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

The National Theatre confirmed that he passed away on Monday at University College hospital in London, with family at his side.

During his career he staged the English language premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and the world premiere of Harold Pinter's Homecoming.

A visionary and colossus Sir Peter had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011.

There will be a private family funeral, with details of a memorial service not yet announced.

Sir Peter became director of the National in 1973 and was responsible for the theatre's move from the Old Vic to the purpose-built complex on the South Bank.

He founded the RSC in 1960, aged 29, leading it until 1968.

Tributes have been paid to Sir Peter, the grand old man of British theatre, with many household names crediting him with helping launch their careers.

Sir Patrick Stewart was one.

In a statement, 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,” it said.

“The RSC realised his pioneering vision of a resident ensemble of actors, directors and designers producing both classic and modern texts with a clear house style in both Stratford and London,” the National Theatre said.

Sir Peter was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. He is survived by his wife, Nicki, and children Christopher, Jennifer, Edward, Lucy, Rebecca and Emma and nine grandchildren. His former wives, Leslie Caron, Jacqueline Taylor and Maria Ewing also survive him. There will be a private family funeral and details of a memorial service will be announced at a later date.
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