The Spotlight’s on… Peter Brook

peter-brook.jpgThe director of The Grand Inquisitor, Peter Brook is one of the most influential theatre directors of the past half-century.

Born in London in 1925, Brook directed his first play there in 1943. He then went on to direct over 70 productions in London, Paris, and New York. He worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company, helping to cement its reputation in its early years.

In 1971, he founded the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris and in 1974, opened its permanent base in the Bouffes du Nord Théâtre. There, among his many other productions, he developed The Grand Inquisitor.

Speaking with The Australian last June when the production was performed in Brisbane, Australia, Brook said, “I started in the theatre with tremendous energy and liking extravagance. I tried everything, experimenting, and gradually, over the years, my own interest has been to drop all that, to get to the centre with less and less means. With The Grand Inquisitor, I would have once taken the entire The Brothers Karamazov and created a play that lasted a whole week. Today what interests me is the pure meaning between two people.”

Brook has penned numerous books, including The Empty Space (1968), which remains a staple in Theatre training programs across the globe. He has also directed prolifically for opera and film, and is the winner of many awards and honors including Tony Awards, an Emmy Award, and the 2008 Ibsen Award from the Norwegian government. He was declared a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1965.