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A life in the vanguard

Peter Brook will celebrate his 86th birthday in March with a Barbican production. The most original of theatrical titans tells Michael Coveney why the time for banging the drum is over

By Michael Coveney   January 2011

Kind of magic: Peter Brook’s staging of Une Flûte Enchantée, “a summation of his career”

Peter Brook, now aged 85 and still working, is the most admired and influential theatre director of our time. He was a 22-year-old wunderkind when he came down from Oxford and became director of productions at the Royal Opera House, persuading Salvador Dalí to design Richard Strauss’s Salomé for him. Landmark productions at the newly formed Royal Shakespeare Company followed in the 1960s: Paul Scofield in a grainy, granite, emphatically Beckettian King Lear in 1962 that fired an entire generation’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare; Peter Weiss’s…

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