12/09/2017 11:16 BST

Sir Peter Hall Dead: Royal Shakespeare Company Founder Dies, Aged 86

Patrick Stewart was among the first to pay tribute.

Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and former Nation Theatre director, has died at the aged of 86. 

The Nation Theatre announced he died at University College hospital in London, where he was surrounded by his family, on Monday (11 September).

While his cause of death is not yet known, he had been suffering with dementia since 2011.

PA Wire/PA Images
Sir Peter Hall has died aged 86

Peter’s career in theatre spanned over 50 years, during which time he became an internationally celebrated stage director and theatre impresario.

He established the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 at the age of 29, and was later appointed Director of the National Theatre in 1973.

As a theatre director, his work included ‘The Homecoming’ (1965), John Barton’s nine-hour epic ‘Tantalus’ (2000); and the London and Broadway premieres of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Bedroom Farce’ (1977).

Other landmark productions included ‘Hamlet’ (1965, with David Warner), ‘The Wars of the Roses’ (1963), The Oresteia (1981), Animal Farm (1984), Antony and Cleopatra (1987, with Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins) and ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (1989, with Dustin Hoffman).

His last production at the National Theatre was ‘Twelfth Night’ in 2011.

Sir Patrick Stewart was among the first to pay tribute, writing on Twitter: “He transformed classical and modern UK theatre and gave me a career.”

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, also said: “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.”

The National Theatre’s lights will be dimmed this evening (12 September) on the South Bank in tribute to Peter.

His family has also announced there will be a private funeral for Peter, with a public memorial to follow in due course. 

Peter is survived by his wife, Nicki, children Christopher, Jennifer, Edward, Lucy, Rebecca and Emma and nine grandchildren.

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