“The performing arts need to be saved now. Not next week, or next month. If they die, an ecosystem this intricate and evolved cannot be rebuilt from scratch”
Sam Mendes

In the picture above, you can just about spot Charlie Jones, the Hall’s Building Services Manager, as he stands in the completely empty auditorium. Normally, even when audiences aren’t yet in for a performance, it’s never truly quiet, or empty. Due to the pandemic, however, our doors had to remain closed for almost six months, bringing stillness to our building for the first time in its 149 year history.

We are proud to be part of the Custodians for COVID project, led by Oxford-based photographer Joanna Vestey and collaborator Tara Rowse, which celebrates the people holding the fort at 20 London theatres during this time of crisis for the industry so we can continue to welcome you in the future.

Like many other venues, this extended closure has put the Royal Albert Hall in a perilous situation. Without shows on we have lost our major source of funding, but there remains a number of ways you can continue to support us during this crisis. This is one that allows you to have a little piece of our history for the future. If you can, consider buying a print of this special image: you will receive a limited edition print and, because the photographer Joanna Vestey is generously forfeiting her fee, the full proceeds of your donation will come directly to us.

Check out our portrait, and the full set. There’s also been a The Guardian feature of the series.

Photo credit: Charlie Jones, Building Services Manager, The Royal Albert Hall. London, June 2020 © Joanna Vestey.