Friday, 24 November, 2017

British theater director Peter Hall dies aged 86

Peter Hall with the cast of King Lear at the Old Vic Hall with the cast of King Lear at the Old Vic Credit Jeff Gilbert
Nicole Thomas | 13 September, 2017, 02:31

Sir Peter Hall was the former director of the National Theatre and the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He became assistant director at London's small Arts Theatre in 1954, taking over the directorship a year later.

"Peter Hall was an internationally celebrated stage director and theatre impresario, whose influence on the artistic life of Britain in the 20th century was unparalleled", it added. His work includes the premieres of the Harold Pinter plays The Homecoming (1965), No Man's Land (1975) and Betrayal (1978), Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (1979), and the London and Broadway premieres of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce (1977).

He helmed his own Peter Hall Company between 1988 and 2011, led the Rose Theatre Kingston when it opened in 2003, and was director of the Glyndebourne opera festival between 1984 and 1990.

"All of us, including those in the new generation of theatre-makers not immediately touched by his influence, are in his debt".

The man who created The Royal Shakespeare Co, Sir Peter Hall, has died.

Meanwhile actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Toby Stephens have also paid tribute, with Stewart citing Hall as having given him a career. "His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all".

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Sir Trevor Nunn went on to describe Hall as "not only a thrilling and penetrating director, he was also the great impresario of the age".

In 1997, Sir Peter, after the brilliant success of The Master Builder at the Royal Alexandra, approached David Mirvish about forming a repertory company to perform both classics and new plays at the Old Vic, which the Mirvish family had bought in 1982 and brilliantly restored and operated for 15 years. He gave me my first break as an actor. "Sir Peter bestrode the world of British theatre like a colossus".

He directed acting greats including Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins in a 1987 "Anthony and Cleopatra", Dustin Hoffman in "The Merchant of Venice" in 1989 and Dench again in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 2010.

Hall made his Royal Opera House debut in 1965 with the United Kingdom premiere of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, in collaboration with music director Georg Solti, and returned the following year with a new production of The Magic Flute, sung in English and conducted by Solti, for which Hall carefully re-created the original 1791 stage directions.

Hall's last production at the National Theatre was "Twelfth Night" in 2011.

Hall was married four times. He is survived by wife and ex-wives, six children, including director Edward Hall and actress Rebecca Hall, and nine grandchildren.

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