Still unclear whether Proms will go ahead with audience – Royal Albert Hall boss

The boss of the Royal Albert Hall said he thought the Proms will proceed this year – but that it is still not decided if they would have an audience.

CEO Craig Hassall stated in June that the renowned London venue, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, is now reopening for the public.

He told the PA news agency that it seemed probable that the Proms would take place, usually between July and the second Saturday in September, even though he didn't know what form.

The Last Proms Night in 2020 (Chris Christodoulou/BBC/PA)

The 2020 version featured a smaller orchestra of 65 – but without an audience due to coronavirus constraint – instead of the normal 300 – with the singers standing to ensure social distance.

Mr Hassall said: "This date moves every week.

We're technically closed right now until the end of March, however, to be frank, April and May look a little shaky.

We also look at June and think: 'I wonder if June can succeed or not?

"We're going to keep gatherings as long as we can and we just need to pass them.

Fortunately, the pattern to date was that promoters with the events would like to reschedule rather than cancel so that's great."

Mr Hassall said that there is no "magic date" at which the hall can welcome audiences.

"I really don't know.

I'm going to let you know," he said.

"But this year we are all about the Proms.

I hear the Proms are going to happen so it's fine.

Of what shape, I don't know.

It's an outstanding sign.

"We did not have an audience last year, which was a little odd, but it was brilliantly captured and it looked fantastic.

"I think that's one way, but we just want a Proms crowd.

It would be fantastic. That would be great.

And it's mid-July or July, so we're going to see."

The chamber, which Queen Victoria opened in 1871 and was called Prince Albert, is now closed because of the pandemic.

His recent closure was only the second place since the lightning.

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