Royal Albert Hall is facing closure as bosses say only a THIRD of seats could be used under new social distancing measures leaving it unable to make enough money to stay afloat
- Royal Albert Hall capacity would have to be cut by 30 per cent under new rules
- CEO said the venue is ‘digging’ into its reserved and called closure ‘unthinkable’
- Venues across the UK face similar battles to adjust to life under new rules
The Royal Albert Hall is facing closure in a ‘tragedy for the nation’ as social distancing rules make it impossible to run the venue safely.
Chief executive Craig Hassal warned that the 2m (6ft 6in) space requirement will force the 150-year-old venue to cut its capacity to just 30 per cent.
Its bars and restaurants would have to keep closed, Mr Hassal said, adding that the Royal Albert is already ‘digging’ into its reserves.
The Royal Albert Hall is facing closure in a ‘tragedy for the nation’ as social distancing rules make it impossible to run the venue safely (pictured, the Proms in 2012)
The historic venue was opened up for Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins, who performed wartime songs to empty stall on VE Day (pictured, the venue on VE Day)
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, he said the venue is in a ‘seriously desperate’ financial situation and claimed: ‘We may have to close.’
The historic venue was opened up for Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins, who performed wartime songs to empty stalls on VE Day.
Although the BBC has said it will press ahead with this year’s Proms and floated the idea of streaming concerts, Mr Hassal said it would be unworkable.
Shows for May and June, including performances by Peter Frampton, Scouting for Girls and English National Ballet’s Swan Lake, have been cancelled.
Mr Hassal told the paper: ‘A night when we are not performing to 85-90 per cent (capacity) is a night when we’re not making money.
Chief executive Craig Hassal (pictured) warned that the 2m (6ft 6in) space requirement will force the 150-year-old venue to cut its capacity to just 30 per cent
‘We need about 378 performances a year at about 85 per cent occupancy to deliver a regular year’s income to Royal Albert Hall.’
He continued: ‘If we can’t make this work, we don’t have a secret stash of money. We’re digging into our reserves now.
‘The biggest risk is that we would close down. You can’t imagine the Royal Albert Hall being forced to close, it’s unthinkable.’
Venues across the UK face extinction as social distancing rules will force managers to severely cut occupancy if they want to reopen.
It is an unintended consequence of the Johnson government’s decision to introduce the lockdown in response to coronavirus.
A spokesperson said it had announced ‘unprecedented financial measures’ and encouraged arts organisations to apply for the support.