Pride ‘87 at Southbank Centre

In 1985 there was a change of direction for Pride celebration in London. Jubilee Gardens (between Southbank Centre and the London Eye) became the venue for what was billed as ‘the biggest non-stop festival of entertainment in celebration of Lesbian & Gay Pride in Europe’. This event, The Lesbian and Gay Pride Carnival in the Gardens ran until 1988.

The photos in this collection depict the 1987 event, which included performances by Bronski Beat, Hazell Dean, Hope Augustus and the Beverley Sisters. These fascinating snapshots were found among the archive files of former Southbank Centre special events manager John Gill.

Thirty-two years on, alongside Hayward Gallery’s Kiss My Genders exhibition we’re hosting a summer-long party by the Thames that celebrates LGBTQI+ artists and performers. Through July and August our Riverside Terrace stage will be taken over by an incredible array of artists, club and cabaret nights including Pxssy Palace, BBZ, Drag Syndrome and The Batty Mama.

find out more

 

Were you here for Pride 1985, 1987 or 1988? Add your story to our record of Prides past and present by submitting your story online.

 

Simply click on an image below to find out more about it.

 

Marquee audience at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Audience seated inside the marquee at the Pride ‘87 Carnival
Marquee audience at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Following the Pride parade, the afterparty for Pride '87 was held at Jubilee Gardens, organised by Capital Gay and the Greater London Council. The venue included a cabaret tent, disco marquee and outdoor main stage. This photograph shows the audience seated inside the disco marquee n the early evening.
Two young men pose for a photograph at Pride '87 Carnival which took place at South Bank's Jubilee Gardens
Young Pride attendees
Blue shirts and ties, inside the marquee
Two young men pose for a photograph at Pride '87 Carnival which took place at South Bank's Jubilee Gardens
Young Pride attendees
Two young men pose together inside the Disco Marquee at Pride 1987 Carnival. Photo is dated as 27 June 1987
Hope Augustus appears on stage at Pride '87 Carnival in London's Jubilee Gardens
Hope Augustus singing on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Hope Augustus singing acapella as part of the Pride ‘87 Carnival
Hope Augustus appears on stage at Pride '87 Carnival in London's Jubilee Gardens
Hope Augustus singing on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Hope Augustus performs on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival. Early on in her career, the Nottingham born artist regularly performed at London venues during the 1980s. Augustus went on to perform on the West End stage in a number of musicals including 'The Lion King' and 'Marilyn and Ella'. Photo is dated as 27 June 1987
Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat performs at Pride '87 Carnival at Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, London
Bronski Beat perform at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat performs
Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat performs at Pride '87 Carnival at Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, London
Bronski Beat perform at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Bronski Beat’s Steve Bronski (aka Steve Forrest) performs on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival in Jubilee Gardens. Bronski is still performing and in 2017 released Out & About, a previously unreleased Bronski Beat album from the year in which this photograph was taken, 1987.
Plan for the site of Pride '88 at Southbank Centre, London
Pride ‘88 site plan
Plan for the site of Pride ‘88 at Jubilee Gardens
Plan for the site of Pride '88 at Southbank Centre, London
Pride ‘88 site plan
The 1988 Pride Festival was the last year the official celebrations took place in Jubilee Gardens. There were logistical difficulties in the run up to the event, as Erasure - both topping the list of performers and supplying the stage - had neglected to supply any technical specifications due to being on tour. The main stage on this provisional site map, created a little over a month before the event, is the only structure lacking dimensions. 
Drag artist David Dales performs in the cabaret tent at Pride '87 Carnival at London South Bank
Cabaret performance at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Drag artist David Dale performs
Drag artist David Dales performs in the cabaret tent at Pride '87 Carnival at London South Bank
Cabaret performance at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Drag artist David Dale performs in the Cabaret tent at Pride ‘87 Carnival. Dale would have been a familiar face in 1987, having made several appearances in Eastenders the previous year as John Fisher, a drag artist hired to perform at The Queen Vic. Still performing, Dale took part in events celebrating Birmingham Pride earlier this year. Photo is dated as 27 June 1987.
Quaker Dykes sign, photographed at Pride '87 Carnival in Jubilee Gardens, London
Quaker Dykes
Quaker Dykes’ labrys and placard
Quaker Dykes sign, photographed at Pride '87 Carnival in Jubilee Gardens, London
Quaker Dykes
For the first time since organising a Carnival after the parade, 1987 saw the introduction of a 'Women Only' space. This move by the organisers was contentious, with the year's programme urging for men to respect the spaces, and the right to create it. 
Three singers perform at Pride '87 Carnival at London's South Bank
Singers performing at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Three singers perform on stage at Pride ‘87 Carnival
Three singers perform at Pride '87 Carnival at London's South Bank
Singers performing at Pride ‘87 Carnival
A trio of unknown singers are pictured performing on the Pride ‘87 Carnival main stage. Do you know who they are? Get in touch with our archive, or via social media to let us know. Photo is dated 27 June 1987.
Main stage audience at the Pride’ 87 Carnival
Audience members at the Pride ‘87 Carnival Main Stage
Main stage audience at the Pride’ 87 Carnival
Audience members stand and watch the main stage at Jubilee Gardens in 1987. The stage was the venue for over five hours of entertainment, hosted by 1980s ITV star Chistopher Eymard. The day’s events also included a speech from future Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, then head of the Greater London Council. Photo is dated as 27 June 1987.

