Monday, 19 November, 2018

Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall dies

Sir Peter Hall was credited with rebuilding Britain's cultural heritage 'from the ground up'
Credit
MARTIN POPE for The Telegraph Sir Peter Hall was credited with rebuilding Britain's cultural heritage 'from the ground up' Credit MARTIN POPE for The Telegraph
Herman Weaver | 13 September, 2017, 02:28

The schedules have been amended to make way for a special documentary called Sir Peter Hall Remembered, looking back at the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company founder and National Theatre director, who has passed away aged 86.

Hall died on Monday at University College Hospital, London, surrounded by his family, the theater said in a statement.

Alongside his theatre career, Hall took on the running of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, having made his debut there in 1970.

Critic Rupert Christiansen tweeted: "Peter Hall one of the greatest of opera directors: he understood that the music had to lead the drama...', and a statement issued by the Royal Opera House noted that Hall 'brought to all his opera direction a deep understanding of the music, much clarity and profound dramatic insight".

Patrick Stewart, who performed with the RSC as a young actor, tweeted that Hall "transformed classical and modern United Kingdom theatre and gave me a career".

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Hall was born in November, 1930, the son of a railway station-master in rural Suffolk. His career highlights include staging the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and the world premiere of Harold Pinter's Homecoming, as well as adaptations of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, which starred Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins, The Merchant of Venice, with Dustin Hoffman, and As You Like It, with his daughter, Frost/Nixon actress Rebecca Hall. It's bad, ' a very English voice said loudly: "'Hear! hear!'"

He founded the RSC in 1960, before being appointed director of the National Theatre in 1973, a position he held until 1988. Both productions earned Hall Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.

Hall's landmark work as a theater director in the United Kingdom included John Barton's nine-hour epic Tantalus (2000), As You Like It (2003, with his daughter Rebecca Hall) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (2010, with Judi Dench).

Hall, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011, was also an internationally renowned opera director and worked at numerous world's leading houses including The Royal Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and Bayreuth where, in 1983, he staged Wagner's Ring Cycle to honor the 100th anniversary of the composer's death. His last production at the National Theater was "Twelfth Night" in 2011. He was diagnosed with dementia shortly afterward. "He was the great theatrical buccaneer of the twentieth century and has left a permanent mark on our culture". Without him too it's entirely possible that the National Theatre's move to its contentious concrete home on the South Bank in the mid-70s, at a time of industrial unrest, would have ended on a decisive note of disaster.

Artistic director of the RSC Gregory Doran and the National's director Rufus Norris are among those to pay tribute to Hall, who they say "supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it" on his shoulders.

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