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30th Jun, 2022

Tributes paid to former RSC director Terry Hands

Catherine Thompson 5th Feb, 2020 Updated: 5th Feb, 2020

TRIBUTE has been paid to former RSC artistic director Terry Hands who has died aged 79.

Current artistic director Gregory Doran, along with a raft of RSC stars, shared their fond memories of the theatre stalwart who ran the company from 1978 to 1991.

Mr Doran said: “He taught me to honour the driving impulse under Shakespeare’s text, and how to share that with an audience, and keep them gripped by that momentum. I owe a great deal to him as a mentor and as a friend, and like so many, feel his loss deeply.”

Sir Patrick Stewart tweeted his reaction to the news: “May my dear friend and British theatre director, Terry Hands, rest in peace. He and I joined the RSC at the same time, 1966. I admired him immensely. He played a very significant part in my early Shakespeare career.”

Sir Antony Sher, who joined the company in 1982, described Mr Hands as his mentor.

He added: ” He was a brilliant and witty man, and a remarkable director, able to create real stage magic, epic images of beauty and power. I will miss him hugely.”

After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, Mr Hands co-founded the renowned Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. The theatre opened its doors in 1964 with a production of Henry IV Part I.

By 1966 Mr Hands was at the RSC where he directed several prolific productions. He was made co-artistic director, with Trevor Nunn, in 1978. For five years, from 1986, he ran the RSC alone, as artistic director and chief executive.

During his time in Stratford, Mr Hands directed 21 Shakespeare plays in 25 productions. The Merry Wives of Windsor, with Ian Richardson as Ford, and Brenda Bruce and Elizabeth Spriggs as the Wives, was hailed ‘one of his earliest successes’ by Mr Doran.

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