Five minutes with Roxane Gay

Celebrated cultural critic and novelist Roxane Gay came to the Southbank Centre in December 2018, to take to our Royal Festival Hall stage for her first ever UK in conversation event.

An associate professor of English at Purdue University, and a contributing writer for The New York Times, Gay released Bad Feminist in 2014, a collection of essays which merged pop culture with her own experience to explore the complexities of being a feminist in modern America.

Gay has become renowned for her humour, honesty and sensitivity; all of which are in evidence in her latest book, the New York Times best-seller Hunger (2017).  Drawing on her own experience once again, with startling intimacy, Gay looks at sensitivity about food and bodies to explore our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance and health.

Back in 2018 we grabbed five minutes with the best-selling writer and essayist to discuss finding her place in feminism, intersectionality and grappling with pop culture.

One of the things I like about The Bad Feminist, is your acknowledgment of a position on a spectrum of feminism. Is this a position you consciously sought to place yourself, or is it more a case of realising and embracing your place, rather than trying to force yourself to meet an expectation?

It's both, really. We have to make space for ourselves in the movements that matter most to us. But I was able to make space for myself within feminism by recognizing and embracing the ways in which I live my feminist ideals and the ways in which I fall short.

You’ve previously suggested too many women are afraid to be labelled as feminists; do you think this still the case? Or has it perhaps been lessened by prominent social movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp?

This is absolutely still the case. There are so many women who are reluctant or afraid or unwilling to be labeled as feminists, for a range of reasons. But mostly, they shy away from the label because they know there is a social cost, despite the prominence of MeToo or TimesUp.

 

So many women shy away from the label of feminist, because they know there is a social cost, despite the prominence of MeToo or TimesUp
Roxane Gay

Your forthcoming book, Not That Bad looks at rape culture. Do you think it is time that we shifted the language and focus on this, and begin calling it ‘rapist culture’?

‘Rape culture’ is an appropriate name for what rape culture is and it includes looking at rapist culture, but to only call it rapist culture leaves out some critical issues regarding rape culture, how people are conditioned to see sexual violence, how popular culture reinforces certain ideas about sexual violence, etc.

I’ve seen you described as a representative of intersectional feminism - how far do you think we still have to go before intersectionality ceases to be seen as an offshoot of feminism?

We're still defining what intersectional means, which is a pretty damning measure of how far we have to go. I do hope for a day when feminism simply stands for intersectional feminism, as it should, but first people have to understand that women inhabit multiple identities that must be considered when discussing matters of equity and equality.

Lastly, is it still possible for someone to be a feminist, and yet crank up the volume on rap tracks featuring misogynistic and degrading lyrics?

I wrote a whole book about this. Yes, it is possible to be a feminist and listen to misogynistic music. That said, at some point we have to hold ourselves accountable for the pop culture we consume. The more we demand such music, the less incentive musicians have to change what they supply.

 


 

 

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. In difficult times, 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.

DRAG: Self-portraits and Body Politics

A free HENI Project Space exhibition of work by artists who have used drag to explore identity, gender and politics
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22 Aug 2018 – 14 Oct 2018
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exhibition
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Alan Hollinghurst on The Sparsholt Affair

Alan Hollinghurst: The Sparsholt Affair by Southbank Centre: Artists, Thinkers, Writers

Alan Hollinghurst is an award-winning British author who won the Man Booker Prize for his 2004 novel The Line of Beauty. He joined us at Being A Man festival to talk about his latest work The Sparsholt Affair, read some excerpts from the novel and discuss its characters, themes and conception.

A former lecturer at Magdalen College, Oxford, and deputy editor of The Times literary Supplement, Hollinghurst published his first novel The Swimming Pool Library in 1988. The book won both the Somerset Maughan Award and the Stonewall Book Award and was described at the time by American novelist Edmund White as ‘surely the best book about gay life yet written by an English author’.

Gay life, and the changing attitudes towards homosexuality, have been key aspects throughout much of Hollinghurst’s work, and in this podcast - as well as discussing The Sparsholt Affair - he reflects candidly on the new-found freedom and openness in the gay scene in recent decades, and what obstacles still need to be overcome.

