PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Adrian Hall, the founding artistic director of Trinity Repertory Company, died Saturday at his home in Van, Texas, at the age of 95, the theater company announced Monday.
Hall led Trinity Rep from its first production in 1964 through 1989.
“Adrian Hall was a visionary artist, not only in the way he challenged the aesthetic limits of the stage, but also in the challenging subject matter he produced as artistic director,” current artistic director Curt Columbus said.
“With Adrian at the helm of Trinity from the late 1960s onward, the work onstage addressed topics that were rarely discussed in public forums at the time: the persecution of gays and lesbians, the legacy of slavery and its impact on how we deal with race in America, the limits of democracy and freedom, and so much more. His boundary-breaking vision for the theater as a public square is the greatest legacy that he left us, one that we will continue to carry forward,” Columbus continued.
Trinity Rep said a group of Rhode Islanders interested in forming a professional regional theater in Providence recruited Hall in 1963. The theater began performing at Trinity United Methodist Church the following year before Hall moved the company into a larger space.
In 1966, the company received funding that allowed high school students from all over the state to attend professional live theater for free, which garnered a lot of attention for the theater, according to Trinity Rep. Two years later, Trinity Rep became the first American theater company to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland.
Hall also started the Trinity Rep Conservatory in 1977, committing to actor and director training, which has evolved into the current Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program, Trinity Rep said.
His annual production of A Christmas Carol has been a holiday tradition in Rhode Island for more than four decades.