Peter Brook: From Archive to Action, Oral History Project

As part of the Peter Brook: Archives to Action project, we’ve been speaking to practitioners and performers who have worked with or been inspired by Peter Brook, as well as audience members who experienced many of his key productions.

From Helen Mirren to Adrian Lester, Peter Brook has worked with a wide range of actors and seen his productions performed and filmed in a variety of locations around the globe.

Our oral history archive now holds over 25 recordings of interviews and a full list of interviewees can be requested by emailing tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk

We’ve selected some highlights for you to enjoy ranging from Simon and David Surtees talking about their audition for Lord of the Flies to Catherine Butler Smith recalling the cold and her excitement at seeing The Mahabharata in Glasgow. For a full transcript of all of the interviews below please follow the link below.

Peter Brook from Archive to Action Oral History Transcript

All of the interviews can also be listened to in the Theatre and Performance Reading Room at Blythe House, Kensington Olympia. To make an appointment, please contact tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk

Simon and David Surtees (Lord of the Flies)

Simon and David Surtees played The Twins in Peter Brook’s 1963 film The Lord of the Flies. In this excerpt, they speak about their initial audition.

 

Image from Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Image from Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Paul Sorley (The Mahabharata)

In 1988, lighting designer Paul Sorley was involved in the establishment of Tramway, a multi-purpose theatre and exhibition space in Glasgow. He is currently Senior Lighting Technician at the venue and recalls the role The Mahabharata played in the Tramway’s history.

 

 

Catherine Butler Smith (The Mahabharata)

Catherine Butler Smith, musician, recounts her visit to Glasgow to experience Brook’s nine hour epic The Mahabharata. She describes the experience of watching such a long performance.

 

Poster advertising Mahabharata at Old Museum of Transport, Glasgow, 1988, © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Poster advertising Mahabharata at Old Museum of Transport, Glasgow, 1988
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 

Adrian Lester (Hamlet)

Adrian Lester played the title role in Peter Brook’s 2001 production of Hamlet at the Young Vic. Lester recounts Brook as a director, as well as describing their one-on-one rehearsals together.

 

 

Adrian Lester played Hamlet in Peter Brook's 2001 production of the play

Adrian Lester played Hamlet in Peter Brook’s 2001 production of the play

Ann Eatwell (Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Ann Eatwell recounts her visit to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream on January 5th 1972. She was part of a school group attending the production and describes the trip and her thoughts on the production.

 

Tour poster advertising a tour by the Royal Shakespeare Company performing A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1970 1970

Tour poster advertising a tour by the Royal Shakespeare Company performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1970

 

 

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