Royal Albert Hall Makes Key Appointments To Recover From Coronavirus Crisis
– Lucy Noble has been appointed as the Royal Albert Hall’s first ever Artistic Director.
Noble also chairs the UK’s National Arenas Association.
London’s Royal Albert Hall has announced a couple of key role changes, which are designed to help with the venue’s recovery from the massive disruptions caused by the coronavirus restrictions of the past one-and-a-half years, which has left the building with more than £20 million ($26.6 million) in debt.
Lucy Noble has been appointed as the Royal Albert Hall’s first ever Artistic Director, effective this month. According to the press release announcing the change, “Lucy’s appointment to this new role is a statement of the Hall’s artistic ambitions as it emerges from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, having been closed for the best part of 19 months and carrying a £20.74 million debt to government from the Cultural Recovery Fund.”
This new role has a renewed focus on the number of own-produced and co-promoted shows, and an ambition to curate the hires and shape the artistic direction of the Hall, something Noble had already been championing during in her previous role of Artistic and Commercial Director of the Royal Albert Hall, which she held from 2013 to 2021.
The Hall’s Director of Visitor Experience, Anthony Winter Brown, will depart in July 2022, at which point Noble will incorporate Brown’s commercial portfolio including catering, tours, merchandise, retail and visitor experience, allowing her “to take a holistic artistic view of the brand and focus of the Hall and ensure that we continue to succeed as one of the most famous venues in the world,” according to the announcement.
– The Royal Albert Hall.
Our March 15, 2021 cover story.
Lucy Noble commented: “I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed as the first Artistic Director for the Royal Albert Hall. In recent years, we have moved from being predominantly a hall for hire to presenting and promoting around 70 events each year out of around 400 events in the auditorium.
“I am particularly looking forward to now bringing the visitor experience side of the business within my remit and to support the teams to deliver world class experiences to our visitors whilst we continue to focus on the quality, diversity and commerciality of events in order to attract the widest possible audience to the Hall.”
To balance this heightened artistic focus, the Hall’s Chief Executive Craig Hassall has created the role of Chief Operating Officer, a role that “will oversee all the financial and operational elements of the Hall, including building and facilities.”
The role of COO will become vital, once the Hall’s current Director of Building and Facilities, Sara Crema, leaves at the end of 2021, and the Director of Finance and Administration, Anupam Ganguli, leaves in April 2022.
Craig Hassall commented: “2021 is the Royal Albert Hall’s 150th anniversary and we could never have imagined being forced to close for this milestone. As we emerge from the pandemic, this is a critical time in the organisation’s history and Lucy’s experience and creativity will shape the artistic vision of the organisation.
“As chair of the National Arenas Association, Lucy holds a leading role in the industry, and she will be a terrific Artistic Director for the Hall, balanced by the new Chief Operating Officer whose role will be crucial for the Hall’s finances and the safeguarding of the Grade I listed building.”
The Hall’s executive team is completed by Louise Halliday, who heads up the portfolio of External Affairs, which retains its responsibility for Box Office, Marketing, PR, Public Affairs, Digital Strategy, Insight, Audience Development and the Archive, as well as Susan Gent, the Secretary to the Corporation.