Winter cabaret, comedy and entertainment on London’s South Bank

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 12:34

Tough month, December. First off, it’s cold. Secondly, you’re already six weeks into the supermarket’s festive sandwich menu. Then you’ve got to somehow find the perfect gift for someone you’ve never spoken to courtesy of work Secret Santa. And you just know that come the Christmas party you’ll get stuck talking to the office ‘character’ – you know, the one who always has flashing lights on their festive jumper.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like this. At Southbank Centre we’re gearing up for the holidays with our own set of crackers. This December you can join us for live cabaret and comedy, entertainment and fascinating exhibitions; much of it completely free. So, ditch your colleagues (well, except the ones you like), round up your friends and come and spend winter being entertained with us.

Liza Pulman, Dillie Keane and Adèle Anderson  holding  martini glasses
10 December 2019 - 5 January 2020, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Fascinating Aida

Britain’s greatest cabaret trio – Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman – are back with a world premiere show. And with them they bring unstoppable glamour, and hilarious and topical songs including old favourites, some you’ve never heard before, and so you may wish you’d never heard in the first place.

book tickets   find out more

15 December, 6pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer

Drag Syndrome at Christmas

Get glitzy with the world’s first collective of drag kings and queens with Down’s syndrome. After their hugely popular appearance here in the summer, and off the back of a sensational international tour, Drag Syndrome return, aided by special guests from the London drag scene for a free early evening party of lip syncing, dancing and cabaret.

find out more

The LOL Word, illustrative image
20 December, 9.45pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer

Christmas LOLs

No Christmas cracker jokes here, as LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary comedy collective The LOL Word present a very merry, and free, evening of comedy. Fresh from their sell-out show at Soho Theatre, expect hilarious stand-up, sketches and more from founders Chloe Petts, Jodie Mitchell, Chloe Green and sketch duo Shelf, plus guests Suzi Ruffell, Sofie Hagen and Grace Petrie.

find out more

Audience members at Southbank Centre
22 December, 6pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer

Words Unwrapped

Fancy something a little less raucous? Join us to peel the paper off tales, poems and seasonal anecdotes in a free festive celebration of storytelling. On the Sunday before Christmas, gather round for a cosy evening of tales, as up-and-coming poets and fabulists regale you with narratives enticing enough to ward off the winter chill. 

find out more

Audience members and performer smiling
21 December, 4.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer

The Legends and Legacies Yuletide Special

Expect high-heel-stomping, glitter-romping fun, in this one-off festive variety extravaganza celebrating London’s older LGBT+ community. Opening Doors London and acclaimed performance artist XNTHONY join forces for an iconic free evening of festive cabaret in the style of a classic holiday TV special. 

find out more

Queer Tango dancers on the rooftop of Royal Festival Hall
26 December, 2pm, The Clore Ballroom

Queer Tango London

Take your first slow, slow, quick, quick, slow steps toward post Christmas recovery with  tango organisations Tango on the Thames, Queer Tango London and Tango Terra as they come together for this inclusive free tango event, featuring Argentine tango lessons, social dancing and performances with DJs and live music.

find out more

Southbank Centre, views of the London Eye lit up by fireworks on New Year's Eve
31 December, from 7pm

New Year’s Eve Spectacular

Ready to party like it’s 2019? How about 1999? Or 1979? Or even 1929? Whatever your era, you can see in the new year in style with us at Southbank Centre. Pick your decade and see the year off in style with six bars, live acts, 15 DJs, dance lessons, and outdoor spaces offering the perfect view of the UK’s largest annual fireworks display.

book tickets   find out more

And while you're down here...


Installation view of Bridget Riley at Hayward Gallery 2019 © Bridget Riley 2019 Photo Stephen White & Co.
until 26 January 2020, Hayward Gallery

Bridget Riley

Take an unparalleled opportunity to see the largest and most comprehensive showcase to date of the work of celebrated British artist Bridget Riley. This Hayward Gallery exhibition brings together the artist’s iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, as well as her early figurative works and recent wall paintings. It’s not hard to see why reviewers have been clamouring to give it five stars.

book tickets   find out more

6 December 2019 - 5 January 2020

London is Love

Projected and displayed across Southbank Centre, both outside and in our buildings, Liz Johnson Artur’s photography exhibition celebrates the city of London and its diverse and pioneering communities. See this exhibition that celebrates the ordinary, whilst highlighting the special for free from 6 December.

find out more

image of light installation
6 December 2019 - 5 January 2020

Vortices by Squidsoup

In a continuation of a series of immersive artworks that have included Kew Gardens’ Bloom, Salisbury Cathedral’s Wave, and Desert Wave from Burning Man, Squidsoup present this free swirling, sweeping swarm of light and sound, consisting of 200 beautiful orbs, suspended from the iconic ceiling of our Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer.

find out more

until 5 January 2020

Winter Market and The Circus Bar

Get in the festive spirit by eating, drinking and generally being merry with us between twinkling lights on the banks of the River Thames.  Find handmade gifts, delicious street food and winter warmers in our wooden chalets, or head into The Circus Bar on our Riverside Terrace for all of the mulled things.

Winter Market
The Circus Bar