Born into a Russian emigre family in London, Peter Brook has been fascinated by theatre and film since childhood. After a turbulent time at Oxford, during which he narrowly avoided being sent down, he veered between directing West End comedy, new work from abroad by Anouilh, Sartre and Durrenmatt, musicals and opera at Covent Garden. By the 1960s he was moving towards greater experimentation, with controversial shows like Marat/Sade and the anti-Vietnam War US, films like Lord of the Flies and King Lear (starring Paul Scholfield), and landmark productions for the RSC, including the celebrated 'white box' Midsummer Night's Dream. Then in 1970, with the theatre worlds of London and New York at his feet, he moved to Paris, gathered round him an international group of actors, and set off - to Persia (with Ted Hughes), Africa, Mexico and the USA - in an attempt to discover a universial language of theatre. Returning to Paris, the fruits of this work tumbled out onto the stage at his Theatre des Bouffes du Nord in a series of groundbreaking shows including The Ik and The Conference of the Birds and his epic production of The Mahabarata. Since then, Brook has continued to push back the boundaries of theatre and film. Drawing on extensive interviews with Peter Brook, and many of his actors, writers, producers and fellow directors, Michael Kustow goes to the heart of Brook's work, his self-searching nature, and his unceasing desire to create productions that redefine theatre and life.
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