The Theatre Royal Bath has paid tribute to Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, whose death was announced yesterday, Tuesday 12th September.
Danny Moar, Director of the Theatre Royal Bath, said: “The Theatre Royal Bath is very sad to hear the news of Sir Peter Hall’s death. He was a great friend of the Theatre Royal and a legendary director with whom we enjoyed a long-standing working relationship over many years.
“Alongside his extensive achievements at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and with The Peter Hall Company, we are thrilled and honoured that Peter Hall dedicated the final years of his career to us, directing twenty-seven productions over a nine year span, twenty of which were especially for Bath’s own Peter Hall Company summer seasons.
“Some of the many highlights included Shakespeare’s As You Like It with Rebecca Hall, which subsequently toured to Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York; Sir Peter’s 50th anniversary production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot which transferred to the West End; his staging of Pygmalion which transferred to London’s Old Vic; and, in his final Bath season, his extraordinary production of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 in 2011, which received stellar reviews.
“Bath audiences were thrilled to see Peter Hall’s incredible skill for spotting talent, borne out by his work in Bath with Michelle Dockery, Rebecca Hall, Andrea Riseborough and Dan Stevens, all now world-class stars of stage and screen, who had break-through performances at the Theatre Royal Bath in productions directed by Sir Peter Hall.”
Sir Peter Hall’s relationship with the Theatre Royal Bath was long-standing. As Director of the National Theatre, he worked closely with Theatre Chairman Jeremy Fry, to ensure that the Theatre Royal was able to reopen after extensive renovation in 1982.
In 1988, he launched The Peter Hall Company with a production of Orpheus Descending starring Vanessa Redgrave and Miriam Margolyes which premiered at the Theatre Royal Bath. In addition to Bath’s exclusive Summer Seasons, The Peter Hall Company frequently premiered in Bath and of the Company’s numerous productions over the next twenty years, more than twenty played the Theatre Royal.
One of the world’s most distinguished directors, Sir Peter Hall celebrated fifty years as a director in 2003 and it was that year he chose to present a summer season of five plays at the Theatre Royal.
At the time, Peter Hall said: “I’ve always wanted to direct a season of drama in Bath. Bath is beautiful; wherever I look it seems dramatic. It has a handsome well-run theatre and, best of all, a responsive and enthusiastic audience.”
To the delight of audiences and critics alike, over the next nine years Sir Peter Hall continued to return to Bath during the summer months to present The Peter Hall Company Season.
As well as overseeing each of the eight successful seasons exclusive to Bath (during the summer of 2010 the Theatre Royal was closed for refurbishment), Peter Hall personally directed twenty of the thirty-seven productions which his company staged between 2003 and 2011; his final production in Bath being Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 , which garnered five star reviews.