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Obituary: Andrew Hall – Butterflies actor who enjoyed an extensive stage career

Andrew Hall. Photo: Faye Thomas Andrew Hall. Photo: Faye Thomas

Andrew Hall’s first job after graduating from LAMDA – as Russell, the son of Ria (Wendy Craig) and sibling of Adam (Nicholas Lyndhurst) in Carla Lane’s television hit Butterflies (1978-83) – gave him fame and launched a career that included the West End, Royal Shakespeare Company, Coronation Street and spells as a director and producer.

Born in Manchester, Hall came to acting early (playing Romeo at school) and late, having spent time as a stagehand at the Yvonne Arnaud Guildford and stage manager with theatres including Exeter’s Northcott and London’s Royal Court before training at LAMDA.

The Stag review of Butterflies Are Free (click to enlarge)
The Stage review of Butterflies Are Free (click to enlarge)

Television success led to appearances in regional reps, where he was “powerfully moving”, noted The Stage, in Leonard Gershe’s Butterflies Are Free (the title alluding to Charles Dickens rather than Carla Lane) at Worthing’s Connaught Theatre in 1982.

Joining the RSC in 1984, he made an impact as a combustible Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet) and his West End debut with the company in Pam Gem’s Camille at the Comedy Theatre in 1985.

He returned to Theatreland in Arthur Smith and Chris England’s An Evening With Gary Lineker at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1993, with Steven Berkoff’s Coriolanus (Mermaid Theatre, 1996), Jean Anouilh’s Ring Around the Moon (Playhouse Theatre, 2008) and Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre, 2009).

Hall’s many national tours included shows for Mobil Touring Theatre and Ray Cooney, as well as Peter Hall’s 2007 revival of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever. He directed an admired production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Matthew Kelly’s George and Tracey Childs’ Martha at the Garrick Lichfield in 2008, bringing it to Trafalgar Studios under the aegis of his own company, co-founded with Childs. They produced the first London staging of Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia (Riverside Studios, 2011), as well as Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport (Richmond Theatre, 2014), both of which Hall directed.

Hall’s television appearances included the Russell T Davies-produced Children’s Ward (1989), EastEnders, Brookside, Hollyoaks and – as the transvestite suitor of Sue Nicholls’ Audrey Roberts – Coronation Street.

Andrew Hall was born on January 19, 1954, and died on May 20, aged 65. He is survived by his wife and two children.

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