Roger Hall was born in England in 1939 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1958. He worked first for State Fire Insurance, later working as a teacher and editor with the Education Department before winning the Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago in 1977. Hall was based in Dunedin as teaching fellow in the English Department where he taught the playwriting course, until he moved to Auckland in 1995.
Hall's early scripts were for television, but in 1976 he wrote his first stage play Glide Time. Many successful play productions followed, together with musicals, pantomimes, radio dramas, books and plays for children and comedy series for television. His plays have been performed in many other countries, and he has had Conjugal Rites produced as a sitcom in the UK. Hall is New Zealand's best known dramatist with more than 40 plays to his credit.
In recent years, he has written the box office hits Who Wants to be 100? (2007), Four Flat Whites in Italy (2008), A Shortcut to Happiness (2011), You Can Always Hand Them Back (2012), Last Legs (2016) and Winding Up (2020). For several years he produced an annual pantomime for Circa Theatre, Wellington (with songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams). In 2007 he co-wrote the commissioned work, Who Needs Sleep Anyway? celebrating Plunket's Centenary, with his daughter Pip Hall.
Knight Companion of the NZ Order of Merit, 2019
Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement (Fiction), 2015
Lifetime Achievement Award Hackmann Awards, Auckland, 2011
Lifetime Achievement Award, Dunedin Theatre Awards, 2011
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services as a playwright, 2003
Visiting Fulbright Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 2003
Best Script: Comedy, AFTA NZ Television Awards, Spin Doctors, 2003
Toastmaster International. Communicator and Leadership Award, 2002
Best Script: Comedy, TV Guide Television Awards, Market Forces: Episode 4, 1998
Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, 1997
Hon. Doctorate of Literature, Victoria University, 1996
New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, 1990
Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO) for Community Service, 1987
Turnovsky Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts, 1987
Fulbright Travel Fellowship, USA, 1982
Comedy of the Year, Society of West End Theatres (London), Middle Age Spread, 1979
Robert Burns Fellowship, University of Otago, 1977 and 1978