticism | date=November 2004 | publisher= | url =http://www.boloji.com/cinema/028.htm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | language = ]
In 2005 Brook directed "
Tierno Bokar", based on the life of the Malian sufiof the same name. The play was adapted for the stage by Marie-Helene Estienne from a book by Amadou Hampate Ba(translated into English under ). The book and play detail Bokar's life and message of religious tolerance. Columbia Universityproduced 44 related events, lectures, and workshops that were attended by over 3,200 people throughout the run of "Tierno Bokar". Panel discussions focused on topics of religious toleranceand Muslim traditionin West Africa. [Columbia University, "Record of Events", [http://www.tiernobokar.columbia.edu] ]
Major productions for the RSC
Measure for Measure" with John Gielgud( Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
The Winter's Tale" with John Gielgud( Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
Titus Andronicus" with Laurence Olivier( Shakespeare Memorial Theatre)
King Lear" with Paul Scofield
*1966 "US" an anti-Vietnam protest play with the
The Royal Shakespeare Company, documented in the film " Benefit of the Doubt"
A Midsummer Night's Dream" with John Kane (Puck), Jennie Stoller (Helena), Ben Kingsleyand Patrick Stewart
Other major productions
Hamlet" with Paul Scofield
The Visit" with Alfred Luntand Lynn Fontanne
Oedipus" with John Gielgudand Irene Worth
The Conference of the Birds"
* "The Ik"
* "The Mahabharata"
*1953, "The Beggar's Opera"
*1960, "Moderato cantabile" (UK title "Seven Days... Seven Nights")
*1963, "Lord of the Flies"
*1967, "Ride of the Valkyrie"
*1968, "Tell Me Lies"
*1971, "King Lear"
Meetings with Remarkable Men"
*1979, "Mesure pour mesure"
*1982, "La Cerisaie"
*1983, "La Tragédie de Carmen"
*1989, "The Mahabharata"
*2002, "The Tragedy of
Tony Award for Best Direction of a Playfor " Marat/Sade", 1966 cite web|url=http://www.tonyawards.com/p/tonys_search?start=0&year=&award=&lname=Peter+Brook&fname=&show= |title=Tony Awards |accessdate=2008-02-13 ]
Tony Award for Best Direction of a Playfor " A Midsummer Night's Dream", 1971
*Freiherr von Stein Foundation Shakespeare Award, 1973
*Grand Prix Dominique, 1975
*Brigadier Prize, 1975, for
Timon of Athens
Society of West End TheatreAward, 1983
Emmy Award, 1984, for La tragédie Carmen
Prix Italia, 1984
International Emmy Award, 1990, for The Mahabharata
Dan David prize, 2005
*On Monday August 18 2008 the actress
Liv Ullmanninformed in a press conference at the Nationaltheatretin Oslothat Peter Brook will receive The Ibsen Awardfor 2008. He will then be the first winner of the prize of NOK2.5 mill (apprixomately £200.000). The arrangement will find place in Oslo on August 31 during this year's Ibsen Festival. [cite web |last= |first= |title= British director wins the Ibsen Prize |publisher=Norway.org |url=http://www.norway.org/culture/literature/ibsen+prize.htm |accessdate=2008-08-21]
*Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1965
DLitt, University of Birmingham, 1990
Honorary Fellowof Magdalen College, Oxford, 1991
DLitt, University of Strathclyde, 1990
DLitt, University of Oxford, 1994
Légion d'honneur(France), 1995
*Companion of Honour, 1998
*Peter Brook, "Threads of Time" (1998)
*Lee Jamieson, "Antonin Artaud: From Theory to Practice" (Greenwich Exchange: London, 2007) Contains practical exercises on Artaud drawn from Brook's "Theatre of Cruelty Season" at the RSC. ISBN 978-1-871551-98-3
*John Heilpern, "Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa", Faber Book Services, 1977, ISBN 0571103723
*Dale Moffitt, "Between Two Silences: Talking with Peter Brook" (1999)
*Biographies by J. C. Trewin (1971) and A. Hunt and G. Reeves (1995) and Michael Kustow (2005)
*Andrew Todd and Jean-Guy Lecat, "The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments" (2003)
Ouriel Zohar, "Meetings with Peter Brook", Zohar, Tel-Aviv176 p. (1990) (He).
* [http://www.dandavidprize.com/laureates/present2005.html Dan David Prize] , Dan David Prize laureate 2005
* [http://www.peterbrook.net Peter Brook official website]
* [http://www.brookdvd.com "meetings with remarkable men" - DVD release]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=hLni1arIeYM Screener for Brook by Brook]
* [http://www.experimentaltheatre.org/new_page_1.htm Peter Brook profile by Experimental Theatre Organization]
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