Patrick Deuchar, former chief executive of London’s Royal Albert Hall (RAH), passed away on 10 September, aged 71.
Deuchar completed an eight-year stint as CEO at the RAH (cap. 5,272), which he enthusiastically promoted as “the nation’s village hall”.
When he assumed the role of CEO in 1989, one of Deuchar’s first decisions was to drop the ban on pop concerts that had been imposed in March 1972 after only one of 23 gigs the previous year had passed off without disorder.
From there, the CEO expanded the venue’s programming from the Proms to rock bands, Sumo wrestlers, arena opera, tennis tournaments, and meet-and-greets.
Under his management, the RAH also co-produced ballet Swan Lake and the Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil.
One of Deuchar’s first decisions was to drop the ban on pop concerts that had been imposed
But perhaps his most notable move as CEO was securing £40 million in National Lottery funding to give the venue a necessary facelift.
The new funding allowed the venue to open additional restaurants, bars, shops and lavatories; build new loading areas and backstage facilities; upgrade the auditorium seating, and transform the “death-defying” racetrack around the hall into a pedestrian piazza.
The construction work had barely begun when Deuchar resigned in 1997 because of ill health, and former director of finance and administration David Elliott was left to oversee the transformation.
Raymond Gubbay, a concert promoter who presented 50 shows a year at the RAH, said of his resignation: “I am deeply sad that he is going. Patrick has done an incredible job in revitalising the Hall.”
Deuchar subsequently took up a series of short-lived executive positions and was spoken of as a potential chief executive of the V & A, but instead retired to Devon.
Deuchar is survived by his wife Liz Robertson, an actress and singer, along with their daughter, and a son and a daughter from his first marriage to Gwyneth Miles.
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