RSC founder Sir Peter Hall dies at 86

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Founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and former National theatre Director Sir Peter Hall has died at the age of 86.

He died on Monday at the University College hospital in London, surrounded by his family, from the national theatre said.

During his career, he staged the English premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, and the world premiere of Harold Pinter, the homecoming.

Sir Peter had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011.

It is a private funeral will be announced, with details of a memorial event later.
Sir Peter Hall: A giant of the British theatre


Sir Peter, he was Director of the National in 1973 and was responsible for the theatre to move from the Old Vic, the purpose-built complex on the South Bank.

He founded the RSC at the age of only 29 in the year 1960 and then led the company until 1968.

Rufus Norris, the current Director of the National theatre, said: “We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and Peter Hall’ s shoulders support the whole of the British theatre as we know it.

“All of us, including those who are not in the new generation of theatre-makers immediately touched by his influence, in his debt. His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for all of us.”‘Godfather of British theatre”

Other former National Theatre directors lined up to pay tribute.

Sir Nicholas Hytner said: “Peter Hall was one of the great figures in British theatre history, until it is in a line of impresario, Burbage.

“He was the great theatre buccaneers of the 20th century and has left a permanent mark on our culture,” he added.

Sir Trevor Nunn described Sir Peter “is not only an exciting and penetrating a Director, he was also the great impresario of the age”.

And Sir Richard Eyre, said Sir Peter “was – and is – the godfather (in both directions) of British theatre”.

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After leaving the National Theatre in 1988, he founded the Peter Hall Company (1988 – 2011) and in the year 2003, the founding Director of the Rose Theatre Kingston.

In the course of his career, Sir Peter is also a champion of public support of the arts.

His other works include the London and Broadway premieres of Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce (1977) and the 1987 production of Antony and Cleopatra, with Dame Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins.

He also directed his daughter, the actress Rebecca Hall, 2003 production of Shakespeare’s As you like It.

Sir Peter’s last production at the National theatre was Twelfth Night in 2011.

He was also a renowned Opera Director and was the artistic Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera between 1994 and 1990).

In 1983, he staged Wagner’s Ring cycle in honor of the 100 anniversary of the composer’s death.

Sir Peter is survived by his wife, Nicki, and children, Christopher, Jennifer, Edward, Lucy, Rebecca and Emma, and nine grandchildren.

His former wives, Leslie Caron, Jacqueline Taylor, and Maria Ewing, also survive him.

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