Dear Sir Peter,
I wrote you a personal letter over 30 years ago, you were kind enough to reply to, and so generously to say that it was one of the most acute you’d ever read on Shakespearean acting and directing, and since you were in New York at the time, told me to contact your secretary about a meeting. Alas, I never took you up on the offer, I turned to writing instead, like a fool, and whatever might have happened, never got the chance to meet you.
Now the sad news of your passing has been announced today, I’m sorry I never will get such a chance. Not so sad though, in the sense you were a grand old age, 86, surrounded by your family and your life and career have been an inspiration to so many. In the review below we mentioned your directing Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot at The Arts theatre in London, for its premier in 1955, long before you ever achieved the deserved ‘Sir’ and it’s just one of so many astonishing feathers in your cap. I’m sure the regrets and plaudits will pour in, from so many who knew and worked with you. But to me, at a distance, you were always an inspiration. A fighter, someone both inside and outside the ‘establishment’, a fierce intellectual, and a man deeply committed to the theatre and the Arts: Director of plays and opera, film critique and of course one of the founders of the RSC.
That is a life worth living, and though perhaps everything passes, and any single play is necessarily ephemeral, the thread of your life and work goes on, not least in another kind of lesson, to seize the day. Thank you.
David Clement-Davies September 12th 2017 The photo shows Sir Peter on stage with his daughter Rebecca Hall.