Our story

Since being founded in 1951, Southbank Centre has grown to be the UK's largest arts centre, acclaimed for diverse and groundbreaking programming.

The festival spirit is the very heart of Southbank Centre and inspires everything that we do. Born out of the Festival of Britain in 1951, we are proud to be the UK’s largest arts centre. We believe that the positive and welcoming nature of festivals can help break down barriers in people for whom art and culture may seem irrelevant or daunting. Through our events and festivals we bring diverse people and communities together to celebrate, discuss, debate and unite. 

Our artists & performers

We work with some of the most important and influential artists and partners from around the world – including our outstanding resident orchestras – to deliver a programme that celebrates the diverse experiences of people and cultures. We have a network of world-class artists from every genre who regard Southbank Centre as their home and who share in our values and help us to deliver our goals. 

our mission

It is our belief that art has the power to help change society for the better and that art must be accessible. For these reasons we present as many free activities as possible so that young and old alike can 'bump into art' and then determine to make it part of their lives.

Creative learning & schools

The Creative Learning team aims to make Southbank Centre accessible to everyone and create unforgettable experiences through workshops, programmes and courses. We work to find new and creative ways for schools, communities and individuals to engage with our artistic programme, collections and site.

Regional & international partnerships

We work with arts organisations across the country and over six continents to showcase the breadth of our artistic programming, to present exhibitions organised by Hayward Touring and the Arts Council Collection and to produce touring shows including 2001: A Space Odyssey set to a live orchestral score.

Commercial & corporate

We offer a stimulating and professional environment in which to help our partners thrive and our audiences enjoy our work. Our entrepreneurial drive supports our artistic ambition through the sensitive integration of commercial activity across our site. Looking to the future, our ambition and vision expands nationally and internationally, and we want to touch those further away with our artistic programming, Hayward exhibitions and touring programme.