Peter Brook, one of Britain's most respected and visionary theatrical directors, was chosen by the higher organizing committee of the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival (FIMF) to be the first winner of the Fujairah Award for Excellence in Theatre. Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Chairman of Fujairah Culture and Media Authority (FCMA), Brook will get an official invitation to the award ceremony at his residence in Paris. The Fujairah Culture and Media Authority is the organizer of the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival and the patron of the award that has been launched to celebrate the tenth year of FIMF.
The news was stated by Mohammad Saif Al Afkham, Director of the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival, at the press conference held today (Monday, the 2nd of January 2012) at FCMA. Al Afkham said that a committee from the Award's secretariat is going to deliver the invitation to the theatre director and writer Peter Brook at his residence in Paris on Thursday, the 5th of January 2012. The committee includes H. E. Mohammad Saeed Al Dhanhani, Vice Chairman of Fujairah Culture and Media Authority and Chairman of the Festival and Mohammad Saif Al Afkham, Festival Director. They will be arriving in Paris tomorrow, Tuesday, and will be joined by Tobias Biancone, Director General of ITI.
Al Afkham pointed out that the names nominated by the selection committee of the First Fujairah Award for Excellence in Theatre included theatre personalities from different nationalities with many contributions to theatre worldwide. However, the committee was in consensus that Peter Brook should be the first winner of the award. Brook's exceptional contributions to theatre include productions that he has written and directed, as well as books that are used as textbooks in Arts Academies all over the world.
"Brook is a unique art phenomenon and one of the most important personalities in contemporary theatre," said Al Alfkham. "Throughout his career, he has distinguished himself in writing and directing, and he was able to change the nature of stage performance and the shape of contemporary theatre and opera. His success was due to the fact that he has eliminated the imaginary barrier that separates the viewer and the actor. After his retirement from directing in public theatres, he started another journey of research in study of theatre and the nature of the relationship between the viewer and the performer.”
Crossing Cultural Boundaries
Al Afkham also said that Brook became a contemporary symbol of the crossing of national and ethnic boundaries through theatre. The selection of his group members who come from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, and his ever-changing theatrical material is a proof of that. He goes from presenting a Shakespearean show, to adapting the traditional Islamic poems of Farid-uddin Attar into the play ‘Conference of the Birds’. He depends in his treatment of the play ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ on the writings of neurologist and psychologist Oliver Sacks, and then moves to staging the traditional South African drama, ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’.
Brook was born in London in 1925 and was appointed as the Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has founded the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris and he has directed more than fifty theatre productions.
Some of his major productions include: The Tempest, Ubu aux Bouffes, King Lear, Oedipus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Tragedy of Carmen, and The Mahabharata. He has directed films and operas such as Le Nozze de Figaro, Faust and Eugene Onegin and Boris Godounov. His published books include The Empty Space, The Shifting Point, and The Open Door. The later is an autobiography of the famous theatre director reviewing important details necessary for the success of any stage production and determining its artistic level.
This is a Press Release from the Fujairah Media and Cultural Authority.
Fifth International Monodrama Festival in Fujairah, UAE, FIF, 30 December 2011.
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Image: Peter Brook (Photo courtesy of World Art)