Former Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Terry Hands, who also founded the Liverpool Everyman theatre, has died aged 79.
His management confirmed that Hands had died on February 4, following a short illness.
Hands was best known for running the RSC between 1978 and 1991, which he did alongside Trevor Nunn for the first eight years of his tenure.
Gregory Doran, artistic director of the RSC, said: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Terry Hands.
“Terry was an inspirational director with an international reputation who ran the RSC for 13 years.”
Doran, who first worked with Hands on his 1987 production of Julius Caesar, said the director taught him to “honour the driving impulse under Shakespeare’s text, and… 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,” Doran said.
Prior to the RSC, he had co-founded the Liverpool Everyman upon his graduation from RADA. He later went on to become artistic director of Theatr Clwyd, a position he held for 17 years.
He is widely credited with turning around the Welsh theatre’s fortunes, and handed over to Tamara Harvey in 2015.
Harvey described Hands as “a giant of the theatre and a colossus of Theatr Clwyd”.
“He saved the theatre from closure – this is actual truth not hyperbole – and protected it from ongoing public funding cuts, keeping our theatre making teams together whilst theatres across the country were losing theirs,” she said.
Harvey added: “Theatre in Wales and beyond owes him an immeasurable debt. He will be sorely missed by all those fortunate enough to have known him, whether as colleague, mentor or friend.”
Hands’ son Rupert, also a theatre director, paid tribute to his father on Twitter, describing him as “the best of the best”.
The best of the best. Goodbye dad. pic.twitter.com/5B7jYA2Ijn
— Rupert Hands (@Rupert_Hands) February 4, 2020