7 July 2020


Cadogan Hall will become one of the first venues in the UK to reopen its doors to live performance since the COVID-19 lockdown, as it welcomes musicians back for a series of carefully planned live-streamed concerts and recording sessions over the coming weeks, all adhering to strict government guidelines. Events include Black West End and Broadway stars coming together for a special charity performance, ‘TURN UP!’ in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, album recording sessions, and a live streamed concert from the English Chamber Orchestra.

Adam McGinlay, Managing Director of Cadogan Hall says, ‘We are so pleased to get performers back on stage once again. We have been working with Taskforce and Working Groups set up by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to develop guidance for the safe reopening from the outset. This, combined with Hall’s agile operation and private funding by Cadogan Estates (the Hall’s owner), means we can start to build on rehearsals, recordings and concert streamings in a safe and responsible environment within sector guidelines.

The government’s announcement of a £1.57bn package of support for the arts, culture and heritage sector in the UK is hugely welcomed and we wait with great eagerness on reopening dates in accordance with the government’s five-plan recovery roadmap.

Online streaming does not – in anyway – replace the live concert going experience. It barely shines a light to it. Meeting friends pre-concert, bustling foyers, people watching, prosecco flowing – a growing sense of excitement as the foyer announces:

‘Ladies and gentlemen – please take to your seats – this evening’s performance – will commence – in 5 minutes.’

…can’t be replicated online.

Concerts halls, theatres, performers and audiences across the country, long to return and engage once again. As do surrounding hotels and restaurants enhancing the concert-going experience through post-concert dining and night time dwelling. All significant participants in this ecology, contributing to the country’s economic health.

Not until we beat the pandemic, or at the very least control it, can we return to what we do best. Live performance. Until then – our bustling foyers, bars and foyer announcements – remain ghostly silent.”

Concert streaming does at least, go someway in reconnecting concert platforms with players, and players with audiences. It doesn’t generate significant income and requires considerable expenditure. But we can at least connect through streaming – and Cadogan Hall is open to all promoters and performers to make this happen.

The English Chamber Orchestra’s strings return to the stage for an album recording on 6 & 7 July before performing a live-streamed concert with 25 players on 8 July at 7:30pm. Stephanie Gonley directs the orchestra from the violin in a performance of Mozart’s Symphony No.29 and Ofer Falk is the soloist in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. The performance will be broadcast on Cadogan Hall’s YouTube Channel and will be followed by a Q&A session with members of the Orchestra.

Black West End and Broadway stars will come together for a special one-off virtual concert at Cadogan Hall, in support of Black Lives Matter. ‘TURN UP!’ will feature performances with a live band, alongside readings, poetry and speeches, from a host of stars including Sharon D Clarke, Noma Dumezweni, Clive Rowe, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Johnnie Fiore, Norm Lewis, Brittney Johnson, Brandi Chavonne Massey and Joe Aaron Reid.

Under the creative direction of Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter, ‘TURN UP!’ will be live streamed from 10, 11 and 12 July. The 12 of July broadcast will be captioned. The online concert was recorded with a live band on stage at Cadogan Hall, with a handful of exclusive at home performances and voice overs from the USA and UK. 

Safety of the staff, performers and technicians is of paramount importance and Cadogan Hall will fully deploy government guidelines within the venue for all staff and performers. Personnel will always adhere to current social distance guidelines and there is a one-way system in place throughout the venue combined with specified arrival time slots for performers and players. All individual equipment will also be changed over after every set to ensure each new ensemble has fresh microphones.

Similarly, wind and brass players from the English Chamber Orchestra will also perform with unique guidelines specific to their musical discipline to enable them to perform safely as with the rest of the orchestra. Stage markings clearly outline such distances.