Peter Hall (director): Wikis


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Peter Hall
Born Peter Reginald Frederick Hall
22 November 1930 (1930-11-22) (age 79)
Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Occupation Director
Years active 1953-present
Spouse(s) 4) Nicola Frei (1990-present) (one child)
3)Maria Ewing (1982-1990) (one daughter Rebecca b.1982)
2) Jacqueline Taylor (1965-1981) (two children, including a son Edward b.1967)
1) Leslie Caron (1956-1965) (one son Christopher b. 1957 and one daughter Jennifer b.1962)

Sir Peter Reginald Frederick Hall CBE (born 22 November 1930) is an English theatre and film director. Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company (1960–68) and directed the National Theatre (1973–88), and has been prominent in defending public subsidy of the arts in Britain.




Early years

Hall was born at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, to Grace Pamment and Reginald Edward Arthur Hall, a stationmaster.[1][2] Hall attended The Perse School in Cambridge and went on to the Joint Services School for Linguists during his National Service where he learned to speak the Russian language. He produced and acted in several productions while at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1953 from St Catharine's College. During the same year, he staged his first professional play at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.


From 1954 to 1955 he was at the Oxford Playhouse where he directed several notable young actors such as Ronnie Barker and Roderick Cook. In August 1955, he directed the English-language premiere of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett at the Arts Theatre, London. From 1956–1959 he ran the Arts Theatre and directed several plays including the English-language premiere of The Waltz of the Toreadors by the French dramatist Jean Anouilh.[3] He was at Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon for the 1957 to 1959 seasons.[3] There, his productions included: Cymbeline with Peggy Ashcroft; Coriolanus with Laurence Olivier and Edith Evans; and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Charles Laughton.

Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, at the age of 29. He served as its artistic director from that time until 1968. He was director of the National Theatre from 1973 to 1988 and was also a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain resigning in protest from both roles in protest over cuts in public funding. After leaving the National Theatre he founded his own company directing a series of productions at the Old Vic.

In 1983 he presented a new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle at Bayreuth, with Sir Georg Solti conducting. This production was in honour of the 100th anniversary of Wagner's death.

In 1990, at the Chichester Festival Theatre he directed Born Again, a musical version of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros. Hall wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the libretto with Julian Barry, and British composer Jason Carr in Carr's first professional musical. Many years later one of the show's song's "When I Was Out This Morning" (with lyrics by Hall) was included on Carr's composer compilation album.

He is patron of the theatre company Canon's Mouth, founded in 2003, composed of young actors "intent on discovering a new voice for the great metaphorical dramas of the Renaissance, while receiving guidance from some of the greatest names in classical theatre."[4]

His latest project is as director of the Rose Theatre at Kingston upon Thames which opened in 2008, and which draws design inspiration from the original Rose theatre. In its basic shell prior to fit out, it has seen a sell out run of his production of As You Like It.

Personal life

Hall was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963 and in 1977 was knighted for his services to the theatre. In 1999, he was presented with a Laurence Olivier Award. He was appointed Chancellor of Kingston University in 2000.

Hall married four times. His first was to French actress Leslie Caron, followed by Jacqueline Taylor, opera soprano Maria Ewing, and present wife Nicola Frei. His diaries were published in 1983. One of his children is the actress Rebecca Hall and another is the director, Edward Hall.

Stage productions


  1. ^ John O'Mahoney (12 February 2005). "Profile of Peter Hall". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  
  2. ^ "Peter Hall Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-22.  
  3. ^ a b Hall, Peter (1993). Making an Exhibition of Myself: The Autobiography of Peter Hall. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. pp. 101, 435ff. ISBN 1840021152.  
  4. ^ "Great Tamburlaine 'Reopens' Rose After 400 Years". Whatsonstage. 11 September 2003. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  

Further reading

  • Pearson, Richard (1990). A Band of Arrogant and United Heroes. London: Adelphi Press. ISBN 1856540057.  

External links


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