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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Festival Hall face-lift unveiled
The refurbished auditorium at the Royal Festival Hall
The renovated Royal Festival Hall will reopen next week
The multi-million pound transformation of the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank has been unveiled.

The 91m two-year project has restored the Grade I listed building to its former glory.

The 2,788-seater auditorium now has upgraded acoustics, under-seat air conditioning and increased leg-room.

To mark the opening 24,000 free tickets will be handed out for performances on 9 and 10 June ahead of the First Night Gala Concert the following Monday.

Massed choirs will arrive by candlelit river boat for the opening celebrations on 8 June.

The public will be invited to take part in The Overture as well as enjoy performances by dancers and musicians.

'Unique' place

As part of the revamp staff and production facilities have been moved into a new extension building, creating more space in the hall for public use.

Interval bars have doubled in size and outdoor balconies now provide panoramic views of the river Thames.

Clive Hollick, chairman of the Southbank Centre, said: "The Royal Festival Hall holds a unique place in the cultural life of this great city."

Adding her support Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said: "It is wonderful that one of London's brightest stars is back and ready for business.

"It does brilliantly and simply what many people in the cultural sector aim to do - ensuring that world-class events are enjoyed by as many people as possible, in a fantastic and inspirational setting."

The new look royal festival hall is opened to the public

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