Sir Peter Reginald Frederick Hall, CBE (born 22nd November 1930) is an English theatre and film director. Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company (1960–68) and directed the National Theatre (1973–88), and has been prominent in defending public subsidy of the arts in Britain.
From 1954 to 1955 he was at the Oxford Playhouse where he directed several notable young actors such as Ronnie Barker and Roderick Cook. In August 1955, he directed the English-language premiere of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett at the Arts Theatre, London. From 1956–1959 he ran the Arts Theatre and directed several plays including the English-language premiere of The Waltz of the Toreadors by the French dramatist Jean Anouilh. He was at Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon for the 1957 to 1959 seasons. There, his productions included: Cymbeline with Peggy Ashcroft; Coriolanus with Laurence Olivier and Edith Evans; and A Midsummer Night's Dream with Charles Laughton.
Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960, at the age of 29. He served as its artistic director from that time until 1968. He was director of the National Theatre from 1973 to 1988 and was also a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain resigning from the latter role in protest over cuts in public funding. After leaving the National Theatre he founded his own company directing a series of productions at the Old Vic. In 1983 he presented a new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle at Bayreuth, with Sir Georg Solti conducting. This production was in honour of the 100th anniversary of Wagner's death.
In 1988 he opened a production of Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending in London. He later presented the production, starring Vanessa Redgrave on Broadway in 1989. A year later, he directed the a TV film adaptation of the play, Orpheus Descending.
In 1990, at the Chichester Festival Theatre he directed Born Again, a musical version of Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros. Hall wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the libretto with Julian Barry, and British composer Jason Carr in Carr's first professional musical. Many years later one of the show's song's "When I Was Out This Morning" (with lyrics by Hall) was included on Carr's composer compilation album.
Sir Peter Hall is Director Emeritus of the Rose Theatre in Kingston upon Thames which opened in January 2008, and which draws design inspiration from the original Rose theatre. In 2010 the Rose had a sell out run of his production of A Midsummer Night's Dream with Judi Dench playing Titania.