Robert Smith on curating his Meltdown festival

ROBERT SMITH | Meltdown | Interview

The 2018 Meltdown festival was the 25th edition of our annual celebration of contemporary music. Such a sizable milestone deserves a suitably big name. Step forward Robert Smith.

In this exclusive video interview Smith discusses how he put the festival together, the thrill of discovering new music, and just how odd it is to be referred to as a legend.


I thought because it was the twenty-fifth Meltdown I’d aim big… and go for world famous artists
Robert Smith, curator of Meltdown festival 2018

Over ten sweltering June days, Robert Smith’s Meltdown brought tens of thousands of gig-goers and music fans thronging to our concert halls, night after night. They were rewarded with an incredible bill that featured 90 different artists, including such musical giants as Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine, Deftones, Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines, Placebo, Death Cab For Cutie, Mogwai.


More than just Meltdown, Southbank Centre plays host to a huge number of live music gigs throughout the year. Upcoming performances this autumn include Lost Horizons, Whyte Horses Experience, Paul Weller and Moses Sumney.

see full gig listings

Southbank Centre’s Book Podcast: Matt Haig & Jordan Stephens on mental health and creativity

Mental health and creativity featuring Matt Haig and Jordan Stephens by Southbank Centre's Book Podcast

In this episode we bring you highlights from author Matt Haig’s recent interview at Southbank Centre about his new book Notes on a Nervous Planet and musician and campaigner Jordan Stephens talks to Ted Hodgkinson about the relationship between mental health and creativity.

Following on from the mould-breaking memoir Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig’s new book is a personal look at living with anxiety in the age of social media. We bring you key moments from his conversation last month with Bryony Gordon, offering insights on the why staying happy is difficult in our comparative culture and the relationship between the internet and his writing process.


There’s a lot of ‘I’ and ‘self’ wrapped up in the consumerist world we live in
Jordan Stephens

Jordan Stephens is best known as one half of the hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and has since led a range of campaigns challenging stigma about mental health for the likes of the YMCA and the NHS. He talks candidly to Ted Hodgkinson, Southbank Centre’s Head of Literature and Spoken Word, about the expectations of fame, masculinity and anxiety have shaped his life and fuelled his music.


Southbank Centre is the home of literature and spoken word events in the UK. See what’s coming up in our literature and poetry programme.

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London South Bank University Graduations

London South Bank University (LSBU) organises a number of graduation ceremonies each year for students who have successfully completed their course of academic study.

Two ceremonies take place on each day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The duration of the ceremony is approximately 90 minutes, followed by a celebratory reception which lasts approximately one hour. Graduates need to arrive up to two hours before their graduation to give themselves time to collect their ticket and gown and have their photograph taken.

Book your guest tickets now, ensuring you are booking tickets for the correct ceremony. If in doubt, please check which ceremony the graduand you are accompanying is graduating in.

Event information

Ceremonies take place in the Royal Festival Hall Auditorium at 11am and 3pm, with a running time of 90mins. The timing of your graduation depends on the course of study.

A full breakdown of courses can be found on the What's On pages of

For special requests or questions about the ceremony please contact the LSBU Event Team. Email us 



Tickets are £25 adult, £15 child and £37.50 box seats. The child rate is not available in box seats. There are no concessions. Babes in arms for under-3s only. Transaction fees apply: £3 online.

School of The Built Environment and Architecture

Monday 1 October 2018, 11am

School of Engineering

Monday 1 October 2018, 3pm

School of Arts and Creative Industries / School of Applied Sciences

Monday 15 October 2018, 11am

School of Law and Social Sciences

Monday 15 October 2018, 3pm

School of Business

Monday 29 October 2018, 11am & 3pm

School of Health and Social Care

Monday 5 November 2018, 11am & 3pm

China Changing Festival returns to celebrate innovative contemporary Chinese culture

Southbank Centre’s China Changing Festival returns from Thursday 4 - Sunday 7 October 2018 for a four-day grand finale showcasing contemporary Chinese culture, and its creative connection with the UK. Launched in December 2016, this three year international festival returns to London, for the final time, presenting some of the most innovative artists practising in China today and celebrating inspiring work from British-based Chinese and South East Asian artists.