I remember when I was an undergraduate getting hold of a copy of The Gay Times which said that the back bar of The Black Horse in Cirencester was sort of gay on Saturday lunchtimes
Alan Hollinghurst, on the sparsity of welcoming gay environments in his formative years

Alan Hollinghurst was one of many authors, writers and thinkers to appear at this year’s Being A Man festival as we examined what it means to be a man in the 21st century. We’ve put together a playlist featuring some of the highlight talks from the weekend.

listen to the podcasts

more on Being A Man

Women of the World 2017

New names announced for WOW 2017

Southbank Centre’s annual flagship festival WOW – Women of the World, supported by Bloomberg, brings together women and girls of all ages, politicians, business leaders, artists, activists and refugees from all corners of the globe to share and explore experiences, achievements, fears and opportunities for the future, and create innovative solutions to life’s challenges.

WOW – Women of the World festival, from 7-12 March 2017, is a packed programme of enlightening talks and debates, performances, creative activities, comedy and networking. 

Further names announced today include Adwoa Aboah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Muzoon Almellehan, Amal Azzudi n, Jo Brand, Stella Creasy, Benjamina Eb uehi, Thordis Elva, Suella Fernandes, Jenny Jones, Lisa Hannigan, Hailey Hanson, Edna Adan Ismail, Helena Kennedy QC, Michael Kimmel, Christina Lamb, Lauren Laverne, Phyllida Lloyd, Thomasina Miers, Andi Oliver, Louise O’Neill, Anne Sofie von Otter, Mary Portas, Tulip Siddiq, Holly Walsh, Harriet Walter, and Hannah Witton.

They join leading voices including Gillian Anderson, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Gemma Cairney, Angela Davis, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Harriet Harman MP, Margaret Hodge MP, Bettany Hughes, Baroness Jenkin, Fatima Manji, Catherine Mayer, Jennifer Nadel, Elif Şafak, Sandi Toksvig and more, uniting to call for solutions to modern societal challenges for women.

View full listings

Launched by Southbank Centre in 2010, WOW – Women of the World is now a global movement, with international WOW festivals reaching over one million people across five continents, and growing year on year. Over 25,000 people came to WOW London in 2016 and this year’s festival once again marks International Women’s Day on 8 March and coincides with the first WOW Hull, p art of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and the first WOW Finland .

Following a year of change and political upheaval across the globe, with a questioning of women’s roles and rights, WOW London asks what Trump, Brexit and beyond mean for women. It celebrates everything that women and girls have done, and will do in the future, whilst taking a candid look at wide-ranging issues that prevent them from achieving their potential.

Insightful, vibrant debates and panel discussions address critical global issues for women and girls. Experts provide practical advice on how to look after health, protect finances, boost a career, better understand politics and fully harness technology for success. 

Sessions shine a light on how to feel empowered as a social activist and become a political titan in a rapidly shifting world. Topics include the
  threat against women’s rights and protections, what the refugee crisis and climate change ,mean for women, the role of men in gender equality, the stark rates of violence against women and how to ensure women’s histories and legacies are not lost. The festival also sees a celebration of the Nordic nations, as part of Southba nk Centre’s year of Nordic programming Nordic Matters, and explores the social learnings of these countries that consistently top the gender equality indexes.

Events of the past year have shown that, despite great strides by the feminist movement, the world still speaks a largely male language. More than ever, we must keep up the fight for gender equality and look at the far-reaching implicat ions of the current political climate on our women and girls – from the localised to the global. We take the opportunity to hone in on women in politics, and the achievements of older women, a subject too often overlooked. We also look to the Nordic nations, who have long been seen as leaders in advocating gender equality, investigating the impact of their approach, and what we can learn from each other.
Founder of WOW festival, Southbank Centre Artistic Director, Jude Kelly CBE

Over 200 events across six days include keynote talks, panel debates, live music, comedy, workshops, theatre, the smash-hit WOW S peed Mentoring, the under-10s feminist corner and WOW Market – a range of stalls providing information, raising awareness, and showcasing craft and fashion.

WOW 2017 would not be possible without its generous sponsors and supporters – Bloomberg, UBS, American International Group, Inc. (AIG), the Chartered Institute of Insurers, Aon and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Southbank Centre is grateful to its WOW Gamechangers Richard and Rosamund Bernays, Michelle Chuang, Mary Anne Cordeiro, Caroline, Mary and Paul Cronson - the Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Ms Miel de Botton, Katie and Mark Denning, Catherine Petitgas, Lady Jill Shaw Ruddock CBE, Joana and Henrik Schliemann, India and Robert Wardrop and Mercedes Zobel for supporting WOW.

