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Format: 12 Dec 2017

Royal Festival Hall, London

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Venue Information

An immense 3,000-seat concert hall, the Royal Festival Hall has undergone recent transformation to make its decorations and acoustics more suitable for the quality of acts it welcomes. It is a well-lit wood-panelled auditorium, with lighting panels covering most of the lofty ceiling. If you’re with friends or family, you can pass the time by working out what inspired the odd shape of the boxes.

Travel

Nearest Tube Station:

Waterloo

Directions From Tube:


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Royal Festival Hall

Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

History

Post-War Britain needed an artistic lift – so Prime Minister Clement Attlee believed. And so in 1949 he proposed the building of a new concert hall to be a permanent outpost for London’s musical life. He ended up laying down the first stone of the building, which opened a year and a half later in 1951.

What was originally the modest Royal Festival Hall grew into a veritable arts hub in the 1960s, namely the South Bank Centre which incorporated the new Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Royal Festival Hall also faced renovations itself and saw new terraces appear along the riverside. By the 1980s, it introduced an ‘open foyer’ policy, which meant that its foyers would be open every day regardless of whether any performances were being put on.

The Royal Festival Hall seemed to find a more well-defined purpose when it became colloquially referred to as ‘London’s third opera house’ thanks to award-winning operas and the residence of the London Philharmonic Orchestra; this continued for five more years in the ‘90s. It was then that many years of wrestling for funding for building work commenced, and finally the Royal Festival Hall closed its doors for two years in 2005 for its £15 million new look (although it’s been estimated to be up to 6 times that amount by some!). When it reopened in 2007, celebrating with the Meltdown Festival and a seven-hour Indian concert, it boasted better acoustics, more public-friendly spaces and an adaptable auditorium.

Inside Track

The Royal Festival Hall became the first post-war protected building in 1988.

It hosted the 1960 Eurovision Song Contest.

The area around the Royal Festival Hall is noted as one of the best places for skateboarders in London.

Nearest Restaurants

Make the most of your trip on the town with a delicious meal before the show. Check out our top recommendations below. All these restaurants are just a stone’s throw away from your theatre. So you can relax before enjoying a slice of world class entertainment. Simply add your theatre tickets to your basket and select the restaurant of your choice.


Pizza Express, Royal Festival Hall

  • Address: Unit 3 The White House, 9c Belvedere Road, SE1 8YP
Royal Festival Hall