China Changing Festival brings visitors closer to current Chinese culture, exploring modern adaptations of ancient artistic techniques, the role art can play in interpreting the world and the global influence of Chinese literature. Over half of the action-packed four-day programme is free, bringing together an eclectic mix of artists and performers introducing new perspectives on South East Asian culture through cutting-edge art . This year’s edition of the festival includes fashion, theatre, comedy, traditional and contemporary sounds, dance, calligraphy, food, family events and topical panel discussions.

read the full press release

Can you keep time with Stravinsky?

Rite of Spring Clap-along – GAME

With its dramatic patterns, emphatic bass and occasionally uncomfortable bassoon, The Rite of Spring is one of Stravinsky’s most recognisable works. So stark was the piece in comparison to what had gone before that it’s 1913 premiere in Paris led to a a near riot. ‘The music always goes to the note next to the one you expect,’ wrote one exasperated critic.

But how well do you know the piece, and could you keep time with its often erratic score? Well, thanks to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, you can now find out, thanks to their Rite of Spring clap-along game, on the video below.


The London Philharmonic Orchestra are one of five resident orchestras to call Southbank Centre their home

see upcoming concerts

Dom Thomas introduces Whyte Horses Experience

Whyte Horses Experience | Royal Festival Hall

‘Every gig we do, we just want it to be a special one-off,’ says Dom Thomas of Whyte Horses Experience, the group forged through his own personal search for the perfect band. Labelled as a psychedelic pop group, with live performances that draw on the influence of 1960s TV specials and avant-garde cinema, and include a rich helping of special guest appearances, it’s easy to see how Whyte Horses' stage presence fits with Thomas’ mantra about what a live gig should offer.

Ahead of their second ever London performance, here at Southbank Centre, Thomas sat down with us to explain how this very unique group were quite literally the realisation of a dream.

Playing somewhere like the Royal Festival Hall, it’s where we want to be. It’s almost like playing in an art gallery for us; it’s got the acoustics, it’s got the aesthetic, it’s got the history.
Dom Thomas, Whyte Horses


Whyte Horses Experience perform alongside special guest artists including Badly Drawn Boy, La Roux, members of The Go! Team, Mélanie Pain and St Bart's Choir, here at Southbank Centre on 13 September.

buy tickets  find out more

Backstage at the Gewandhaus with Manfred Ludwig

Backstage at Gewandhausorchester with Manfred Ludwig

Ever wondered how a classical musician prepares for a concert performance? Well, thanks to the Gewandhausorchester’s Manfred Ludwig, you needn’t wonder any longer. In this short video the Leipzig orchestra’s second flautist takes us through his concert preparations, and talks about the significance of being a member of such a prestigious orchestra

When I started in the Gewandhausorchester it hit me how much history is in this orchestra
Manfred Ludwig, flautist


Manfred Ludwig was a student at the Richard Strauss Conservatory, and the University of Music and Drama Hannover before going on to be an academic with the Bavarian State Orchestra and Munich State Opera. Ludwig first performed with the Gewandhausorchester in 2008, and continued to deputise with the orchestra in subsequent years until becoming a permanent member as second flautist in January 2013.

Andris Nelsons leads the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in two nights of concert performances, here at Southbank Centre on 8-9 October.

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This video features Bruckner's Symphony No.7 with Andris Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

listen to the full performance

Lost Horizons: mixtapes and influences

Lost Horizons is a collaboration between long-term friends, basist Simon Raymonde and drummer Richie Thomas. The pair first crossed paths in the 1980s when the respective bands, Cocteau Twins and Dif Juz, shared a record label in 4AD, and have worked together on projects since.

