Royal Shakespeare Company founder Peter Hall dies aged 86

LONDON, Bill Smith (dpa) - Britain's top theatre and opera companies paid tribute on Tuesday to Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and former director of Britain's National Theatre, who has died aged 86.
The National Theatre said Hall died on Monday at University College hospital in London, surrounded by his family.

Peter Hall
Peter Hall
The theatre said it was "deeply saddened to announce the death of its former director, Sir Peter Hall, one of the great names in British theatre."
Gregory Doran, the RSC's artistic director, praised Hall as a "colossus, bestriding the British theatre."
"He was a visionary," Doran said. "Not only was he a great director of theatre and opera, he was a politician who fought for the arts.
"It is impossible to single out his greatest production," he said.
"But his greatest legacy without doubt will be judged to be the formation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961."
Hall had worked at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1956 and was appointed its artistic director in 1960, aged 29.
He created the Royal Shakespeare Company to "realize his vision of a resident ensemble of actors, directors and designers producing both modern and classic texts, with a distinctive house style," the RSC said.
"We all stand on the shoulders of giants and Peter Hall's shoulders supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it," said Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre.
"All of us, including those in the new generation of theatre-makers not immediately touched by his influence, are in his debt," Norris said.
"His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all."
Gus Christie, executive chairman of the Glyndebourne opera in Sussex, where Hall was artistic director from 1984 to 1990, said he had led the expansion of the company through a "golden era."
"The result was the state-of-the-art auditorium we enjoy today, and one of our two principal rehearsal rooms in the new theatre is named after him," Christie said.
London's Royal Opera House, where Hall directed productions from the 1960s to the 1980s, also paid tribute to him.
"His profound impact on the theatrical tradition of this country and beyond is still felt today, and the world of opera is forever enriched by his many important contributions," said Oliver Mears, the director of the Royal Opera House.
"Sir Peter brought to his opera direction not only an immense understanding of stagecraft but a deep appreciation of the music, and I am certain his legacy will continue to be celebrated by artists and audiences alike," Mears said.
His death was "a sad day for anyone who loves theatre," said David Lan, artistic director of London's Young Vic theatre.
"Sir Peter Hall's imagination, drive and generosity made us all possible," Lan said.

Tuesday, September 12th 2017
Bill Smith

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