Peter Brook death: ‘Genius’ theatre director dies aged 97

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Brook in 2019 (Getty)
Brook in 2019 (Getty)

Theatre director Peter Brook has died aged 97.

The visionary creative died on Saturday (2 July), his assistant Nina Soufy said.

Born in 1925, Brook won Tonys, an Emmy and a Critics’ Circle award throughout his lengthy career.

Brook was best known for his avant-garde work with the Royal Shakespeare Company throughout the 20th century.

One of his most famous adaptations was his 1970 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which saw performers on stilts and trapezes acting in a white cube.

Brook in 1976 (Getty)
Brook in 1976 (Getty)

Over the years, Brook directed some of theatre’s most legendary performers, including Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Paul Scofield and Adrian Lester.

He 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”.

Brook 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.

Lester led tributes to Brook, tweeting: “Sad news. The man was a giant in our field. Asking bold questions and rigorously refusing to settle for mediocrity. His influence changed everything about western theatre, even the design of some of our buildings. RIP Peter. Rest well, sir.”

Adrian Lester’s tribute to Brook (Twitter)
Adrian Lester’s tribute to Brook (Twitter)

“A giant, a genius and the greatest theatre director has gone. Peter Brook, influential theatre visionary, dies aged 97,” Peter Egan tweeted.

Brook‘s publisher, Nick Hern Books, also paid tribute, saying he “leaves behind an incredible artistic legacy”.

Brook was married to actor Natasha Parry for more than 60 years, with the pair having two children, Irina (now a director) and Simon (now a producer), together. Parry, 84, died of a stroke in 2015.

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