In September they take to the stage in our Queen Elizabeth Hall for a very special gig, a first ever live performance of their acclaimed debut album Ojalá in full. Ojalá features an array of talented guest singers, including Midlake frontman Tim Smith, Ghostpoet, Marissa Nadler, Cameron Neal and Liela Moss among others. But at its ethereal heart are the musical background of Raymonde and Thomas.

Here, to help give a flavour of what’s in store, the two artists offer up short mixtapes of their own influences, starting with Simon Raymonde.

‘Richie and I had our musical grounding in punk and reggae,’ explains Raymonde, ‘and while we don’t make music that is specifically either of these genres, there are seeds within, that have their roots there. Around the time we were talking about working together, these tracks (among many others of course) were on constant rotation. There are flavours here that thrown together give a taste of what I am about and where I am starting from.’

Like Raymonde, Richie Thomas has also put together a six-track playlist for us to help set the scene for the upcoming gig.

‘The tracks chosen have had a strong influence on me over the years, they are a bit like old friends,’ Thomas explains. ‘Being from West London some of the most exciting times in music become part of your DNA where you live. You’re influenced by the bands and musicians who contributed to those scenes and cultures. When I saw the music I love performed live I wanted to become part of the process and create something... Rhythm still seems infinite to me. I still feel like I’m rooted and starting from beginning.’

Lost Horizons perform their 2017 debut album Ojalá in full with guest performers, and support from singer-songwriter Hilang Child and band Penelope Isles, on Friday 14 September

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DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics exhibition announced

DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics is the first institutional exhibition to expand on the traditional representations of drag, involving drag queens, drag kings and bio drags from different generations and backgrounds. The exhibition focuses on self-portraiture from the 1960s to the present day including work by artists who have used drag as an artistic tool to explore or challenge preconceptions of identity, gender, class, politics and race. Featuring the work of key established figures such as Pierre Molinier (b.1900-d. 1976), VALIE EXPORT (b.1940), Robert Mapplethorpe (b. 1946–d.1989), Ulay (b. 1943) and Cindy Sherman (b. 1954), as well as self-portraits by a younger generation of contemporary artists who have recently embraced drag as an art form like Adam Christensen (b.1979), Oreet Ashery (b. 1966) and Victoria Sin (b. 1991).

The exhibition explores drag from a contemporary perspective in light of current debates on gender identity and selfie culture. Paul Kindersley (b.1985) , whose work touches on class and consumerism, has been commissioned to create a new site-specific wall painting and Adam Christensen will present a new performance for the opening night. David Hoyle ’s (b. 1962) paintings are displayed for the first time in an institutional setting.

read the full press release

London Literature Festival 2018 programme announced

Held over eleven days (18 - 28 October 2018) across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site, the festival features a packed programme of exclusive appearances, live readings, newly commissioned performances, talks, debates, poetry, visual displays, workshops, award ceremonies, book launches, family events, music, free activity and more.

Playing host to a wealth of award-winning literary greats, iconic artists, emerging talent, international writers and leading thinkers, Southbank Centre’s twelfth London Literature Festival explores the world in which we live and celebrates the power of literature to reflect on the burning issues of our times.

Featuring Akala, André Aciman, Yomi Adegoke, Ellah Allfrey, Becky Albertalli, Laura Bates, Mary Beard, Jay Bernard, Melvyn Bragg, Melvin Burgess, Sam Byers, Soraya Chemaly, Sarah Churchwell, Julian Clary and David Roberts, Roger Daltrey, Juno Dawson, Imtiaz Dharker, Carol Ann Duffy, Aida Edemariam, Esi Edugyan, Olafur Eliasson, Sally Field, Mohsin Hamid, Melissa Harrison, Terrance Hayes, E. Lockhart, Madeline Miller, Robert Muchamore, David Olusoga, Chibundu Onuzo, Sue Perkins, Marilynne Robinson, Salman Rushdie, Samanta Schweblin, Nikesh Shukla, Adam Silvera, Lemn Sissay, Sharlene Teo, Olga Tokarczuk, Elizabeth Uviebinené and more.

read the full press release