Peter Brook

Also found in: Wikipedia.
Peter Brook
Peter Stephen Paul Brook
BirthplaceChiswick, west London

Brook, Peter,

1925–, English theatrical director, b. London, grad. Oxford (1943). An innovative, unconventional, and controversial figure, Brook mounts energetic productions in which the entire stage is utilized and realistic sets are banished in favor of bold, abstract, and austere settings. His approach is extremely physical, and he often has his actors sing, play musical instruments, and perform acrobatics. After apprenticing in various repertory companies, he began his long association with what became (1961) the Royal Shakespeare CompanyRoyal Shakespeare Company
(RSC), a British repertory theater. The company, established in 1960, was based on the earlier Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a national theater supported by government funds.
..... Click the link for more information.
 with his production of Love's Labour's Lost (1946). Subsequent Shakespearean productions included Measure for Measure (1950), Titus Andronicus (1955), King Lear (1962), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1970), which was set in a kind of adult playground with trapezes, stilts, and spinning plates. Other Brook productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company included his staging of Peter WeissWeiss, Peter
, 1916–82, German-Swedish dramatist, novelist, film director, and painter. Weiss's early novels Abschied von den Eltern (1961; tr. Leavetaking, 1962) and Fluchtpunkt (1962; tr.
..... Click the link for more information.
's Marat/Sade (1964, Tony Award for best director), a play within a play set in the insane asylum housing the Marquis de Sade that examines both revolution and madness, and US (1966), an attack on U.S. involvement in Vietnam. During the 1960s, Brook's productions were influenced both by the shock tactics of Antonin ArtaudArtaud, Antonin
, 1896–1948, French poet, actor, and director. During the 1920s and 30s he was associated with various experimental theater groups in Paris, and he cofounded the Théâtre Alfred Jarry.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the analytical detachment of Bertolt BrechtBrecht, Bertolt
, 1898–1956, German dramatist and poet, b. Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht. His brilliant wit, his outspoken Marxism, and his revolutionary experiments in the theater made Brecht a vital and controversial force in modern drama.
..... Click the link for more information.

Brook has also directed films, such as Moderato Cantabile (1960), Lord of the Flies (1963), and King Lear (1971); and operas, such as Faust and Eugene Onegin. In the 1970s, he founded the International Center of Theatre Research in Paris, an assembly of actors, dancers, musicians, and other performers of many nationalities. Their most recognized achievement was a nine-hour presentation of the Indian epic The Mahabharata (1985). Since then Brook has created a variety of other theatrical works, including a version of Oliver SacksSacks, Oliver Wolf,
1933–2015, British neurologist and author, b. London, educated at Queen's College, Oxford. In 1960 he moved to the United States, where he continued his medical training.
..... Click the link for more information.
's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1994); a production of Mozart's Don Giovanni (1998); a streamlined Hamlet (2000); Tierno Bokar (2005), based on the life of a West African Sufi in the 1930s; The Grand Inquisitor, a parable adapted from Dostoyevsky (2006); and The Prisoner (2018), a tale of crime and punishment. The last was written and directed with Marie-Hélène Estienne, as was Why? (2019), a play devoted to the life of MeyerholdMeyerhold, Vsevolod
, 1874–1940?, Russian theatrical director and producer. Meyerhold led the revolt against naturalism in the Russian theater. Working with the Moscow Art Theater, he experimented with his own directing ideas until the outbreak of the Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and his wife.. His books on the theater include Empty Space (1969), The Shifting Point (1987), and The Open Door (1995). He has also written Playing By Ear: Reflections on Music and Sound (2019).


See his The Open Door (1993) and his autobiographical Threads of Time (1998); Gregory Boyd, ed., Between Two Silences: Talking with Peter Brook (1999), M. Croyden, Conversations with Peter Brook (2003); biographies by J. C. Trewin (1971), A. Hunt and G. Reeves (1995), and M. Kustow (2005); studies by D. Williams (1988), R. Helfer and G. Loney, ed. (1998), and A. Todd and J.-G. Lecat (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brook, Peter


Born Mar. 21, 1925, in London. English director.

Brook studied at Oxford University. In 1943 he began his career as a director in London. From 1943 to 1946 he worked at several theaters, including the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. From 1945 to 1965 he put on Shakespeare’s plays at the Memorial Theatre (Stratford-on-Avon). Brook has worked at dramatic theaters in London and Paris, and he has directed operas at Covent Garden (London) and the Metropolitan Opera (New York). Since 1962 he has been one of the directors of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Brook’s productions of Hamlet (1955) and King Lear (1964) were put on in Moscow. His other productions include Shakespeare’s plays Measure for Measure (1950), The Winter’s Tale (1951), and Titus Andronicus (1955) and The Persecution and Murder of Marat … (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, London, 1964). Brook also produced the political revue US, about the war in Vietnam (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, 1966; Brook is one of its authors). Gogol’s The Inspector General (Oldwich Theatre, London, 1966) and Seneca’s Oedipus (National Theatre, 1968) are also among his productions. Brook has made several films.


The Empty Space. London, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Jennifer Ryan, who as Chair of the Colne Valley High School Local Governing Body and Chair of Trustees of the Peter Brook Centre is spearheading proposals to sell off the facility, said the school did not need its own activity centre as there was a proliferation of other providers.
THE only UK performances of Peter Brook's Tierno Boker can be seen at Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry next week.
Theatre from July on includes Peter Brook's Darling Brokar and Robert Lepage's La Celestine, both to be performed in a huge old flower market.
Daniel Blackburn, owner of workspace provider Opus; Nick Glynne, managing director of online retailer Buy it Direct; Peter Brook, of car dealer Lawton Brook Ltd and lender Oracle Finance; Alex Leslie, of online baby products firm Direct2Mum.
Tierno Bokar, which is receiving its only UK performances in Coventry, is billed as 'a theatrical research by Peter Brook'.
CELEBRATED theatre director Peter Brook (below) is to visit Coventry for the UK premiere of his new play Tierno Bokar.
FOOLS25: Peter Brook will also be making a stop at Fools25, the Copenhagen International Theatre's 25th-anniversary program.
Working alongside David were Peter Brook and Nikki Brown, all from DLA's commercial and projects team.
Colne Valley High School has been negotiating with former staff and students about the future of the Peter Brook Centre in north Wales, which shut last year.
"In just one production - Peter Brook's 1978 Antony and Cleopatra with Glenda Jackson and Alan Howard - the understudy company included Juliet Stevenson, David Bradley, John Bowe, Alan Rickman and Ruby Wax."
In Conversations With Peter Brook, 1970-2000 (Faber and Faber, $15), the intrepid Margaret Croyden has transcribed and compiled three decades' worth of interviews that record Peter Brook's various unorthodox endeavors in the U.S., London, Paris, Africa and Iran.