Great Hall goes viral thanks to Alicia Keys' Netflix video shoot

Some of you may have watched the Netflix hit Bridgerton, a historical-fiction romance set in the Regency era that is also evocative for its orchestral covers of pop songs. Some of you may even be familiar with the show’s recently released prequel, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, which follows in the same musical footsteps with orchestral rearrangements. However, what you may not know is that the song and video used to tease the new series, which debuted on Netflix on 4th May, were filmed and produced here at UCS!

Indeed, the multi-Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys came to Frognal during the Easter holidays and teamed up with a 74-piece orchestra – made up entirely of women of colour – to record a captivating new rendition and video of her timeless classic If I Ain’t Got You 20 years after it was first released. This special musical moment showed Keys in the Great Hall together with the ‘Queen Charlotte’s Global Orchestra’ – comprising more than 70 female musicians from all over the world, from South Africa, Barbados and Germany to Sweden and Egypt.

It is an iconic piece of filming, in terms of both the TV and music industries, and its value to UCS is considerable. Not only does it showcase the Great Hall and school premises, but such a high-profile event generates vital revenue for the school, particularly feeding into the bursaries provision. UCS Commercial Director, Jes Rattan, said it had been the school’s biggest but also “most demanding” filming hire yet, explaining: “The production required almost the whole of the main centre, the south block, the Lund Theatre and the Refectory. In the video you will see the main sequence being within the Great Hall, with Alicia playing on the UCS Steinway & Sons piano. The stills were filmed in two Maths rooms and also the Lund Theatre.”

The crucial work of raising funds through facilities hire in order to boost bursaries, is managed by UCS Facilities, the school’s not-for-profit subsidiary company. Mr Rattan said it had been a collective effort, adding: “I would like to thank UCS staff for being so accommodating and helpful in order to get this over the line. Director of Music Chris Dawe arranged the piano tuning at such short notice. Our caretaking and cleaning team ensured areas were prepped pre and post shoot. The Drama Department were so flexible, and thank you also to the Estates and Health and Safety teams.”

Back to all highlights
You may also be interested in

Fives back in favour at UCS

Fives back in favour at UCS

Fresh take on an old classic

Fresh take on an old classic

DNA link-up at Pre-Prep

DNA link-up at Pre-Prep