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Peter Brook, British theater legend based in France, dies aged 97

France-based British director Peter Brook, who revolutionized the stage with sweeping interpretations of the classics before bringing drama back to its simplest roots, has died aged 97, a source said on Sunday.

Brook, born in the United Kingdom but living in France for decades, died on Saturday, told AFP a source close to the director, who requested anonymity.

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He also gained fame for his iconic 1963 film version of the novel “Lord of the Flies” about school children who are marooned on an island and descend into savagery.

Brook rose to fame in the UK as a young director who put a radical, and sometimes bloody spin on the classics, including the works of Shakespeare, working with actors who would later become legends themselves.

But his methods underwent a gradual transformation after moving to France in the early 1970s, reducing theater to pure simplicity and often influenced by Eastern traditions.

“Peter Brook has given us the most beautiful silences in the theater, but this last silence is infinitely sad,” French Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak said on Twitter.

“With him, the scene was brought back to its most vivid intensity. He bequeathed so much to us,” she added, saying he would “forever remain the soul” of the Bouffes du Nord theater in northern Paris, where her work was based.

Simon McBurney, founder and artistic director of London’s Theater de Complicite, who was heavily influenced by Brook’s methods, hailed him on Twitter as a “visionary, provocateur, prophet, trickster and friend”.

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Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds