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Southbank Centre consists of the Royal Festival Hall (newly reopened after its two-year transformation), the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall (containing the Purcell Room), and the Saison Poetry Library. We also manage the Arts Council Collection and organises the National Touring Exhibition programme in venues throughout the UK.
Situated on the south bank of the River Thames next to the popular BA London Eye, Southbank Centre is at the heart of an arts quarter stretching from the Royal National Theatre and National Film Theatre to Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe.
Royal Festival Hall: 10am – 11pm every day except Christmas Day. Free entry.
The Poetry library will remain open on all dates with access from the Artist’s Entrance.
Queen Elizabeth Hall: Open times vary but usually open 90 minutes before events start and open all day in the summer.
Hayward Gallery: Open daily Mondays 12 - 6pm, Tuesdays – Wednesdays 10am – 6pm, late nights Thursdays and Fridays until 8pm
Free access to building, events may be charged
An Unknown Soldier: An Exhibition by Henningham Family Press
- 4 November 2014 — 4 January 2015 *on now
This exhibition about the legacy of the first world war is a series of printed poems responding to remembrance, DNA technology and propaganda. An Unknown Soldier, by the Henningham Family Press also includes new works for the centenary year of the outbreak of the war, commissioned to highlight the 43 million pocket Gospels of St John that were given to servicemen. The new illustrations import the legacy of the first world war into this significant document that lived in the trenches.
Rego Retold – An exhibition by Owen Lowery and Paula Rego
- 17 March — 3 May 2015
This exhibition shows three original works by Paula Rego with poetic responses from Owen Lowery.
On show from the Arts Council Collection are Minotaur Slicing Goat, Girl by Swimming Pool and Aberystwyth for which Lowery has written new poems to accompany the pieces. Lowery’s new collection Rego Retold has just been published by Carcanet and includes over 50 works in response to Rego’s art.
This exhibition brings together one of the most striking new voices in contemporary poetry alongside an artist widely celebrated as one of the most distinctive and compelling in contemporary art.
London International Mime Festival
- 10 — 25 January 2015
Southbank Centre presents award-winning work from Belgium, France, New Zealand and the UK as part of the annual London International Mime Festival, now in its 39th year.
Performances include the return of Iona Kewney and Joseph Quimby to London with Knights of the Invisible, featuring movement, contortion and live music (12-13 January).
A grand piano takes centre stage in Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit The Pianist, a co-production between Thomas Monckton and Finland's Circo Aereo (14-18 January).
From France, Lonely Circus' wire-walker Sebastien Le Guen and electro-acoustic musician Jérôme Hoffman make their UK debut in Fall/Fell/Fallen (10-11 January), and Oktobre presents world-class magic, mystery and aerial daring (23-25 January).
Back by popular demand, gentleman juggler Mat Ricardo returns with new tricks up his sleeve in Showman (19-21 January) and Belgium's Circus Ronaldo presents Amortale, a Felliniesque world of hand-crafted commedia-circus, mixing tragedy and clowning, opera and marionettes (16-18 January).
- Family friendly
Changing Britain 1945 – 2015
- 30 January — 9 May 2015
This festival interrogates the last 70 years of British history, focussing on society, culture and politics, inspired by historian David Kynaston’s acclaimed books that are part of a series Tales of a New Jerusalem on the social history of England from the end of World War Two.
The festival asks if we still believe in the values of the 1951 nationwide Festival of Britain created to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress following the Second World War and explore themes including equality, fairness and social justice since then.
Changing Britain 1945-2015 begins with a series of BBC Concert Orchestra concerts accompanied by a supporting programme on 30 January, 7 February and 22 March, and a major exhibition, History is Now: Seven Artists Take On Britain in the Hayward Gallery from 10 February to 26 April.
The festival builds up to three concentrated festival weekends of talks and debates (18 - 19 April, 25 - 26 April and 2 - 4 May) ahead of the General Election on 7 May.
Imagine Children’s Festival, sponsored by the Book People
- 9 — 22 February 2015
Children are at the heart of Imagine, helping to shape all aspects of it, when they takeover Southbank Centre for two weeks each February.
The Imagine Children’s Festival returns with a range of theatre, music, dance, film and a wide range of free activity alongside readings by some of the UK’s top authors.
As part of the Berliner Philharmoniker London Residency 2015, in partnership with the Barbican Centre, there will be a family concert featuring the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker (15 February). The residency will culminate with a performance by Young Orchestra for London - a giant orchestra formed of children, young people and amateur musicians - conducted by Simon Rattle on The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall (15 February).
The Festival also includes The Big Sleepover (16 February), when children will explore the Royal Festival Hall by torchlight, hear and tell stories before spending the night on the stage and in the auditorium.
- Especially for children
Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival
- 1 — 8 March 2015
Coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March, Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival celebrates its fifth year in 2015.
The festival champions the incredible achievements of women and girls and explores the most potent topics for women today, featuring voices from around the world and shining the spotlight on a broad range of topical women’s subjects through its mix of talks and debates, concerts, performances, workshops, speed mentoring and networking opportunities.
On 5 March 2015, indie pop band tUnE-yArDs will perform in Royal Festival Hall. For the fifth anniversary, WOW will continue to build on its success regionally and internationally with its second year of activity at Cambridge University (6–8 March) and Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (20–22 March) and the second WOW festival in America, in Harlem, in collaboration with and hosted by the Apollo Theater in New York in June.
- 15 — 25 May 2015
Alchemy, Southbank Centre’s festival of South Asian culture and the relationship between the UK and this part of the world returns for the sixth year with its mix of music, dance, literature, film, fashion and design.
It has grown to become the largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside India. 2015 will see Alchemy tour for the first time. Additional support from Arts Council England has supported Southbank Centre to work with Oldham Coliseum (Doncaster), Cast (Doncaster) and Black Country Touring to build a tour of regionally instigated work inspired by Alchemy themes.
Join the band of intrepid Poetry Explorers every Wednesday at 16.00. Parents and children are welcome at this free reading club for families in the newly refurbished Poetry Library.
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