WOW – Women of the World highlights

  • Prominent American activist, scholar and author Angela Davis, who has been at the forefront of movements for economic, racial, and gender justice over many decades
  • Actress, writer and activist Gillian Anderson and broadcaster, writer and activist Jennifer Nade l in conversation about their new book WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, an inspiring, provocative manifesto for change
  • Best-selling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie returns to Royal Festival Hall to share her inimitable insight into raising a feminist child
  • Co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer launches her new book, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Women, in conversation with Sandi Toksvig
  • Harriet Harman, one of Britain’s most prominent campaigning politicians, discusses her groundbreaking memoir A Woman’s Work
  • Turkish author Elif Şafak and historian Bettany Hughes discuss Istanbul, how women have shaped the city, and the lives of women there today
  • Channel 4 journalist Fatima Manji t alks about racism, sexism and Islamophobia with The Guardian’s Nosheen Iqbal
  • Southbank Centre Artist in Residence, TV and radio personality, journalist and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney talks about her publishing debut OPEN: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be with broadcaster Lauren Laverne
  • Margaret Hodge MP and Baroness Jenkin of Kennington talk about their careers and experiences in Political Titans: The Secret Power of Older Women in Politics and politicians including Stella Creasy, Suella Fernandes, Jenny Jones, Tulip Siddiq and Jo Swinson feature in talks What Does Brexit Mean for Women? and How to get elected
  • Journalist and author Reni Eddo-Lodge presents an exclusive reading from her forthcoming book Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
  • Sandi Toksvig gives a keynote lecture looking at the last 12 months in 20 minutes The Year in Review and hosts Mirth Control – WOW’s annual night of comedy and music inspired by great women – with a nod to our Nordic neighbours, featuring internationally-acclaimed Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and comedian Holly Walsh
  • A Nordic focus throughout the festival features Nordic artists and speakers including Icelandic women’s rap collective Daughters of Reykjavik, former particle physicist, discoverer of the Higgs Boson and co-founder of start up NaturalCycles Dr Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, Iceland’s 2015 Woman of the Year, writer and activist Thordis Elva w ho with Tom Stranger discuss their new book South of Forgiveness, Iceland’s first female chief of police Sigridur Bjork Gudjonsdottir, entrepreneur Halla Tómasdóttir and pop-up performances feature the ancient Swedish vocal technique of kulning. Panel topics include what we can learn from Nordic parenting, the Nordic approach to prostitution and its legal framework, and Sweden’s feminist foreign policy
  • An extensive programme of sessions, panels and debates features model and activist Adwoa Aboah, comedian Jo Brand, human-rights barrister Helena Kennedy QC, A merican sociologist and prominent male feminist Dr Michael Kimmel, cook, writer and TV presenter Thomasina Miers, b roadcaster and journalist Lauren Laverne, disability and gender-rights activist Lydia X. Z. Brown, a nti-FGM campaigner and former first lady of Somaliland Edna Adan, founder of Karma Nirvana Jasvinder Sanghera, writer and Irish Times journalist Róisín Ingle, Chief Executive of Bradford Council Kersten England, Director of Liberty Martha Spurrier, Des James, father of Private Cheryl James whose tragic death at Deepcut barracks revealed a deeply misogynistic environment, Anna Politkovskaya Award-winners Jineth Bedoya Lima and Valentina Cherevatenko, dating and relationships YouTuber Hannah Witton, stand-up comedian and former journalist Shaista Aziz, plus-size blogger Stephanie Yeboah, British psychotherapist Susie Orbach and more
  • Chef & presenter of Saturday Kitchen Andi Oliver, Great British Bake Off contestant Benjamina Ebuehi and the Mayor of London’s food adviser Rosie Boycott discuss the often-complex relationship women have with food
  • Sessions to empower women in the world of technology featuring UK Government advisor and founder of #techmums Dr Sue Black OBE
  • A kick-boxing demonstration with former British and World champion Hailey Hanson
  • London premiere of And Still I Rise, a documentary about Maya Angelou’s multifaceted
  • career, part of the BFI African Odysseys series
  • Director Phyllida Lloyd discusses the Donmar Warehouse’s ground-breaking all-female Shakespeare trilogy with associate artist and actor Harriet Walter, company members Jade Anouka and Jennifer Joseph, and producer Kate Pakenham
  • Women on the Move Awards (run by Migrants Organise and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees) support the contribution of migrant and refugee women to UK society, and the stories of refugee women are featured throughout WOW
  • WOW Schools Da y on International Women’s Day explores the theme “I Am Perfect as Me”. Secondary school girls are invited to hear from women who have overcome 'not fitting in' to be accepted as well as how to present their identity online safely, through talks workshops and performances. Speakers include Syrian refugee and campaigner Muzoon Almellehan
  • WOW Young Women’s Rally h osted by Gemma Cairney and featuring several speakers including Amal Azzudin, a campaigner for human rights and social justice calling young women to get involved in activism, and a performance from Girls Rock London' s young women's band
  • A book club exploring Mariama Bâ’s So Long a Letter, considered by many to be the first African feminist book, as well as a young adult book club exploring some of the most explosive feminist books for young adults with multi-award-winning author Louise O’Neill
  • Additional free events including Action Stations throughout the weekend offering an opportunity make a personal pledge or submit an idea for change; Speed Mentoring providing a chance to share challenges, exchange ideas and stories with other women and a WOW London 5km run through central London.

