Royal Albert Hall upgrades with Samsung

By Matt on 15th Aug, 2013

Royal Albert Hall upgrades with Samsung

The Royal Albert Hall has a long history in celebrating collaboration. From The Great Pop Prom in 1963 with artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to this year’s Urban Classic Prom starring Wretch 32, Fazer and Laura Mvula – it’s pretty clear that fusion is in their DNA. We have gone behind the scenes at the Hall to highlight how Samsung innovations have brought about a new era in collaboration, one of old and new, of instruments and devices, and of art and technology.

From front of house to backstage, discover how Samsung devices like smartphones, tablets and TVs are enabling one of the UK’s most treasured and historic buildings to embrace the digital age.

The Mad Rush

It’s half an hour before the doors open for the Urban Classic Prom, and the crowds are beginning to gather. We caught up with Flo Bishop, Duty Manager.

"The energy in the building rises during the day until performance time, it has something to do with the chemistry of the audience. It’s like the building has butterflies," Flo says.

Flo and her team keep the front of house in order and help over 5,000 culture-vultures find their seats. Her area surrounding the auditorium benefits from numerous Samsung screens, and keeps the crowds up-to-date with the latest performance.

Royal Albert Hall queue
Samsung at the Royal Albert Hall

"We have a Samsung screen especially for those who are running a little late at Door 6, however with the Urban Classic Prom we can let people in at anytime," she says.

"Tonight is definitely a lot younger than usual, but that’s nice. It feels buzzy. I’ve heard quite a few screams. I think they have been for Fazer."

Heading Backstage

While the atmosphere intensifies outside, the feeling backstage is a perfect combination of excitement and stress. Everyone, from performers to lighting technicians, is busy preparing for yet another world-class performance.

Preparation at the Royal Albert Hall

Ollie Jeffery, Senior Technical Manager at the Hall, is leading this ordered chaos and gave us a few moments to chat about everything from putting on the BBC Proms to the future of the Hall. “Before a show there is a real thrill in the air,” Ollie said. “Everyone is geared towards delivering the best possible show. We are frantic up until that moment when the show kicks-off. Then there’s a sense of relief.”

It isn’t long before we see one of the many backstage Samsung screens. “The Samsung screens are crucial to the running of our shows. It used to be a lot running around, but now thanks to Samsung, everyone has a much better idea of what’s going on. Screens are positioned around the stage exits and other useful places, like dressing rooms or our office. Everyone from musicians and performers to the tech team use these screens to hit their cues,” Ollie says.

Backstage at the Royal Albert Hall

Screens aren’t the only way Samsung helps the Hall maintain effectiveness. Devices like the Galaxy S4 and the Note 10.1 also play a crucial part in its day-to-day operations.

Michelle Aland, Head of Development Funding and Sponsorship, expands on why they are essential.

“Technology is now paramount to the Hall. Obviously it is such a big building, so devices like tablets and smartphones ensure that we can run a smooth operation. From show and technical management to all the other departments like hospitality, it brings it all together.”

Michelle Alland - Director of Sponsorship - Royal Albert Hall - Galaxy Note 10.1

Five facts you probably didn't know...

1. In tribute to Prince Albert, there are over 13,500 letter A’s located throughout the Royal Albert Hall.

2. The new carpet in the Circle is the largest single woven design in the world.


3. There are over 40 Samsung TV screens at the Hall, from front of house to the dressing rooms.

4. Since March 2012, Samsung has delivered technology to the Hall on over 500 performances and counting.

5. Some of the famous names that have performed at the Hall include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Jay Z and Beyonce.

Heritage Meets Technology

“The pace at the Hall is relentless. We are running seven days a week, morning and night, and all the time trying to ensure every department is providing the very best experience. This is why technology is an important part of the Hall’s future – it really is the building that never sleeps,” Michelle says.

The Royal Albert Hall puts on more shows than ever before, with 370 performances in their main auditorium per year and close to 200 events in secondary spaces. Performances now range from musicals to sporting events like the Masters Tennis tournament.

“The audience already expects things like LED screens and other tech in the performances, but now with Samsung we are slowly bringing it into the rest of the building, after all we are competing with places like the O2. The Hall has to be relevant as well as historic.”

It is getting close to show time, but before Michelle moves on to more pressing issues, she leaves us with a nice thought. “Albert himself was a visionary, so technology has always been a part of the Hall,” she says.

It’s time to find our seats.

Show time at the Hall

As we expected, the show started on time and with a bang. The 80-piece orchestra filled the Hall with familiar sounds while special guests, like Fazer, Wretch 32, Laura Mvula, Lady Leshurr and Maverick Sabre got the place pumping with awesome lyrics and vocals.

It was fusion at its best.

Show time at the Royal Albert Hall
Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall 01

History of the Royal Albert Hall

In March 1871, Queen Victoria officially opened the Royal Albert Hall. A building, a stage, and one she dedicated to her late husband, Prince Albert, who was the key advocate for such a place. His dream was to create a venue where performance could promote understanding and appreciation of the Arts and Sciences.

Royal Albert Hall 02

Today, as well as the Royal Albert Hall, there are a whole host of cultural and educational sites within the area along Exhibition Road. Including the Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Science Museum, this area is also commonly known as Albertopolis.

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