Peter Hall - a life in theatre

SIR PETER Hall, the founding director of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the director of the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain is coming to Galway.

Peter Hall will take part in a public interview with The Guardian’s Michael Billington in the Town Hall Theatre on Saturday July 24 at 4pm as part of the Galway Arts Festival.

Hall was born in Bury St Edmunds and educated at the Perse School and St Catherine’s College, Cambridge. After his professional directing debut in Windsor in 1953, he ran the Arts Theatre, London, where productions included the premiere, in 1955, of the English language version of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

He was the founder and director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1960-68 ); and was director of the Royal National Theatre from 1973 to 1988. In 1988 he founded The Peter Hall Company. In 2003 Hall became the founding director of The Rose Theatre Kingston, becoming director emeritus in 2008.

Hall’s most recent production for The Rose was Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Judi Dench which reunited them in an enduring theatrical partnership which has lasted some 50 years.

Other recent productions for The Rose include Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, Feydeau’s farce Where There’s A Will, and Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce.

The Peter Hall Company, which he launched in 1988 with productions of Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave, and The Merchant of Venice with Dustin Hoffman, has since staged more than 60 productions in association with a number of well-known producing partners.

Hall is also an internationally celebrated opera director. In addition to more than 20 opera productions for Glyndebourne, he has directed for many of the world’s major houses including the Royal Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Bayreuth Festival Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Houston Grand Opera.

Hall is also the author of a number of books on the theatre including Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players, a detailed analysis of the art of verse speaking which has recently been reissued by Oberon Books in a new edition.

His many arts awards and nominations include two Tony awards and three for Lifetime Achievement. He was knighted in 1977 for services to the theatre.

Tickets are available from the festival box office, Galway Tourist Office, Forster Street, and www.galwayartsfestival.com

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