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Royal Albert Hall back at capacity, but London landmark left in debt

LONDON: London’s prestigious performing and event venue, Royal Albert Hall, opened at full capacity on Monday for the first time since March 2020, but the concert hall says the pandemic has devastating financial implications.

As of Monday, the UK government’s major restrictions on Covid-19 in England have ended, meaning that concert venues and theaters can sell all available seats.

“Financially, Covid has been devastating not only for the Royal Albert Hall … for the entire creative sector … for the entire world,” Craig Hassall, executive director of the Royal Albert Hall, told Reuters.

The Royal Albert Hall is an independent charitable organization that makes most of its money from ticket sales and donations. They lost £ 60 million ($ 82 million) in revenue during the pandemic and took out a £ 20 million loan from the British government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, Hassall said.

“This is the worst situation we’ve been in in an awful long time. But I am confident that now that we are back on our feet and working again, we can trade to overcome our deficits, ”he said.

As with many other locations in the capital, they made changes to keep the public safe, including a £ 900,000 ventilation project and a request to wear masks in public.

“There is a lot going on beyond what the government says we need to do to make the room a really safe place.”

The birthday concert on Monday night featured about 300 performers. Circle of sound celebration of the 150th anniversary of the hall.

“I’ve locked myself up for two weeks because I’ll never miss this,” show composer David Arnold told Reuters.

Said that he and the cast were very careful as they wanted to avoid isolation, as happened with other shows.

The production, which also features celebrity guests such as actor Michael Sheen, musician Melanie C and sports star Nicola Adams, sold between 80% and 85% of tickets.

The Royal Albert Hall was opened in March 1871 by Queen Victoria and is named after her husband. It was forced to close its doors for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic. –Reuters

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