Performance highlights

  • Grime-poet Debris Stevenson curates Gyal in da Corner – a performance honouring Dizzee Rascal’s genre-defining album Boy in da Corner — featuring grime and rap artists AG the DJ, emcee TrueMendous, journalist and battle rapper Bridie Squires aka Brizzaling, Asher X, and a special collaboration between Debris and Icelandic rap band Daughters of Reykjavik
  • Led by Peter Edwards, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Mercury Prize nominees Eska and Lisa Hannigan, and Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi present Joni Mitchell’s album Héjira in an evening celebrating women's experiences of migration on International Women’s Day
  • Writers Paula Varjack, Jules Grant and Michelle Tea f eature in Polari – a platform for LGBT writers returning with a women’s special hosted by author and journalist Paul Burston
  • World premiere of Foreign Body, a debut solo show by Imogen Butler-Cole exploring healing after sexual assault, weaving together physical theatre, verbatim and an original score
  • Intimate theatre productions: Future Theatres presents a scratch performance of Offside – a new work by Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish t elling the story of four women from across the centuries who live, breathe, and play football; Choices, award-winning Irish playwright Stacey Gregg’s exploration of the complex challenges faced by two women and their choice, or not, to have a child; The Game - an interactive performance directed by Grace Dyas exploring the act of buying sex informed and inspired by women who have exited prostitution and women currently involved in sex work
  • Comedian and #periodpositive campaign founder Chella Quint b reaks taboos around menstruation in her one-woman show Adventures in Menstruating
  • Singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya gives a free Friday Lunch concert featuring music from her new EP Small Crimes
  • Octavia Poetry Collective – a poetry group for women of colour led by Rachel Long – r eturn with their response to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in an evening of poetry, dance and film
  • Divalicious Cabaret hosted by international whip-teaser Diva Hollywood which challenges and explores ideas around gender, disability and body image
  • Pop up performances from choirs RISE UP SINGING and SHE Choir; poets Indigo Jones, Zareen Roy-Macauley and Siana Bangura; all female DJ collective Scratch, and a live demonstration of the female voice from two of opera’s rising stars Eleanor Dennis and Rhian Lois, presented in association with English National Opera. 
for further press information please contact

Naomi Burgoyne, Senior Press Manager: naomi.burgoyne@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 7921 0824

Naomi French, Press Officer, naomi.french@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 7921 0678

WOW Day Passes

WOW Day Passes cost (£22) and WOW 3-Day Pass (£50)

Please note some events at WOW are separately ticketed and cannot be accessed as part of the Day Pass.

Please refer to the website for ticketing information on standalone events.

 

Notes to editors

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one-off themed festivals and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word events throughout the year.

Southbank Centre's WOW – Women of the World festival is a global festival movement launched by Jude Kelly CBE in London in 2010 (with the first festival in March 2011) that celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. To date, WOW has reached over one million people worldwide and this number is growing year on year. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations. Each festival across the world - made up of talks, debates, music, activism, mentoring, pop ups and performance - celebrates women and girls, takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, and raises awareness globally of the issues they face and possible solutions. It reaches girls and women, boys and men from a broad range of social backgrounds and supplies a completely different sense of action and energy than a conventional conference approach. Speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Gordon Brown, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart and many more including hundreds of women and men who don’t have public profiles but are working everyday to achieve gender equality. Over 25,000 people came to WOW London in 2016, thousands more have come to WOWs across the world and festival organisers have collaborated on cross-continental projects. 

2017 WOW festivals around the world

  • 18 Feb – WOW Kathmandu
  • 7 – 12 Mar – WOW London, UK #WOWLDN @WOWtweetUK Facebook 8 – 12 Mar – WOW Finland #WOWFIN @wow_finland Facebook
  • 10 – 12 Mar – WOW Hull, UK, #WOWHull
  • 23 – 25 Mar – WOW Melbourne, Australia, #WOWMelb
  • 4 – 7 May – WOW Apollo, New York, USA - #WOWApollo
  • 20 – 21 May – WOW Chester, UK #WOWChester
  • 13 – 15 Oct – WOW Exeter, UK #WOWExeter
  • 27 – 29 Oct – WOW Perth, UK #WOWPerth
  • 17 – 19 Nov – WOW Bradford, UK #WOWBradford

Bloomberg

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength – delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately – is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service. Bloomberg’s enterprise solutions build on the company’s core strength: leveraging technology to allow customers to access, integrate, distribute and manage data and information across organizations more efficiently and effectively. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation, corporate and personal giving, supports arts and culture, education, environment, sustainability and public health charities and non-profit organisations around the world. Bloomberg's support of Women of the World builds on a long history of collaboration across Southbank Centre that encompasses a wide range of arts exhibition, public commissions and literature 
programmes.

For more information on Bloomberg, visit www.bloomberg.com

For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, visit www.bloomberg.org

UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets. UBS Wealth Management has recently announced a five-year plan to transform the way it serves female clients. The business has been developing new approaches for the past two years and will now scale this expertise across its organization. The initiative includes a commitment to increase the financial confidence of one million women by 2021.

