Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall dies aged 86

Sir Peter Hall Credit: PA

The former director of the National Theatre and the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company Sir Peter Hall has died aged 86.

He was regarded as one of the most important influences on British theatre in generations, with an international reputation as the foremost authority on Shakespearian directing.

In 1960, at just 30 years old, he founded the Royal Shakespeare Company, insisting on a permanent company with a home at Stratford and a complementary base at The Aldwych in London.

He stayed with the RSC until 1968 during which time he received a CBE in 1963.

Then he worked for four years until 1972 as a member of the Arts Council before joining Lord Laurence Olivier as co-director of the National Theatre, taking over as director the following year.

He was subsequently knighted in 1977.

Known for his campaigning for theatre and the arts, he publicly lambasted the government and the Arts Council over funding.

He was diagnosed with dementia in 2011, and The National Theatre said he died yesterday surrounded by his family.

Sir Peter is survived by his wife, Nicki, six children and nine grandchildren.