Things to do in October half-term at Southbank Centre

Friday, September 27, 2019 - 15:27

Longer nights, colder mornings. Time to get set for the October half-term. Yes, already. But before you start to worry about ways to keep the children entertained that don’t involve them disappearing headlong into a pile of fallen leaves, check out what’s on here at Southbank Centre.

Half-term coincides with our annual London Literature Festival and throughout the week we’ve a range of fun-packed events, workshops and performances offering you and your little ones the chance to go deeper into their favourite stories and fairy tales. From dancing to drumming, singing to stage, we’ve plenty to keep children stimulated this October.

I Believe in Unicorns, part of London Literature Festival
22 & 23 October | 1.30pm | Queen Elizabeth Hall

I Believe in Unicorns

Wizard Presents’ spellbinding interactive interpretation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book will spark the imagination in both young and old. Set in a library full of books, the story tells the tale of Tomas, a young boy who hates reading, that is, until a trip to his local library were he meets the Unicorn Lady.

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Baby Yaga, part of London Literature Festival
22 & 23 October | 11.30am & 2.30pm | Purcell Room

Baba Yaga

This brand new take on an old Russian folktale from Windmill Theatre Company will certainly give you lots to chew on. The performance tells the tale of Vaselina who lives a quiet life in a very tall apartment block, until she is forced to confront a terrifying resident who plays her music far too loudly and eats jelly babies with her mouth open.

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Eoin Colfer, writer
25 October | 11am | Queen Elizabeth Hall

Eoin Colfer: The Fowl Twins

Come and join us for a London exclusive as the global bestselling author of sci-fi fantasy series Artemis Fowl introduces his blockbusting new spin-off series, The Fowl Twins. Expect Eoin Colfer to ponder the big questions, like, is it sometimes necessary to be bad to be good? And, how many fart jokes is too many fart jokes?

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A child colouring at a workshop
21 - 27 October | 11am | Royal Festival Hall, Green Side Foyer

The Fairy Tale Trail

With the aid of our playful trail kit, discover the secrets to your favourite fairy tales on this daily do-it-yourself adventure for families. Interactive theatre-maker Anna Bruder’s activities will explore classic, dark and multi-cultural fairy tales and include puzzle-solving, drawing and games.

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Free daily workshops

Unleash your little ones’ creative side at our free daily workshops. Taking place each weekday of half-term in The Clore Ballroom, these special interactive sessions give children a chance to get involved in dance, music, story-telling, arts and crafts.


21 October | 10.30am | The Clore Ballroom

Fairy Tales of the Turntable: Family Dance Workshop

The first of our daily interactive sessions sees Southbank Centre favourites ZooNation, fresh off the back of their recent show Tales of the Turntable, join us to give a special dance workshops. Learn some new moves from one of the company’s leading dancers and then try them out at a special live DJ and MC set.

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22 October | 10.30am | The Clore Ballroom

Anansi Rhythms: Drumming and Vocal Workshop

Suitable for adults and children, this one hour Ghanaian drumming workshop is inspired by the traditional Akan folktale of Anansi. Thankfully you won’t need eight legs to try your hand at the djembe and dundun; just enthusiasm and a feel for West African rhythms.

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Children at workshop
23 October | 10.30am | The Clore Ballroom

Tales from the Library Attic: Story Workshop

Come and conjure up your own fairy tale in this super story workshop from The Patchlarks, as they make wondrous tales from things left behind. Help them create incredible paper-cut shadow collages and see what stories emerge as the light shines upon them.

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24 October | 10.30am | The Clore Ballroom

Akademi: The Milk White Ocean - Dance Workshop

On Thursday morning we’re joined by leading South Asian dance organisation, Akademi, to learn the enchanting tale of the milk-white ocean. Anusha Subramanyam will teach your little ones, and you, moves based on classical Indian dance to help tell this traditional story from Hindu mythology.

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Children Craft Workshop
25 October | 10.30am | The Clore Ballroom

Edible Books & Folklore Craft Workshop

Satisfy your hunger for reading quite literally with artist Chloe Spicer by creating your own edible books. Using wafer paper and edible ink you can draw inspiration from food-based tales from across the world to draw up your own delicious story.

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Grab a bite to eat

If you fancy something more substantial than a self-made edible story, then there are lots of food options across Southbank Centre. 

Each of our venues has its own cafe serving snacks and hot and cold drinks, and from Friday to Sunday we welcome our own Food Market to Southbank Centre Square serving street food from around the world. And if that wasn’t enough there are also a number of family favourite restaurant, including Wagamama, Strada and Giraffe.