Nordic Matters

Nordic Matters is a year-long festival of Nordic art and culture in 2017 at London's Southbank Centre, featuring music, dance, theatre, visual arts, participation, talks and debates, and gastronomy. Chosen from a number of international applicants, Southbank Centre is the sole recipient of a grant from The Nordic Council of Ministers for a new festival celebrating the very best of Nordic art and culture throughout 2017 – one of the biggest cultural-political partnerships of its kind. A particular emphasis will be placed on the idea of play fostering curiosity and creativity, for people of all ages but especially children and young people. Moving beyond popular perceptions of ‘Nordic Noir’ the programme is designed to embed Nordic culture and artists in Southbank Centre’s year-long artistic offer and offer a platform to some of the more ‘hidden voices’ from Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands.

Nordic Matters

 

Leading female voices join thousands of women at WOW Festival 2017

Leading female voices join thousands of women at Wow – Women Of The World Festival 2017 to call for swifter change.

Download press release

Following a year of change and political upheaval across the globe, with a questioning of women’s roles and rights, famous female artists, writers and activists including Gillian Anderson, Angela Davis, Sandi Toksvig, Jennifer Nadel, Catherine Mayer, Elif Şafak, Fatima Manji, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Gemma Cairney, Margaret Hodge MP, Harriet Harman MP, Baroness Jenkin, and Bettany Hughes are uniting to call for solutions to modern societal challenges for women.

In the return of Southbank Centre’s annual flagship festival WOW – W omen of the World, supported by Bloomberg, female stars will join t housands of women and girls, politicians, business leaders, artists, activists and refugees from across the UK, and the globe, to celebrate women and girls and explore together the paths to a gender equal world.

WOW – Women of the World takes place from Tuesday 7 – Sunday 12 March 2017 and asks what Trump, Brexit and beyond mean for women. It celebrates everything that women and girls have done, and will do in the future, whilst taking a candid look at wide-ranging issues that prevent them from achieving their potential: from violence against women and girls, ageism, to “locker-room talk” and everyday sexism in the UK and across the world. It tackles subjects such as alcoholism, rape, toilets, intersectionality, the role of men in gender equality, refugees, and criminal justice, alongside live music, comedy, dance classes, workshops, and performance. The festival also sees a celebration of the Nordic nations, as part of Southbank Centre’s year of Nordi c programming Nordic Matters, and explores the social learnings of these countries that consistently top the gender equality indexes.

Founder of WOW festival, Southbank Centre Artistic Director, Jude Kelly CBE said: “Events of the past year have shown that, despite great strides by the feminist movement, the world still speaks a largely male language. More than ever, we must keep up the fight for gender equality and look at the far-reaching implications of the current political climate on our women and girls – from the localised to the global. We take the opportunity to hone in on women in politics, and the achievements of older women, a subject too often overlooked. We also look to the Nordic nations, who have long been seen as leaders in advocating gender equality, investigating the impact of their approach, a nd what we can learn from each other.”

Launched by Southbank Centre in 2010, WOW is now a global movement, with international WOW festivals reaching over one million people across five continents, and growing year on year. Over 25,000 people came to WOW London in 2016. This year’s festival once again marks International Women’s D ay on 8 March and coincides with the first WOW Hull, part o f Hull UK City of Culture 2017, and the first WOW Finland.

Highlights of WOW 2017 include powerful new calls for change. Co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer laun ches her new book, Attack of the Fifty-Foot Women, in conversation with Sandi Toksvig. This looks at why no single country or culture has yet achieved parity and whether we will ever live in a gender equal world (Tuesday 7 March). Actress, writ er and activist Gillian Anderson ( The Fall, The X-Files) and broadcaster, writer and activist Jennifer Nadel also launch their new book WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, an inspiring and provocative manifesto for change, proposing a vision for a different, fairer and more fulfilling way of living (Friday 10 March). Southbank Centre Artist in Residence, TV and radio personality, journalist and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney talks about her publishing debut O PEN: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be; and Harriet Harman, one of Britain’s most prominent campaigning politicians, will discuss her groundbreaking memoir A Woman’s Work, a rare political autobiography by a woman about the last 30 years in British politics, and of a life dedicated to fighting for equality and respect for women (Saturday 11 March).

WOW also welcomes prominent American activist, scholar and author Angela Davis, who has been at the forefront of movements for economic, racial, and gender justice over many decades (Saturday 11 March).

