A new short film, Your Room Will Be Ready, has just been released to commemorate the 150th anniversary of London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall. Narrated by Sir Mick Jagger reading from W. H. Auden’s poem “For Friends Only,” the film looks back at the legendary history of the Hall and promises future audiences many more memorable experiences to come.
Sir Mick Jagger said: “Without doubt the Royal Albert Hall is one of the greatest concert venues in the world and so I was delighted to be asked to read a short poem by W.H. Auden as part of this excellent short film by Tom Harper. I have some wonderful memories of performing there with the Stones in the 1960s.” Director Tom Harper says that the film is “not only a celebration of performances from the Hall’s glorious past but also the sense of anticipation of some of the things to look forward to when we can be together again.”
Directed by BAFTA-nominee Tom Harper (The Aeronauts, Wild Rose) with original score by Academy Award-winner Steven Price (Gravity, Fury), the film features more than 40 archive event clips, including never-before-seen and rare material dating back to 1930s.
The film includes legendary moments in music history, alongside appearances from artists, athletes and activists. It contains previously unseen and unreleased footage of Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival, as well as rarities including Diana Ross’ 1973 Hall debut, restored footage of Led Zeppelin’s now-legendary 1970 appearance and Peter Whitehead’s film of The Rolling Stones’ 1966 headline show.
Other clips include BBC Archive footage of Shirley Bassey, George Michael and Luciano Pavarotti, recently rediscovered material from a 23-year-old Jacqueline du Pré’s 1968 concert for the people of Czechoslovakia, and Albert Einstein speaking out against the Nazis in 1933. Freddie Mercury’s appearance at Fashion Aid 1985 features, alongside an excerpt from D.A. Pennebaker’s 1968 Bob Dylan documentary, Don’t Look Back.
Recorded at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, the film’s original score features the Tippett Quartet, celebrated flautist Eliza Marshall and BBC Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet Philip Cobb. Produced by Tomboy Films and Barnaby Spurrier, the film was shot by cinematographer George Steel (The Sandman , Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror) and edited by Mark Eckersley (The Crown, This is England ’86) and Sarah Bates (Vanity Fair, Luther).
The film is the first event of the Hall’s 150th anniversary celebrations, which will extend into 2022 and include major commissions from British artists, headline performances from music icons, and a series of showcases promoting the next generation of talent. More than 330 auditorium shows were cancelled or postponed during the past year, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic and The Hall will still be closed on its actual birthday. However, there will be a special birthday concert on 29 March 2021 – 150 years to the day since its opening. David Arnold, multi-award-winning composer of scores for Sherlock and five Bond films, has led a team of musicians on a year-long collaboration with hundreds of local schoolchildren, community members and the Chelsea Pensioners. The result is A Circle of Sound, a multi-media spectacular that evokes the spirit and history of the Hall. The ten-movement work will be performed by a full orchestra, joined by singers from the National Youth Choir of Great Britain plus guest stars from the worlds of stage and screen.