Obituary Note: Peter Hall

Sir Peter Hall, who staged the English-language premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and the world premiere of Harold Pinter's Homecoming, and "was the single most influential figure in modern British theatre," died September 11, the Guardian reported. He was 86. "As a director of plays, especially Shakespeare, Pinter and Beckett, he was very fine.... But it was through his creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the early 1960s and his stewardship of the National Theatre from 1973 to 1988 that he affirmed his passionate faith in subsidized institutions. If we now take their existence for granted, it is largely because of the pioneering battles waged by Hall and his visionary enthusiasm," the Guardian wrote.

"We are bereft at Oberon Books," publisher James Hogan told the Bookseller, recalling how the "great Sir Peter had turned to this small publisher in Holloway, still struggling for credibility and prominence in the theatre industry. The mood changed. 'If they’re good enough for Peter Hall, then they’re good enough for me'. So went the buzz round the business, in particular literary agents who mainly dealt with the big publishers."

Oberon went on to publish numerous works by Hall, including The Peter Hall Diaries; Making an Exhibition of Myself; and Sir Peter's Shakespeare's Advice to the Players. "Fifteen years ago when this titan of the theatre put his trust in us to publish his work I was of course overjoyed and privileged," Hogan said. "Peter was meticulous about his books, ever patient and never wrong.... As we know, among his many great qualities was his devotion to the works of Shakespeare. He knew each play by heart line by line. But he was equally devoted to new writing.... Most of all I miss his generous advice on theatre and publishing which I treasure to this day."

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