David Mirvish Remembers Sir Peter Hall, Will Dim Royal Alexandra Theatre Marquee in His Honour
David Mirvish is saddened to learn about the death of theatre giant Sir Peter Hall, who died in London at the age of 86 on September 11, 2017. In honour of his life, the lights of the Royal Alexandra Theatre will be dimmed at 8 PM on Tuesday, September 19.
From staging the English-language premiere of Waiting for Godot, to founding the Royal Shakespeare Company, to leading The National Theatre of Great Britain during its pivotal move from its original home at the Old Vic to its purpose-built facilities on the Southbank, Sir Peter was at the core of English-language theatre for the second half of the 20th century.
Sir Peter had a long relationship with the Mirvish family, bringing many of his productions to the Royal Alexandra Theatre, beginning in 1964 with the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Hollow Crown. Other plays that made the trek from London to Toronto were Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson (1979), Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce (1979); Animal Farm (1986); Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, starring Alan Bates and Gemma Jones (1996).
In 1997, Sir Peter, after the brilliant success of The Master Builder at the Royal Alexandra, approached David Mirvish about forming a repertory company to perform both classics and new plays at the Old Vic, which the Mirvish family had bought in 1982 and brilliantly restored and operated for 15 years.
Says David Mirvish: "I was immediately attracted to Sir Peter's ambitious plans. He wanted to produce three plays with a company of superb actors. The original idea grew quickly to encompass 12 plays - six classics and six brand new plays from young writers.
"And what a playbill that Sir Peter put together: A revival of Waiting for Godot, starring Ben Kingsley and Alan Howard; major new productions of King Lear and The Provok'd Wife; New plays from writers that have since become major players - Sabastian Barry and David Rabe. among them.
"The Acting Company, which comprised of 35 actors, was a who's who of British theatre and film, including Rupert Graves, Felicity Kendal, Geraldine McEwan, Gemma Jones and Michael Pennington. And then there were some new talents just starting out - Daniel Craig, Victoria Hamilton, Dominic West among them.
"It was a brilliant and exciting season that ran 40 weeks.
"Sir Peter's contributions to theatre are immeasurable. The world has lost a giant."