London’s Royal Albert Hall has reported a record year for business in 2012 with operating income growing 4.3% to £16.8 million to produce an operating surplus of £4.5 million.
The grade I listed building presented 377 events in its historic main auditorium and welcomed an audience of 1.58 million people to deliver its most successful year since it was opened by Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert as a centre for the arts and sciences in 1871.
With a wide-ranging programme that included the BBC Proms, Cirque du Soleil, concerts by Gary Barlow and Emeli Sande, boxing and tennis tournaments and the world premieres of Skyfall and Titanic in 3D, ticket commission from third-party lettings grew by £378,000 during the year.
The Hall’s own promotions – which included live orchestral accompaniment to screenings of West Side Story and Fantasia alongside concerts by classical pianists Lang Lang and Valentina Lisitsa – generated £410,000 more than in 2011. Sponsorship income saw an increase of £87,000 while contributions from its membership scheme grew almost a third (30%) to £1.72 million.
Nearly £4 million from the oprating surplus (an increase of 63% year on year) has been set aside for the Hall’s five-year development plans which include extensive backstage refurbishment and new energy-efficient heating systems. Meanwhile, £1.84 million was invested in building projects, including the recent renovation of the Hall’s South entrance, which opened to the public at the end of May.
The venue’s education and outreach progamme, which included the annual Dance Proms and Music for Youth concert, reported more than 100,000 participants during the year.
The Hall’s chief operating officer Jasper Hope said: “As a financially independent charity, with no government funding, our commercial success is vital to fulfill Prince Albert’s legacy for the Hall to be Britain’s primary arts and entertainment venue and contribute to his charitable aims, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience for customers and an opportunity for artists to add their own chapter to our unrivalled history of performance, as well as continuing to play an important role in the cultural life of the UK.”