Meet the Venue: The Royal Albert Hall
Recently, Gallowglass crew members have been sharing some of their thoughts and experiences to give an insight into what it’s like to work with us. And now we’re turning the spotlight onto another key aspect of our services: the venues we work with. So, over the next few months you can expect to gain insights into some of the awe-inspiring locations that form the backdrop to major events, and you’ll get a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors.
Welcome to our first venue…
Name: Royal Albert Hall (RAH)
Age: 151 years old
Location: Kensington, London
Size: 41m tall, 81m wide.
Capacity: 5,272 (seated)
One of the worlds’ most famous concert venues, the Royal Albert Hall has been entertaining audiences since 1871. Its distinctive dome-shaped roof and unique mosaic frieze are just two of the features that have made it one of the UK’s most iconic buildings, and home to a vast range of productions.
The Hall hosts over 800 events annually, both in the auditorium and non-auditorium spaces, ranging from beautiful ballets and orchestral productions to sumptuous banquets, live concerts, art shows and more.
The building’s Italianate architectural style is evident outside and in, and each room offers its own majestic charm. The main auditorium is the most extravagant of all the rooms, with rows of luxurious red seating looking down upon the majestic stage; this is where the biggest and best of the Hall’s events take place. The smaller rooms are stunning in their own ways, with fantastic gallery spaces, meeting rooms and a variety of other multi-purpose rooms.
Gallowglass at the Royal Albert Hall:
Gallowglass’ has built a strong relationship with RAH and have been in-house crew providers for the venue since 2011. In the last year alone, our teams have completed more than 90 projects on RAH events, with plenty more commissioned by external clients. The vast experience our crews have within the venue mean that they are familiar with the design and quirks of the building. What’s more, these days, the RAH staff now know almost every crewman by name which helps with the efficiency and smooth communications that are vital to every event.
One of the most notable jobs in both 2016 and 2017 was when Gallowglass crews were tasked with the transformation of the main auditorium into a tennis court for the annual Champions Tennis Tournament. As soon as the event ended, the courts had to be dismantled and the space re-engineered to host the London Fashion Awards. This was a very large-scale job and our crews were working to incredibly tight deadlines through the night. With our Senior Crew Chief Mitch Luck and our dedicated crews in-tow, the venue saw a dramatic transformation in a seamless fashion.
Cirque du Soleil is another of the crew’s favourite events, with this year’s show OVO beginning on January 7th. Gallowglass provided 194 crewmen, who worked a total of 1,442 hours over a 4-day period to load and install the flooring, stage and set for this year’s event. The stage measured 12.8m in diameter and was made up of 225 individual panels. Due to the space needed for acrobats and other artists, the stage needed to be fitted over the stalls and permanent seats within the auditorium, making for a complex instillation process. Crew Chiefs such as Mitch Luck, Christopher Howorth, David Gregory, Adrian Brewster, Alex Webb and Fation Cemi held key roles within the turnaround of this grand show and led the crews to success.
Crew Chief David Gregory shared his thoughts on the Royal Albert Hall:
“The Royal Albert Hall isn’t just another venue, it’s one that has so much history and stories to tell unlike any other. It holds many different and exciting shows and performances that as soon as you walk in, you get a proud and nostalgic sense of I’m about to be part of something amazing. Working with the in-house crew is also a great experience, they’re easy to work with, fun and know their stuff!”
Gallowglass have also been a part of many other events at the Royal Albert Hall, including:
- BBC Proms
- Festival of Remembrance
- English National Ballet
- Teenage Cancer Trust Presents
- Film Premieres including James Bond’s Die Another Day, Skyfall and Spectre, Titanic 3D and 101 Dalmatians
- Champions Tennis
- Mountbatten Festival of Music
- Robert Plant
- Jools Holland
The Royal Albert Hall was the brainchild of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who was passionately interested in the arts and sciences. Its design was inspired by Roman Amphitheatres such as the Colosseum and required over six million red bricks and around 80,000 additional terracotta bricks to complete.
Soon after Queen Victoria opened the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, it was discovered that there were major issues within the main auditorium; one of the most notable problems being a terrible echo produced by the glass-domed roof. It wasn’t until 1969 that a solution was found: by equipping the ceiling with fibreglass acoustic diffusers, fondly referred to as the Royal Albert Hall mushrooms, the sound quality was dramatically improved
Several carefully-planned renovations over the last century have improved the Hall’s facilities and restaurants without losing any of its heritage features. The Hall’s magnificent architectural grandeur sets the scene for every event that takes place there. And the vast range of productions that are staged under its domed roof bears out the affection and esteem that it continues to command.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the blog to catch the next instalment in our ‘Meet the Venue’ series!
If you are looking for event crew in London for your next project, get in touch with us today. Our team will be able to provide you with more information on our services and a quote to meet your needs, just as we have for the Royal Albert Hall!
Photo credit: User:Hellodavey1902 & Royal Albert Hall