This biographical article is written like a résumé. (October 2008)
Irina Brook (born April 5, 1962) is a Franco-British stage director and producer. She was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2002 by the French Ministry of Culture. In May 2017 Brook was upgraded to Officier de l'ordre des Arts et Lettres and awarded the Légion d'honneur. Born in Paris, the daughter of film and theater director Peter Brook and actress Natasha Parry, Brook grew up between England and France and began her working life as an actress. Her family is of Jewish descent.
Educated at Bedales School, at eighteen, Brook went to New York City to study drama with Stella Adler, and played in several off-Broadway shows, including the lead in Irish Coffee. A couple of years later, she returned to Paris to act in her father's production of The Cherry Orchard followed by Molière's Dom Juan at the Bouffes du Nord. She then moved to London, where she appeared in films, TV (including an episode of Bergerac 'My Friend Charlie' in 1990) and theater productions. Her film roles include The Girl in the Picture (1985), Underworld (1985), Captive (1986), Maschenka (1987) and The Fool (1990). She also appeared as Michelle Réage in a 1989 episode of the British TV series Inspector Morse.
Director / producer
In 1996, Brook directed and produced her first show, Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski, at the Battersea Arts Centre, London. She also directed Madame Klein by Nicholas Wright (Watford) and Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well (Oxford). In 1998, she directed the French version of Beast on the Moon at the Théâtre de Vidy-Lausanne and Bobigny, Paris. After several national and international tours, the show returned for a six-month sell-out at the Theâtre de l'Oeuvre, Paris, where it won five Molière theatre awards, including best director and best show. Brook also directed a television version of the play, for which she was awarded the prix Mitrani at the International Festival of Audiovisual Programs (FIPA), a film festival in Biarritz.
She was invited by Ariane Mnouchkine to direct her Théâtre du Soleil company, with whom she put on a French version of All's Well That Ends Well for the Avignon Theatre Festival. Meanwhile she premiered a new American play, Resonance (Morphic Resonance), by Katherine Burger, at the Theâtre de l'Atelier, for which she also received a Molière award and the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques award for new talent. She created a version of Homer's Odyssey for young audiences at the Sartrouville Theater Festival, followed by Romeo and Juliet (retitled Juliette et Romeo) for Lausanne and the Théâtre national de Chaillot, Paris. For the same co-producers, she directed Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel, which was then invited to perform in Tokyo.
She returned to the Atelier Theatre with Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, which was invited to play in Moscow. She has also directed Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, Marivaux's L'ile des esclaves, and adapted Thornton Wilder's novella, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, for Vidy-Lausanne and the Theâtre de Sceaux, Paris.
Brook produced a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for six men, which was first produced by the Festival Dedans-Dehors, Brétigny-sur-Orge, and performed outdoors in France and Switzerland. She then redirected it to play indoors, in theaters, and after a sold-out month at the Bouffes du Nord, Paris, the show was so successful that it continued touring since then throughout France and in festivals around Europe, and was invited to the Rideau du Spectacle in Quebec City and toured Canada for a month in 2010.
This production led to the formation of Compagnie Irina Brook, whose first production was a new version of Don Quixote, Somewhere ... la Mancha, a contemporary take on the adventures of the famous couple Don Quixote and Sancho Panza as they travel across the USA to a soundtrack of traditional bluegrass gospel. Somewhere... premiered in July 2008 at the Avignon Festival and had its Paris premiere the following April.
She was Director-in-Residence at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts and currently working on a new production of the British classic Toad of Toad Hall. In 2012, she produced at the Salzburg Festival The Tempest by William Shakespeare and Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen.
Renaming her company Irina’s Dreamtheâtrè, she was invited to the Spoleto Festival in 2013 with a new creation: La Trilogie des Îles (The Islands Trilogy), the Odyssey, The Tempest and Island of Slaves by Marivaux. She and her company were awarded the Air France prize for innovative staging .
Brook became the artistic director of the Théatre National de Nice (TNN) in January 2014 . There she directed a production of the Odyssey in June 2014 across gardens and museums in Nice, then in the TNN theatre, a production of Peer Gynt in September 2014 (shown at the Barbican Centre, London, that October). In January 2015, she directed Shakespeare’s Sister based on works by Virginia Woolf and Marguerite Duras. She also produced Hov Show with the comedian Hovnatan Avedikian (December 2014) and, in February 2015, The Tempest.
During the 2015/16 season, Hov Show was revived, and Brook directed a new production of Terre Noire by Stefano Massini, and Lampedusa Beach, with Romane Bohringer (Jean-Paul Manganaro), both of which were revived in the 2016/17 season. Question Mark, by Stefano Massini, was presented in schools and colleges throughout 2015/16.
Brook has also ventured into the world of opera, starting with The Magic Flute for the Dutch Reisopera, co-directed by her partner, Dan Jemmett. She was then invited to direct Eugene Onegin, for the Aix-en-Provence Festival. This was followed by La Cenerentola, for the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and the Teatro Communale in Bologna. She has also directed La traviata in Bologna, which was co-produced by the Opéra de Lille, and Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In spring 2014 she staged L'elisir d'amore at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Don Pasquale at the Vienna State Opera in April 2015.
- Aronson, Arnold (25 May 2005). "Peter Brook: A Biography". The New York Times.
- Michael Kustow (17 October 2013). Peter Brook: A Biography. A&C Black. pp. 5–7. ISBN 978-1-4088-5228-6. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Shepard, Richard F. (26 March 1981). "'Irish Coffee,' a step beyond simple alienation". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- Ghost in the Machine, retrieved 27 July 2019
- Bruce, Keith (7 October 1997). "Only beginning and all's well". The Herald. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- Taylor, Paul (3 January 2008). "Peter Brook isn't an easy act to follow, but his daughter Irina is doing an impressive job". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- Kennedy, Louise (4 October 2008). "Fun ghost story is Wilde at heart". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- "Irina Brook, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur". Petites Affiches des Alpes-Maritimes.
- "Le Theatre: Irina Brook". Theatre National de Nice.
- "La derrière romance d'Irina Brook au TNN". L'Oeil d'Olivier. 8 April 2019.
- Igney, Natja (8 May 2019). "TNN: Curtain Call for Outgoing Director Irina Brook". Riviera Buzz.
- von Uthmann, Jorg (20 October 2006). "Caesar Sports a Beard, High-Pitched Voice in Paris Opera". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 30 November 2010.