Theatre legend, Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 86, while battling dementia

Peter Hall with the cast of King Lear at the Old Vic

"This film charts his life from simple beginnings as the son of railwayman to his huge success in British theatre, through the turbulent years at the National Theatre and his other work directing opera, TV and film".

"He wasn't just a great director of theatre and opera and a great innovator, he was a great politician who fought for the arts with governments".

Hall once said in interview: "On my gravestone I want: 'Created the Royal Shakespeare Company.' You can then put a footnote: 'He opened the South Bank'". "His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all".

He founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 and led it until 1968, said the reports.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Royal Shakespeare Company included a quote from Julius Caesar and said it was "greatly saddened by the news".

Two years ago his family announced he had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011, after he was criticised for "heckling" during the 2012 West End debut of Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael.

"Not to single out any particular production, but of course the great Wars of the Roses, which established the RSC for what it was, as a company that would look at plays in their political significance, played by an ensemble of actors".

Artistic director of the RSC Gregory Doran and the National's director Rufus Norris are among those to pay tribute to Hall, who they say "supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it" on his shoulders.

The company played in Stratford and also expanded into the Aldwych Theatre, as its first London home.

'Sir Peter was a giant in theatre and opera.

Says David Mirvish: "I was immediately attracted to Sir Peter's ambitious plans. A great director and shaper of British Theatre".

His spectacular rise began with the English-language première of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 1955, when he was in his mid-20s.

He directed acting greats including Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins in a 1987 "Anthony and Cleopatra", Dustin Hoffman in "The Merchant of Venice" in 1989 and Dench again in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in 2010.

His final production at the National Theatre was "Twelfth Night" in 2011.

Glyndebourne opera house, where Hall was artistic director from 1984 to 1990, has also paid tribute. He is survived by wife and ex-wives, six children, including director Edward Hall and actress Rebecca Hall, and nine grandchildren.

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