Sir Peter Hall died at the age of 86

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Critic Rupert Christiansen tweeted: "Peter Hall one of the greatest of opera directors: he understood that the music had to lead the drama...', and a statement issued by the Royal Opera House noted that Hall 'brought to all his opera direction a deep understanding of the music, much clarity and profound dramatic insight". He had been diagnosed with dementia in 2011.

'His legendary tenacity and vision created an extraordinary and lasting legacy for us all'.

In 1955, when he was 25, Hall directed the first English-language production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot", an avant-garde drama more experienced directors had shunned.

The National Theatre's current director, Rufus Norris, said: "We all stand on the shoulders of giants and Peter Hall's shoulders supported the entirety of British theatre as we know it". This saw the company move from The Old Vic theatre to a new objective built space on the South Bank.

Says David Mirvish: "I was immediately attracted to Sir Peter's ambitious plans".

Sir Trevor Nunn said: "Not only a thrilling and penetrating director, he was also the great impresario of the age".

'Our honest thoughts and sympathies are with Sir Peter's family and friends at this sad time'. "He was - and is - the godfather (in both senses) of British theatre and like countless directors, writers and actors of several generations I have much to be grateful to him for". "Sir Peter bestrode the world of British theatre like a colossus".

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Hall's landmark work as a theater director in the United Kingdom included John Barton's nine-hour epic Tantalus (2000), As You Like It (2003, with his daughter Rebecca Hall) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (2010, with Judi Dench).

A political figure who cultivated foes and enjoyed locking horns with the Arts Council and governments he accused of starving theatres of subsidy, it is the on-stage innovations Sir Peter will be most remembered for.

After leaving the NT in 1988, he formed the Peter Hall Company, and in 2003 became the founding director of the Rose Theatre Kingston.

Peter Hall made his debut at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1956 with Love's Labour's Lost: his productions in the 1957-1959 seasons included Cymbeline with Peggy Ashcroft, Coriolanus with Laurence Olivier and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Charles Laughton.

Hall was married four times.

Hall, who was knighted in 1977 for his services to theatre, is also survived by his wife, Nicki, other children Christopher, Jennifer, Edward, Lucy, Emma, and nine grandchildren.

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