Theatre visionary Peter Brook dies aged 97

3 July 2022, 12:37

Peter Brook has been described as one of the 'great renovators' of contemporary theatrer
Peter Brook has been described as one of the 'great renovators' of contemporary theatrer. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

Influential British theatre and film director Peter Brook has died at the age of 97.

Brook, who had lived in France since the early 1970s, won multiple awards including Tonys, Emmys and an Olivier across his seven-decade career in the arts.

He directed famous names including Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud and Adrian Lester.

The Le Monde newspaper said he died in Paris on Saturday.

Brook's publisher, Nick Hern Books, also paid tribute, saying he "leaves behind an incredible artistic legacy".

Read more: Daughter of Roe v Wade plaintiff says mum 'would be devastated' about Supreme Court ruling

Brook was born in Chiswick, west London, on March 21 1925 to Lithuanian Jewish parents and attended Westminster School followed by Oxford University.

His first production was of Dr Faustus in 1943 at the Torch Theatre in London.

Between 1947 and 1950, he served as director of productions at the Royal Opera House, where he staged an experimental and headline-making version of Richard Strauss's Salome with sets by Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

He directed Sir Lawrence as Titus Andronicus in Stratford for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1955 and was subsequently invited to assist its new artistic director, Sir Peter Hall, on further works.

Read more: Hundreds gather dressed in white at vigil to ‘walk home’ killed Zara Aleena

These included a 1962 production of King Lear starring Paul Scofield.

In 1970, Brook moved to Paris, where he set up the International Centre for Theatre Research, which travelled widely in the Middle East and Africa as part of a three-year "pilgrimage".

His troupe would perform for rural communities often with just a carpet as a stage.

Four years later he reopened a partially derelict theatre, Bouffes du Nord, close to the French capital's central Gare du Nord station and transformed it into the new home of the ICTR.

Although the theatre was renovated, Brook decided not to redecorate the interior so it retained a distressed look that would become its hallmark.

Brook was also among the first in theatre to focus on increasing the diversity of his productions.

In an interview with the Evening Standard in 2019, he described his method of casting as "colour-rich" as opposed to "colour-blind".

He continued to direct and write into his later years and was awarded both the prestigious Praemium Imperiale and the Prix Italia.

He was made a CBE in 1965 and a Companion of Honour in 1998.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Missing Brit who vanished in Majorca for 12 days is found alive after ‘series of unfortunate events’

Missing Brit who vanished in Majorca for 12 days is found alive after ‘series of unfortunate events’

Exclusive
Just Stop Oil could disrupt holidaymakers this summer

Holidaymakers face being blocked from boarding planes by Just Stop Oil at British airports this summer

Defence Secretary John Healey

Defence Secretary warns scale of issues facing British Army ‘much worse’ than previously feared

Dramatic footage on social media showed the blaze

Wildfires ravage Portuguese region loved by British holidaymakers

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Rene Graham was killed on Sunday July 21

Teen victim of west London park shooting named and pictured for the first time

Kamala Harris has praised Joe Biden

Kamala Harris pays tribute to 'unmatched' legacy of Joe Biden, as Nancy Pelosi backs her for president run

Police said they attended the residence at Wexford Road, Coventry at around 12.15pm on Monday following an emergency 999 call

Woman in her 30s killed after being mauled by pet dog at home in Coventry

Secret Service boss Kimberly Cheatle denied claims she failed to provide Trump with adequate protection.

'We failed': Secret service boss brands Donald Trump shooting 'most significant failure in decades'

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

Anand Runwal jumped in front of the train to try to save his children

Pictured: Hero father who jumped in front of train to try to save his twin daughters, whose pushchair rolled onto tracks

The moment a sexual predator lured a 14-year-old schoolgirl to a guesthouse where he later raped her has been caught on camera.

Chilling footage captures sex predator luring schoolgirl, 14, to guesthouse before raping her after plying teen with alcohol

Migrants heading to Britain. Home Secretary Yvette cooper today revealed the scheme cost £700m and saw only four volunteers sent to Africa

Rwanda deportation scheme cost £700m and saw just four volunteers sent to Africa, Home Secretary reveals

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Strictly pro dancer Janette Manrara breaks her silence following claims by former contestant Will Bayley

Strictly dancer Janette Manrara breaks silence following contestant's 'life-changing' injury claims

President of Croatia Zoran Milanović described the attack as a "savage unprecedented crime".

Several killed as gunman opens fire in Croatian care home