English theatre, opera, and film director, the most influential figure in British theatre in the latter half of the 20th century. He was director of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon 1958–68 and developed the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) 1961–73 until appointed director of the National Theatre 1973–88, succeeding Laurence Olivier. He led his own theatre company, the Peter Hall Company, from 1988 to 2011.
Hall's stage productions include Gigi (1955), starring Leslie Caron (1931– ), whom Hall would marry the following year; the seminal RSC The Wars of the Roses (1963); the world premiere of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming (stage 1965; Tony Award and film 1973); Peter Shaffer's Amadeus (1979; Tony Award); The Oresteia (1981); and Tennessee Williams's Orpheus Descending (1988). His opera productions include a much-revived version of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981) at Glyndebourne, where he was later artistic director. He also directed operas at Covent Garden, London; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and Bayreuth, Germany, where in 1983 he directed a production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, conducted by Georg Solti.
Hall was born in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk. He acted, produced, and directed plays while an undergraduate at St Catherine's College, Cambridge; one of his undergraduate productions ran at the Arts Theatre, London, in 1953. This led to Hall's first job – as an assistant – but two years later he was offered the theatre's directorship. He became an overnight success following his direction of the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 1955.
He was knighted in 1977.
Hall, Peter (Reginald Frederick)
At Cambridge University Hall was an energetic amateur director, who in 1953 received a professional production at the Theatre...
From 1956 he directed at Stratford-on-Avon and became director of the theatre from 1960, when it became the Royal...
He was director of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1960 to 1968 and director of the National Theatre Company from 1973 to...