WOW – Women of the World highlights

  • Over 200 events across six days, including talks, debates, live music, comedy, workshops, the smash-hit WOW Speed Mentoring and WOW Market – a range of stalls providing information, raising awareness, and showcasing work, craft and fashion
  • What Does Brexit Mean for Women? – a debate on the pros and cons of the referendum result with leading UK political voices (Friday 10 March)
  • Political Titans: The Secret Power of Older Women in Politics – women including Margaret Hodge MP and Baroness Jenkin of Kennington talk about their careers and experiences in politics, the double standards displayed in the portrayal of male and female politicians, and the force of older women in campaigning and party politics (Friday 10 March)
  • Women on the Move Awards support the contribution of migrant and refugee women to UK society, and the stories of refugee women are featured throughout WOW
  • A Nordic focus throughout the festival covers topics such as: what we can learn from Nordic parenting; the Nordic approach to prostitution and its legal framework, Sweden’s feminist foreign policy and its objectives: and comparing how rape and sexual assault are dealt with by criminal justice systems in the UK and in the Nordic countries
  • Turkish author Elif Şafak and historian Bettany Hughes discuss Istanbul, how women have shaped the city, and the lives of women living there today (Sunday 12 March)
  • Comedian and #periodpositive campaign founder Chella Quint breaks taboos around ,menstruation in her one-woman show Adventures in Menstruating (Saturday 11 March)
  • Under 10s Feminist Corner brings young boys and girls together for an interactive workshop on what it means to be a girl and how to start a campaign in your bedroom (Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 March)
  • Journalist and author Reni Eddo-Lodge presents an exclusive extract from her forthcoming book Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, on the frustrations, discomfort and social implications of talking about race (Saturday 11 March)
  • Channel 4 journalist Fatima Manji talks about Muslim women and the media, and her own experiences of prejudice (Saturday 11 March)
  • Writers Paula Varjack, Jules Grant and Michelle Tea are highlights of this year’s Polari – a platform for LGBT writers returning with a women’s special hosted by author and journalist Paul Burston (Wednesday 8 March)
  • Mirth Control – WOW’s annual night of comedy and music inspired by great women returns with a nod to our Nordic neighbours, hosted by Sandi Toksvig (Sunday 12 March)
  • Des James – father of Private Cheryl James whose tragic death at Deepcut barracks revealed a deeply misogynistic environment – talks about his long battle for justice and use of the Human Rights Act for his daughter with lawyer Emma Norton and Director of Liberty, Martha Spurrier (Saturday 11 March)
  • Sessions to empower women in the world of technology, from discussions featuring the women making up 14.4% of the STEM industry, to free crash courses on app building, digital literacy and practical tools for online safety, with expert guidance from UK Government advisor and founder of #techmums Dr Sue Black OBE, Dr Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, former particle physicist, discoverer of the Higgs Boson and co-founder of start up NaturalCycles, and Silkie Carlo, Policy Officer at Liberty
  • An abundance of free activities including a Friday Lunch concert featuring singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya (Friday 10 March)

WOW 2017 would not be possible without the support of its generous sponsor Bloomberg.

ENDS

For further press information please contact the Southbank Centre press office


WOW Day Passes (£22) and WOW 3-Day Pass (£50)- please note some events at WOW are separately ticketed and cannot be accessed as part of the Day Pass.

Please refer to the website for ticketing information on standalone events.

Events go on sale to Southbank Centre members on Thursday 15 December and to the general public on Friday 16 December.

Tickets for Angela Davis will go on sale 17 January 2017.

WOW panel highlights

Friday 10 March

  • What Does Brexit Mean for Women? – a debate on the pros and cons of the referendum result with leading UK political voices
  • Political Titans: The Secret Power of Older Women in Politics – women with long political careers talk about their experiences, the double standards displayed in the portrayal of male and female politicians, and the force of older women in campaigning and party politics
  • Women & Pensions – in the wake of the increased state pension age for women and the impact on women born in the 1950s, a discussion about gender-based pension inequalities what how women can protect themselves
  • The Nordic Model – a discussion on the challenges, controversies and benefits of the ‘Nordic Model’ (Sex Buyer Law) which makes it illegal to buy ‘sexual services’ but not to sell them
  • Guilty Until Proven Innocent – a session on rape, sexual assault and the UK justice system, looking at models in countries such as Sweden and Iceland, to consider what systems would serve UK women better
  • One Planet, Double Standards: Women, Climate Change and Equality – a panel debate from women at the forefront of climate change to find out what role gender has to play in actioning change
  • Please Sir, Can I Have Some More – an interactive and practical session on how to know your worth and get a payrise
  • The Great Imposter – a session exploring how ‘imposter syndrome’ is connected to gender inequality, providing tools to overcome it
  • International Activism – a discussion led by international activists about how to turn local activism into global solidarity
  • Crash and Burn – a discussion around women’s experience of alcoholism, addiction and mental illness, looking at how women deal with crisis and survival

Saturday 11 March

  • Disability, Women and Taking Action – speakers including activist Lydia X Z Brown discuss why disability is so often left out of conversations about intersectionality and marginalised by much of the women’s rights movement
  • Childcare Utopia: What Can We Learn from Nordic Parenting? – a discussion about the policies which put Nordic countries at the forefront of childcare and if these could work in other contexts e.g. Finland’s famous baby box and Sweden’s generous shared parental leave
  • Women Crossing Borders – a chance to meet the real women behind the headlines about refugees and migrants, asking why women flee their home countries and make life-threatening journeys to unknown futures
  • Teens Talk Back – a panel of teenage girls discuss feminism, their opinion of it, and that of their peers
  • Badass Lesbians from History – a celebration of overlooked lesbian women from history
  • WOW Bites featuring Maria Munir (who came out as non-binary to President Obama), Edie Jones, a 15-year-old student challenging gender equality in the curriculum, Emma Beeson and Elise Bevan, clinical negligence lawyers, Peter Tai Christensen on how the Swedish Mansplaining hotline caused a domestic stir and went on to take the international media by storm, and Gynelle Leon, who quit her city job to start PRICK, London’s first ever cactus shop

