I first read Peter Hall's Diaries about founding the National Theatre as a young, full of piss and vinegar (and myself), artist. I had taken the book from the bookshop at said National Theatre (which they let you do...without paying...as long as you brought it back undamaged). I read the intro to the book and I read:
I went back and bought the book. I paid £15.99 (about $30 at the time). That was a lot for me to spend. To put that in perspective: I spent £5 to see Maggie Smith perform in Lady in the Van on the West End.
But this book... I read it and re-read it and re-read it. It is so full of amazing, daring, inspirational thinking. Unafraid and unapologetic, crouched and ready to fight for the artistic soul of his country...Peter Hall was, and remains, one of my absolute personal and professional heroes.
When the first twinkle of what it might be like to have my own theatre sparked in my mind, it was modeled after his building of the RSC and NT. Grandiose? Yes. But Sir Peter was always bold. But when we started JustArt Theatricals LLC Peter Hall was, without question, an unheralded adviser. His diaries remain a how-to guide to the establishment of an institution. He was a colossus. The only American analogue to Sir Peter Hall, in my mind, is Joe Papp, but only as a producer. Sir Peter surpassed Joe's individual artistry as a director and creator of work.
The dude founded the RSC. Established the National Theatre. Directed the UK Debut of "Godot"...c'mon guys.
RIP Peter Hall...