Peter Brook\NY

September 21–October 6


U.S. Premiere
Written and Directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne
Featuring Hayley Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni  
Presented by Theatre for a New Audience

September 21–October 6

Why theatre? What is it for? What is it about? Why? takes the audience on a journey that is both dramatic and joyful. Why? allows us to discover that we are not alone in asking these questions and that many great theatre practitioners have been inspired to explore these questions. “Theatre is a very dangerous weapon.” These words were written in the 1920s by one of the most creative and innovative directors the theatre has known: Vsevold Meyerhold. Meyerhold saw the menacing dangers that the theatre, and art in general, were facing in 1930s Russia; he saw the writing on the wall. This did not deter him in his work as he held on to the hope that the revolution could win. Learn more and get tickets.

Why? is presented as part of the by the French Institute Alliance Française’s (FIAF) Crossing the Line Festival.


Workshop with Students from Hunter College

Friday, September 27

Hunter College Department of Theatre (Gregory Mosher, Patty and Jay Baker Chair) hosts a three-hour workshop with Peter Brook. This event is not open to the public.



45-minute post-performance discussions following Saturday matinees of Why? at Polonsky Shakespeare Center. TFANA Talks are free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 28 at 3:45 PM
Anatoly Smeliansky, President, Moscow Art Theatre School and Associate Artistic Director, Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre will join Peter Brook to discuss the legacy of Zinaida Raikh and Vsevolod Meyerhold.     

Saturday, October 5 at 3:45 PM
Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne in conversation.


WNET’s ALL ARTS Programming

Sunday, September 29 at 8pm

ALL ARTS presents a night of Peter Brook programming in recognition of the prolific director’s work. The program block includes the ALL ARTS Big Event on the evening of Sunday, September 29, kicking off at 8pm with a 1967 interview from the WNET archives featuring Peter Brook with Theater critic Elliot Norton in discussion about Brook’s career and his interest in Shakespeare. It’s followed at 8:30pm by the US premiere of Peter Brook: A Filmed Workshop, which shows Brook instructing French theater students in acting techniques and imparting wisdom for life beyond the stage. At 10pm, ALL ARTS will then air Lord of The Flies, the classic 1963 film directed by Brook.

ALL ARTS will also broadcast a new interview with Peter Brook fifty-two years after his discussion with Elliot Norton, at a date to be determined.


Workshop with Students from The Juilliard School

Monday, September 30 at 11am

Peter Brook will work with a selection of singers from Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and actors from its Drama Division in a two-hour, multi-disciplinary rehearsal session. This event is not open to the public.


TFANA Young Directors’ Workshop

Tuesday, October 1

During the run of Why? at Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne will lead a workshop with an invited group of some of the most promising young directors working today. This workshop will be a rare opportunity for participants to engage in constructive discussion with the legendary director, and to gain perspective on their own work by discussing their ideas and the challenges they face with the group. This event is not open to the public.


The Center for Fiction Storytelling and Film Event with Peter Brook and Special Guests

Wednesday, October 2 at 7pm and Friday, October 4 at 7pm

On Wednesday,Oct 2  at a special event introduced by Peter Brook/NY Executive Producer Karen Brooks Hopkins, clips from The Mahabharata, the film version of the Hindu epic directed by Peter Brook, will illuminate a discussion with the director about his original 1985 stage play of the same name. On Wednesday, Oct 4, three writers and artists, including Paul Auster and others, will consider Peter Brook as one of the century’s greatest and most innovative storytellers and speak about their experience of his work on stage, on screen, or on the page, after which Brook will join them for a conversation. Click here for tickets on October 2 and October 4.


Talk with Peter Brook and Screening of Marat/Sade at BAM Rose Cinemas

Thursday, October 3 at 7:00pm
Conversation, followed by screening

BAM hosts a special screening of Marat/Sade, Brook’s film adaptation of Peter Weiss’ play which originated from his 1964 theatrical production with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In a pre-screening conversation, Brook will address with theater director Anne Bogart the way he translated his legendary production from the stage to the screen and the influence of Brecht and Artaud in his intense, profound, and provocative exploration of human nature. In addition, a featured collection of all of Brook’s work at BAM will available to explore in the Leon Levy BAM digital archive. Click here for tickets.

BAM Rose Cinemas is located at 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn.


Closing Dinner hosted by Columbia University

Sunday, October 6 at 6pm

In 2005, a year-long Columbia University School of the Arts Peter Brook residency culminated in the U.S. premiere of Tierno Bokar, a theatrical exploration of the life of the 20th century Muslim spiritual leader. In recognition of that production and its former School of the Arts Theater Professor Andrei Serban’s long relationship with Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne, TFANA will make tickets to Why? available to Columbia theatre students, and Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger will host a dinner in Brook’s honor after the final performance of Why?. Guests will include Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne, the company of the play, and invited donors, friends, presenters/producers in the theatrical community. This event is not open to the public.

Karen Brooks Hopkins is Executive Producer of Peter Brook\NY.


Peter Brook\NY Funding

Leadership support for Peter Brook\NY is provided by The JKW Foundation in honor of Jean Stein and The Lostand Foundation. Additional support is provided by Paul and Caroline Cronson/Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, and John Lichtenstein.