The Associated Press

Peter Zadek

HAMBURG (AP) - Peter Zadek, the German stage director known for his provocative and unconventional renditions, died overnight, a German theater announced Thursday. He was 83.

He died in Hamburg after a serious illness, said Hamburg's St. Pauli Theater, where he was working.

Zadek was considered among the top German stage directors, and was especially known for his staging of plays by William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov.

Born May 19, 1926, in Berlin, Zadek emigrated with his parents to Britain in 1933.

He began his career as a film cutter and television director at the British Broadcasting Corporation before turning his attention to the theater.

In the late 1950s, he returned to Germany and over the next decades earned a reputation for directing productions that were considered unorthodox and even experimental. He also put on several productions at Vienna's renowned Burgtheater.

In 2008, Zadek received Austria's prestigious Nestroy prize for his achievements.