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Turning 50: the Royal Festival Hall celebrates

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It is 50 years to the day since the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank opened to the public. To mark this anniversary, the RFH is holding a number of events

Tickets for all these events are available from the RFH box office 020 7960 4242. Seats for tonight's birthday gala concert at the hall have all been sold but it will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm.

There are related exhibitions at the National Film Theatre and at Avery Associates' London IMAX, which are both close to the RFH.

In addition, Phaidon Press is reissuing John McKean's Architecture in Detail book on the RFH (£19.95) with an additional chapter in which he brings the story of the building up to date. McKean also wrote a 'Masters of Building' feature on the hall (AJ 9.10.91).

The RFH itself has published a memoir by Jean Symons, Concert Hall Notebook: A Record of Fifteen Months on the Site (£3.95) Current renovation proposals Allies and Morrison is the architect for the proposed renovation of the RFH, which is now Grade I listed. There are three main strands to the work: restoration of foyers and public spaces, including a reopening of the roof terraces; improvements to the auditorium, especially to its acoustics (on which Chicago-based Kirkegaard and Associates has advised); and construction of a new linear building alongside Hungerford Bridge. With a link to the hall for staff, this will accommodate South Bank Centre offices currently in the RFH, so freeing more of the hall for public and artistic use.

The cost of the programme is estimated at £50 million, with the Heritage Lottery Fund having already promised an 'in principle'award of £12 million for restoration of the public spaces. Fundraising is continuing, with the hope that a phased programme of works can begin in 2002.

RFH 50th Birthday Exhibition In the hall's level two foyer until 3 June. Admission free Democratic Architecture: Adrian Forty with Graham Morrison Tuesday 8 May,7.30pm.Tickets £5 Civic Space in the 21st Century: Patrick Keiller, Sunand Prasad and Saskia Sassen with Deyan Sudjic Tuesday 15 May,7.30pm.Tickets £7.50 Spectral Cities: Steve Pile Tuesday 22 May,7.30pm.Tickets £5 Possess Our Streets: Jeremy Till and Sarah Wigglesworth Tuesday 29 May,7.30pm.Tickets £5

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