Royal Shakespeare Company co-founder John Barton dies at 89

LONDON (AP) — John Barton, co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, has died. He was 89.

The company said on its website Thursday night that Barton had died earlier in the day.

Barton co-founded the company in 1960 and spent the rest of his career with the group.

He was “simply one of the greatest influences in the acting of Shakespeare of the last century,” RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said.

Barton directed many classic plays and taught generations of actors how to approach Shakespeare’s works.

Doran said Barton had a rare “ability to uncover the clues that Shakespeare wrote into the text to enable actors to deliver it with freshness and vivid clarity.”

Barton’s “Playing Shakespeare” workshops were often shown on television beginning in 1982.

He collaborated with co-founder Peter Hall on the influential “The Wars of the Roses” in 1963 and directed “Twelfth Night,” ”Much Ado About Nothing,” ”Love’s Labour Lost” and others, working with Judi Dench, Donald Sinden, Patrick Stewart and other stalwart British actors.

Barton continued working with the company until several years ago. He had recently moved from his home in central London to a care home in west London.

His wife Ann died in 2013. He is survived by his sister Jennifer.

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