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Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall dies aged 86

Sir Peter Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and was the director of the National Theatre

Emmy Griffiths

Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has sadly passed away aged 86 after suffering from dementia. The former director of the National Theatre died while surrounded by his family at University College Hospital on Monday. Sir Peter founded the RSC in 1960 before being appointed the National Theatre's director in 1973. He is survived by his wife, Nicki, children, Christopher, Jennifer, Edward, Lucky, Rebecca and Emma, and nine grandchildren.

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Sir Peter with Dame Judi Dench

The current director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris, was among those to pay tribute to him, writing: "We all stand on the shoulders of giants and Peter Hall’s shoulders supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it. All of us, including those in the new generation of theatre-makers not immediately touched by his influence, are in his debt. His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all."

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sir-peter-hallVIEW GALLERY

Sir Peter passed away aged 86

Patrick Stewart was among those to pay tribute to Sir Peter, tweeting: "The man who created The Royal Shakespeare Co, Sir Peter Hall, has died. He transformed classical and modern UK theatre and gave me a career." Playwright David Hare added: "Peter Hall was not only the principal architect of post-war theatre, he founded the Royal Shakespeare Company and moved the National Theatre onto the South Bank, but above all he was the person who insisted that new plays belonged in the classical repertory, on the same stages and given the same status. It was his idea to play (Harold) Pinter alongside Shakespeare. Every living playwright owes him a debt." A fellow former director of the National Theatre, Sir Trevor Nunn, said: "Peter Hall’s achievement defies definition, except that perhaps, it allows us to understand why we have the word 'great' in our language."

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