||This biographical article is written like a résumé. (October 2008)|
Irina Brook is a British stage actress, director and producer. The daughter of film and theatre director Peter Brook and actress Natasha Parry, she was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2002 by the French Ministry of Culture. Born in Paris, Brook grew up between England and France.
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 numerous theatre productions. Her film roles include The Girl in the Picture (1985), Underworld (1985), Captive (1986), Maschenka (1987) and The Fool (1990).
In the mid 1990s, 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.
In February 2006, she was invited to recreate her production of The Glass Menagerie with Japanese actors at the New National Theatre Tokyo.
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 theatres, and after a sold out month at the Bouffes du Nord, Paris, the show was so successful that it has continued touring since then throughout France and in festivals around Europe, and has been invited to the Rideau du Spectacle in Quebec city and will tour Canada for a month in 2010.
This production led to the formation of Compagnie Irina Brook, whose premier production was new version of Don Quixote, Somewhere...la Mancha, a contemporary take on the adventures of the famous couple as they travel across the USA to a soundtrack of traditional bluegrass gospel. Somewhere... premiered in July 2008 at the Avignon festival and will have its Paris premiere this April.
She is now 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 La Tempête by William Shakespeare and Peer Gynt by Ibsen.
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 Cenerentola, for the Theatre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, and the Teatro Communale, Bologna. She has also directed La traviata, in Bologna, which was co-produced by the Opéra de Lille, Last and Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées. In spring 2014 she staged L'elisir d'amore at Deutsche Oper Berlin.
- Shepard, Richard F. (26 March 1981). "'Irish Coffee,' a step beyond simple alienation". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- 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.
- von Uthmann, Jorg (20 October 2006). "Caesar Sports a Beard, High-Pitched Voice in Paris Opera". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 30 November 2010.