It is still a thrill to work the Royal Albert Hall. The history of the venue makes it impossible to be blasé when you walk out on stage.
For one week of the year the Hall puts a temporary floor over their stalls to create an arena for a Gala dinner and Business in the Community are one of the lucky companies to go in there for their National Awards.
Celebrating companies who demonstrate responsible business the awards pull in a paying audience of over 1,000 guests and I have the pleasure of working with the BITC team to produce this dinner.
Whilst the Hall is glorious it is not without its challenges. Get in and build times are compressed and the companies with dinners use the same production company and collaborate/ compromise on the look and feel of their set and stage to make sure the dinners can be delivered back to back.
The Hall itself is big and disorientating. You navigate by doors which are arranged like a backwards clock and floors which go from ground level up to the Gallery on floor 5. The general rule is that wherever you are in the Hall you are needed at the direct opposite point – urgently. I wore my son’s pedometer for this show and I’d taken over 18,000 steps by the time I finished my day.
The content of the show was great again this year. There was the beautiful double act of James Corden and Joanna Lumley. The chemistry was perfect.
There was also a spell binding performance by the Emerald Music School and a surprise presentation by the Prime Minster – a surprise to the audience that is.
Last minute script amends and creative ideas about texting mobile phones kept the crew on their toes but it was smoothly called so all the stress stayed on comms and didn’t come through to the audience.
So, another year ticked off. The best yet I think in terms of the final show. Let’s wait and see what’s in store for 2014.