The Royal Theatrical Support Trust's prestigious accolade, the RTST Director Award – which provides a rare opportunity for up-and-coming directors to make their mark in British theatre and provides grant support to British regional theatres – has been re-named, with immediate effect, the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award. This change to honour the late Sir Peter Hall – widely acknowledged as one of the most influential figures in British theatre for over half a century – has been made with the gracious endorsement of Sir Peter's family.
Sir Peter was one of the founding spirits and a lifelong supporter of the RTST (formerly the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Trust), whose aims – to promote and encourage participation in the theatre, including regional theatre, and to support young talent – remained forever close to his heart. The Award, conferred annually by a panel of highly distinguished theatre professionals at the end of a rigorous competitive process among directors, serves those aims both by recognising excellence in directing skills and by facilitating a career-breakthrough production directed by the winner at the participating regional theatre. It is therefore poetically apt that this Award should now memorialise Sir Peter.
Chelsea Walker, the winner (announced earlier this year) of what is now the 2017 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award – run by the RTST with Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) – will direct a play to be co-produced by NST, English Touring Theatre and Theatr Clwyd in 2018.
The RTST will re-double its efforts to raise funds in order to guarantee the long-term future of the Award.
Sir Geoffrey Cass, RTST Chairman, said "I knew Sir Peter Hall from our first meeting in the 1950s. Together with Sir Kenneth Cork, Peter and I founded what is now The Royal Theatrical Support Trust (RTST) in 1967. Sir Peter stood for artistic vision and integrity and a passionate belief in the importance of theatre to our culture and civilisation. He was a fervent champion of rising talent. The re-naming as the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award of our prestigious award to promote brilliant directors and regional theatre seemed to us to be the perfect way for the RTST to pay tribute to the man. I shall miss him terribly. "