Peter Brook, celebrated director of Scale and Humanity, dies aged 97

Peter, the younger of their two sons, attended private schools, where he was bullied and unhappy. At the age of 16 he won a place at Oxford University.

At the age of 7, Peter performed a four-hour version of “Hamlet” for his parents in a toy theater, advertising the play as by “P. Brook and W. Shakespeare” and speaking all the parts himself. boy, he rarely went to the theater, considering it “a bleak and dying precursor to cinema”, as he later put it, and aspired to become a film director. He came close to expulsion from Oxford after completing his university studies. Film Society, which he had founded in 1943.

After graduating, he started working for a company that specialized in making commercials. But his employment ended in disgrace after he ran an ad for a ‘Citizen Kane’-style washing powder.

His undergraduate staging of Marlowe’s ‘Doctor Faustus’, presented at a small London theater, raised £17 for the Aid to Russia Fund. And in 1945 he directed Cocteau’s “The Infernal Machine” and Rudolf Besier’s “The Barretts of Wimpole Street”, also on the outskirts of London.

This made Mr. Brook was invited to stage a touring production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” for the British Army, and he caught the attention of Mr. Jackson, who founded and directed the highly regarded Birmingham Repertory Theatre. There, Mr. Brook successfully performed Shaw’s “Man and Superman” and Shakespeare’s “King John”. He also formed a professional bond with Paul Scofield, who starred in both plays. When Mr. Jackson took over the Stratford Summer Festival in 1946, he took both men with him.

At the age of 12, Mr. Brook had fallen in love with the heroine of “War and Peace” and decided to marry someone named Natasha. “And so it came,” he wrote in his memoir, “Threads of Time” (1998). He married actress Natasha Parry in 1951. In addition to their son, Simon, a documentary filmmaker, they had a daughter, Irina, a director.

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