The well-known Royal Festival Hall in London is part of the famed Southbank Centre. This expansive concert, talks and dance venue seats no less than 2,500 attendees and is considered to be one of the finest venues of its kind in the world. Located on a picturesque setting on the River Thames’ South Bank, the hall is housed in an architecturally acclaimed building. Notably the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra both perform the greater part of their concerts in London at this venue.
This hall which was opened to visitors in 1951 is now operated by the Arts Council. It has followed an ‘open spaces’ theme since the 1980s which means that the expansive foyers at the facility are open to the public during the day even if no concerts or other performances are in progress. Accordingly the venue has become a popular public space in the city.
Over the years a number of alterations and renovations have been made to the complex. In 1964 additional terraces and foyers were constructed on to the part of the edifice which faces the river. Formerly the building depicted a light-hearted Scandinavian Modernist theme in its exterior appearance; this was over the years remoulded into a more simplistic and assertive motif.
In addition to the acclaimed auditorium the Hall also features the Saison Poetry Library, the Clore Ballroom, the Spirit Hall (comprising the White, Blue as well as Yellow Rooms) and additional features for the convenience of visitors. These facilities include the Riverside Terrace Cafe, Skylon Restaurant and the Central Bar.
The Southbank Centre which also includes the Hayward Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Hall has the distinction of being the largest arts centre in Europe. The centre hosts almost 1,000 paid events comprising dance, music and literature every year, as well as more than 300 free events and educational programmes. Additionally several art exhibitions are held here creating a great deal of interest in the artistic sphere.