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Tributes to a giant of theatre

The theatre world has been mourning the death of Sir Peter Hall, who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The great theatre, film and opera director died in London on Monday, September 11, aged 86.

There would have been few – if any – figures in recent British theatre as influential as Peter Hall.

In addition to founding the RSC in 1961, he was a director of the National Theatre, and he was also a key figure in the development of new talent. Among the great writers he championed were Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter.

Among the great actors he directed in Stratford and elsewhere, were Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft.

While at the RSC he came to Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre to cast an eye over a promising young talent, Trevor Nunn – who later became the RSC’s artistic director.

Sir Nicholas Hytner, former director of the National Theatre, said: "Peter Hall was one of the great figures in British theatrical history.”

And Trevor Nunn said: "Peter’s greatness lay in his astonishing originality, his charismatic leadership, his unparalleled daring, his profound scholarship, his matchless articulacy and his visionary understanding of what we call ‘the theatre’ could be.”

An hour-long tribute to Sir Peter Hall will be screened on BBC2 tonight (Wednesday, September 13), at 11.10pm.

Picture: RSC.

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