The Albert Hall is singing a different tune

The Royal Albert Hall, home since 1941 to one of the world's biggest and best-known classical music festivals, is taking on the West End with a move into musicals.

In conjunction with impresario Raymond Gubbay, the home of the Proms is in talks with various parties about staging a production next year. Its chief executive, David Elliott, declined to name which musical the organisation was targeting, but confirmed it would be a famous one.

"We just want to see if we can make this work," he said, "although we're not going to invest in something that would need to run for years. We're looking at doing a slightly different take on it."

The musical is likely to be staged "in the round", with the audience surrounding the stage. The Royal Albert Hall, with Mr Gubbay, has already enjoyed commercial success - if not always critical acclaim - staging popular operas such as Carmen in this way.

Although the Royal Albert Hall was awarded £40m from the National Lottery towards a recently completed £70m refurbishment, it receives no public finance for its day-to-day operations. All the money it makes is ploughed back into the Hall, including funding educational days for children.

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