British theatre giant and Royal Shakespeare Company founder Peter Hall dies at 86: Reports

Peter Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 and led it until 1968.
Peter Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 and led it until 1968.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, died in hospital in London on Monday, said British reports. He was 86.

Hall, also the former director of Britain's National Theatre, died at University College Hospital, with his family at his side, said the BBC and The Guardian. He had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011.

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

Over a career spanning more than five decades, he staged the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, and the world premiere of Harold Pinter's Homecoming.

The National Theatre said it was deeply saddened to announce the death of "one of the great names in British theatre".

"Peter Hall was an internationally celebrated stage director and theatre impresario, whose influence on the artistic life of Britain in the 20th century was unparalleled."

His marriages to French actress Leslie Caron, his personal assistant Jacky Taylor and singer Maria Ewing ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, scriptwriter Nicki Frei, and children including actress Rebecca Hall.