Royal Shakespeare Company founder Peter Hall dies, aged 86

13 September, 2017, 02:28 | Author: Christian Benson
  • Peter¬†Hall with the cast of King Lear at the Old Vic

Rufus Norris, the current director of the National, told the BBC: "We all stand on the shoulders of giants and Peter Hall's shoulders supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it".

He led the National until 1988, directing productions including his own adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm", the premieres of Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" and "Betrayal" and Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus", which went on to take Broadway by storm.

The BBC will pay tribute to Sir Peter Hall on BBC4 and BBC2 with a special documentary celebrating the life of the celebrated director.

Two years ago his family announced he had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011, after he was criticised for "heckling" during the 2012 West End debut of Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael.

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Meanwhile actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Toby Stephens have also paid tribute, with Stewart citing Hall as having given him a career.

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

He founded the RSC in 1960, before being appointed director of the National Theatre in 1973, a position he held until 1988. "His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all".

'Our honest thoughts and sympathies are with Sir Peter's family and friends at this sad time'. He gave me my first break as an actor.

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"The Acting Company, which comprised of 35 actors, was a who's who of British theatre and film, including Rupert Graves, Felicity Kendal, Geraldine McEwan, Gemma Jones and Michael Pennington".

Others who worked with Hall include Judi Dench, whom he directed in "Antony and Cleopatra" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; Anthony Hopkins, in "Antony and Cleopatra"; and Dustin Hoffman, in "The Merchant of Venice".

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.

Doran said that Hall had a "phenomenal energy", adding: "He was not just a great director of theatre and opera, he was a politician, he fought for the arts, he was a great innovator and I would say that his greatest legacy has to be the RSC, of which I am very proud to be his follower".

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Hall was married four times: to actress Leslie Caron, former personal assistant Jacqueline Taylor, opera singer Maria Ewing and publicist Nicki Frei.

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