One of London’s most famous venues faces imminent closure unless it can drum up some more financial support. The Royal Albert Hall, which has played host to everyone from Bob Dylan and Ella Fitzgerald to Jimi Hendrix and – of course – World Wrestling Entertainment, has lost roughly £12m since it was forced to close its 12 doors in March.
The venue’s CEO Craig Hassall called the situation ‘the most perilous the hall has ever faced’.
A loan of £5m has already been secured, but a further £5m to £10m is needed to avoid insolvency. Hassall also took issue with current social-distancing guidelines for theatres, cinemas and music venues, which would not allow them to reopen at full capacity.
‘It’s not as though we’re not trying hard enough,’ he said. ‘It’s operationally, financially and artistically not possible to operate within these guidelines. Until venues can open without social distancing, the live music industry is finished.’
The Royal Albert Hall will be celebrating its 150th birthday in March next year. The Last Night of the Proms, which has been held there every year since 1895, is due to go ahead on August 28 without an audience. So don’t bin your wretched Union Jack flag just yet.