Sir Peter Reginald Frederick Hall, CBE (born 22 November 1930) is an English theatre and film director. Hall founded the Royal Shakespeare Company (1960–68) and directed the National Theatre (1973–88). He has also been prominent in defending public subsidy of the arts in Britain.
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. During his time as director of the National Theatre, he directed a theatrical version of George Orwell's allegorical novella, Animal Farm, with music and lyrics. Coincidentally, it was first staged on 25 April 1984, (1984 being the year in which another one of Orwell's novels, Nineteen Eighty Four, took place). It toured nine cities in 1985. After leaving the National Theatre Hall founded his own company directing a series of productions at the Old Vic.
In 1990, at the Chichester Festival Theatre he directed Born Again, a musical version of Eugène 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.
Hall has married four times. His first wife was French actress Leslie Caron, followed by Jacqueline Taylor, opera soprano Maria Ewing, and present wife Nicki Frei. One of his children is the actress Rebecca Hall, another is the director Edward Hall, and a further son is the producer Christopher Hall. Hall has worked with every one of his six children at one time or another, directing three actress daughters, another daughter Lucy Hall designed one of his three productions of Hamlet starring Stephen Dillane, Christopher Hall produced the television drama The Final Passage and Edward Hall was co-director with his father on the stage epic Tantalus. One of his sons-in-law Glenn Wilhide was also the producer of The Camomile Lawn which Hall directed for television in 1992.
Peter Hall began acting as a student at Cambridge university, where Dadie Rylands taught him to speak Shakespearean verse. He was also influenced in his understanding of Shakespeare by the literary critic and teacher F. R. Leavis. He subsequently acted in three German films, directed by Maximilian Schell 1973–1975: Der Fußgänger (The Pedestrian) (1973), Als Mutter streikte (When Mother Went on Strike) (1974) and Der letzte Schrei (The Last Word) (1975).