Hall, Sir Peter Reginald Frederick

Hall, Sir Peter Reginald Frederick,

1930–2017, British theatrical director, b. Bury St. Edmonds, grad. Cambridge, 1953. He directed several acclaimed plays at Cambridge, and one production was transferred to London's Arts Theater, where in 1955 Hall became artistic director and produced the English-language premiere of BeckettBeckett, Samuel
, 1906–89, Anglo-French playwright and novelist, b. Dublin. Beckett studied and taught in Paris before settling there permanently in 1937. He wrote primarily in French, frequently translating his works into English himself.
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's Waiting for Godot, establishing both his and the playwright's reputations. The next year he began directing Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon. In 1960 he founded the Royal Shakespeare CompanyRoyal Shakespeare Company
(RSC), a British repertory theater. The company, established in 1960, was based on the earlier Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a national theater supported by government funds.
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; as managing director (1960–68), he created a resident ensemble and attracted many fine actors to star in classical and modern plays. As director (1973–88) of the National Theatre (see Royal National TheatreRoyal National Theatre
a government-funded repertory company based in London. Although the idea for such a company originated in the 19th cent., the National Theatre was not finally established until 1963, with Laurence Olivier appointed as director.
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), he oversaw its move to a new home on London's South Bank. In 1988 he founded the Peter Hall Company, directing in London and New York until 2011; from 2003 to 2008 he also was artistic director of the new Rose Theatre, Kingston, London. Hall directed more than 200 major productions, with a special affinity for works by Shakespeare, Pinter, Tennessee Williams, Anouilh, Albee, and Ayckbourn. He also directed productions in major opera houses and was director (1983–90) of the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and directed a number of films as well. Among his books are The Necessary Theatre (1990), Exposed by the Mask (2000), and Shakespeare's Advice to the Players (2003). Hall was knighted in 1977.


See his diaries ed. by J Goodwin (1983); his autobiography (updated ed. 2000); biography by S. Fay (1995); study by T. Lowen (1991).

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