Theatre News

Royal Albert Hall announces 150th anniversary season with Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, Alfie Boe and more

The new season marks the first time the Royal Albert Hall has hosted a run of Bourne’s work

The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall
© David Levene

The Royal Albert Hall has revealed plans for its 150th anniversary season, which is set to begin in spring 2021.

The venue's chief executive Craig Hassall said today: "Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic, which has closed our treasured building to the public for the first time since the Second World War, we are determined to host a full celebration of our 150th anniversary.

"Since its opening, this extraordinary venue has borne witness to, and played a central part in, seismic cultural and social change. The interests, manners and social mores of the people may have changed, but this beautiful building and what it represents remains the same a century-and-a-half later: a meeting place, a reflection of contemporary Britain, and a home for exhilarating live performance and events of international significance."

Writing about the venue and its namesake, her great-great-grandfather, the Queen said: "Albert was a man of extraordinary vision and ingenuity, and, together with Queen Victoria, he shared his passion for the global arts, education and culture with the nation. I have been Patron of the Royal Albert Hall since 1953, and my family and I have enjoyed many events including the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, the Centenary of the Women's Institute, and even my 92nd Birthday celebration. As it embarks on its next 150 years, I hope that the Royal Albert Hall will continue to thrive, and that many more people will have the opportunity to make their own memories of this wonderful building".

A birthday concert event will take place on 29 March 2021, featuring a multi-media spectacular overseen by composer David Arnold (responsible for five James Bond films) with guest appearances from stars of stage and screen.

From 17 to 27 June, Matthew Bourne will create a new staging of his hit piece The Car Man, based on Bizet's Carmen.

There will be concerts throughout the year from the likes of Patti Smith, Jon Hopkins, Gregory Porter, Tinie, Brian Wilson, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel and Alfie Boe, while multi-award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney will explore the lives and contributions of immigrants with new festival Journeys – 150 Years of Immigration.

In addition, KT Tunstall will lead a new mentorship programme for young female artists, while Nile Rodgers will compose a pop anthem for the anniversary. Michael Giacchino (Up) will create a new piece for the venue's organ – once the largest in the world.

Naturally, the BBC Proms will return with a special series of programmes about the venue, while the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will present a series of concerts.

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