Culture Picks

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 13:00

It’s another bank holiday weekend. And a sunny one at that. So, assuming you’re in England, you’ve the choice between running the gauntlet of visiting your local park or beach and trying to enjoy the sunshine whilst staying at least two metres away from everyone else. Tricky. Or, you can stay at home.

We can’t help you with the first option, other than suggest wearing a two metre diameter Elizabethan ruff, or perhaps taking up hula-hooping. But we can certainly help with the second, as our artistic experts have once again delivered with some stand out cultural highlights. From Russian Shakespeare to Welsh philosophy; dedicated documentaries to singing on your sofa, it’s all here for you to enjoy.

Our Hobby is Depeche Mode

chosen by Ralph Rugoff, Haywad Gallery Director

Our Hobby is Depeche Mode // DokStation 2019 // Trailer

‘During this time when live concerts are off the menu, it's an inspiring experience to revisit the extraordinary film Our Hobby is Depeche Mode (2006), in which artist Jeremy Deller and filmmaker Nicholas Abrahams explore hard-core DM fans from around the world. It's one of the strongest arguments ever made for the shared secular magic of live performance.’

watch the full film



Measure for Measure
Cheek by Jowl Theatre Company

chosen by Beth Byrne, Executive Producer

Measure for Measure Live Capture - Cheek by Jowl

‘This mesmeric and contemporary resonant production challenges the state's control over people's personal and sexual lives, and society's objectification and treatment of women. It features spellbinding performances from Cheek by Jowl's Russian language company of the Pushkin Theatre, Moscow, with visceral stage pictures and fluid physicality that are trademarks of Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's work.

‘In Russian with English subtitles, and recommended for ages 16+. Be quick if you want to take in the performance, it is only available to view until Monday 25 May.’



Epic concerts and more music magic

chosen by Bengi Unsal, Head of Contemporary Music

INXS - New Sensation (Official Live Video) Live From Wembley Stadium 1991 / Live Baby Live

‘From an Iggy Pop live session at BBC Maida Vale Studios, to the documentary Miles Davis: Birth of Cool; Pet Shop Boys and Kylie Minogue live at Hyde Park, to the minimalist composer John Adams talking to Charles Hazlewood. There is something for everyone on BBC's iPlayer if you have a good dig. My choice this week is a spectacular INXS concert filmed on 13 July 1991 at Wembley Stadium, featuring classic anthems ‘New Sensation’, ‘Mystify’ and ‘Need You Tonight’

INXS live at Wembley



Couch Chorus with Ben See

chosen by Ruth Hardie, Interim Head of Public Programming

Couch Chorus - Session #5: Reach Out, I'll Be There - The Four Tops

‘Although I've loved consuming so many incredible performances and events online over the past few weeks, I've really been missing participating with others, and making music myself.  Ben See is a brilliant composer and vocalist who's worked with the Southbank Centre on various projects in various festivals. His Couch Chorus, live on YouTube at 6pm every Sunday, is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the weekend and have a good old sing from the comfort of your own home.’

‘Ben teaches simple, accessible songs, using a loop machine to build up harmonies. It's open to singers of all levels and you can take it at your own pace, either singing the tune to a song you know, or challenging yourself to learn a new harmony. If you miss the live stream, don’t worry, episodes are available to watch afterwards on Ben See’s YouTube page.’

Ben See on YouTube



'How The Light Gets In' Festival 2020

chosen by Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature and Spoken Word



A post shared by HowTheLightGetsIn Festival (@howthelightgetsinfestival) on

‘Friday 22 May saw the start of the first ever ‘How The Light Gets In’ online festival, a digital incarnation of the annual festival of philosophy and music, which runs until 25 May. A celebration of lively debate and spine-tingling music, brings together thinkers and writers from a range of disciplines, with Nobel Prize winning economists and scientists brushing shoulders with Booker Prize winning novelists. If you’re looking for incisive discussions that will challenge your thinking on a range of subjects – from politics and the pandemic, to AI and anxiety – tune into what promises to be an illuminating few days of talks.’

How The Light Gets In 2020



Music for Mental Health Awareness Week

chosen by Gillian Moore, Director of Music 

‘This week is Mental Health Awareness week and I've put together a playlist, together with some words about each of the tracks. I chose music which I often turn to, music which addresses some of the fears and anxieties which many of us are facing specific to the lockdown, music which seems to understand our pain, as well as other works which can lift us out of it, even if for a moment. This is not simply a feel good playlist – but don't worry, there's lots of that too. 



Art by Post

chosen by the Southbank Centre

Forgive the self indulgence, but we want to make sure as many people as possible know about Art by Post, our new pilot scheme to provide visual arts activities to the people most isolated by social distancing. The Art by Post creative booklets are designed to keep minds active, proving particularly useful for older adults living with dementia and other chronic health conditions, who might not have regular digital access.

The Art by Post creative booklets arrive through your letterbox or straight to your email inbox. Perhaps someone you know would benefit from receiving these packs to help keep their mid active?

more on Art by Post



The show must go on(line)

Sadly, for everyone’s safety, our venues are currently closed. But you can still get your Southbank Centre fix online. We will continue to share inspiring and thought-provoking arts stories through our website and social channels.

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As a charity, we rely on ticket sales for a huge chunk of our income. But now they’ve stopped. And it's a huge worry to us, and the people we work with. We all need the escape of art and culture; it can inspire and unite us. So please – if you can afford to – consider a donation to the Southbank Centre today, to help us be there for you in the future.

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