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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 17:32 GMT
Albert Hall opens daytime doors
The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall will be more eclectic
The Royal Albert Hall in London is to open its doors in the day for the first time in its 130-year history.

The change is part of an eight-year 66.3m refurbishment scheme to improve the London venue which will be completed in 2003.

Visitors will be able to take a half-hour tour backstage and use restaurant facilities.

More jazz performances, ballet, opera and theatrical productions are also on the cards to increase the appeal of the venue.

The doors at the Hall will open during the day time a year after refurbishments are completed.

The development is being carried out to increase the scope of the Hall and to provide more backstage space and better ventilation.

Financial shape

Chief executive David Elliott said: "At the end of the development we will be in great financial shape that will enable us to put money into programming and educational initiatives.

"We are not going to stop being a broad church in terms of what happens here. We value the diversity of musical genres but the economic key to it all is making the Hall busy."

More than 300 events were staged at the venue, opposide Hyde Park, last year but the Hall will embrace new projects aimed at appealing to a more eclectic audience.

Amateur orchestras and choirs could be given the chance to appear at the Hall as part of the developments.

The Hall wants to start commissioning its own works, and also to stage master classes for children run by major performers.

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