Peter Hall, Dead At 86, Was A Showman

Peter Hall has died. His most startling and lasting achievement is to have been the founding father of the UK’s two biggest subsidized theatres in the form that we now know them: the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. As a director, he had a range that could encompass one of the most radical and audience-baffling plays of the 20th century – Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which he premiered in London in 1955 – and one of the most conservative and crowd-pleasing: Peter Shaffer’s 1979 operatic whodunnit Amadeus, which transferred from the National to the West End and Broadway, swelling a personal wealth that was one of the recurrent controversies during a career in which Hall – a large, loud, stubborn man – tended to attract admirers and detractors of equal fervor.

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