Sunday 12 March

  • The World Remains Silent: Yazidi Women and Girls - campaigners and activists tell of the current situation for Yazidi women and girls, and how government and individuals can help
  • Potty Parity – a session explaining why you should give a sh*t about toilets, and the devastating effect toilet facilities can have on women and girls across the world
  • Old Age is For The Brave – a panel of experts discuss the realities of ageing and look at loneliness, health and austerity.
  • BBW (*Big Beautiful Women) – speakers including columnist Callie Thorpe, plus-size blogger Stephanie Yeboah and journalist Anita Bhagwandas discuss the media’s negative attitude to fat women and how fat activists and plus-size bloggers are changing the landscape.
  • We Need to Talk About Alcohol – an investigation into the drinking habits of British women, 50% of whom drink too much according to World Health Organisation
  • Ending Violence Against Women and Girls – a debate about how to change attitudes towards one of the most common abuses of human rights, what prevention methods work, and
  • what don’t
  • Badass Feminists from History – a celebration of overlooked heroines
  • No Country for Young Women – a talk outlining the financial and safety concerns for young women in the UK

Notes to editors

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one-off themed festivals and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word events throughout the year.

Southbank Centre's WOW – Women of the World festival is a global festival movement launched by Jude Kelly CBE in London in 2010 (with the first festival in March 2011) that celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. To date, WOW has reached over one million people worldwide and this number is growing year on year. With the HRH Duchess of Cornwall as President, Southbank Centre is now planning a WOW Commonwealth festival at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with all 53 nations. Each festival across the world - made up of talks, debates, music, activism, mentoring, pop ups and performance - celebrates women and girls, takes a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, and raises awareness globally of the issues they face and possible solutions. It reaches girls and women, boys and men from a broad range of social backgrounds and supplies a completely different sense of action and energy than a conventional conference approach. Speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Christine Lagarde, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Gordon Brown, Julie Walters, Patrick Stewart and many more including hundreds of women and men who don’t have public profiles but are working everyday to achieve gender equality. Over 25,000 people came to WOW London in 2016, thousands more have come to WOWs across the world and festival organisers have collaborated on cross-continental projects. 

WOW 2017 festivals around the world

  • 18 February – WOW Kathmandu
  • 7 – 12 March – WOW London, UK #WOWLDN @WOWtweetUK Facebook
  • 8 – 12 March – WOW Finland #WOWFIN @wow_finland Facebook
  • 10 – 12 March – WOW Hull, UK
  • 23 – 25 March – WOW Melbourne, Australia
  • 4 – 7 May – WOW Apollo, New York, USA - #WOWApollo
  • 20 – 21 May – WOW Chester, UK

Bloomberg

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength – delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately – is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service. Bloomberg’s enterprise solutions build on the company’s core strength: leveraging technology to allow customers to access, integrate, distribute and manage data and information across organizations more efficiently and effectively. Bloomberg Philanthropies, which encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation, corporate and personal giving, supports arts and culture, education, environment, sustainability and public health charities and non-profit organisations around the world. Bloomberg's support of Women of the World builds on a long history of collaboration across Southbank Centre that encompasses a wide range of arts exhibition, public commissions and literature programmes.

For more information on Bloomberg, visit www.bloomberg.com

For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, visit www.bloomberg.org

About Nordic Matters

Nordic Matters is a year-long festival of Nordic art and culture in 2017 at London's Southbank Centre, featuring music, dance, theatre, visual arts, participation, talks and debates, and gastronomy. Chosen from a number of international applicants, Southbank Centre is the sole recipient of a grant from The Nordic Council of Ministers for a new festival celebrating the very best of Nordic art and culture throughout 2017 – one of the biggest cultural-political partnerships of its kind. A particular emphasis will be placed on the idea of play fostering curiosity and creativity, for people of all ages but especially children and young people. Moving beyond popular perceptions of ‘Nordic Noir’ the programme is designed to embed Nordic culture and artists in Southbank Centre’s year-long artistic offer and offer a platform to some of the more ‘hidden voices’ from Greenland, Åland and the Faroe Islands. www.southbankcentre.co.uk/nordicmatters

About The Nordic Council of Ministers

The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official inter governmental body for co operation in the Nordic Region. The Council brings together representatives of the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Norway Finland and Iceland, as well as the three autonomous areas, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland Islands. The Presidency of the Nordic Council rotates between the five Nordic countries and is currently held by Finland. In 2017 Norway will hold the Presidency. www.norden.org

Stellar literary line-up spring 2017

Southbank Centre today announces its full spring Literature programme, with exclusive events, panel debates, live readings, keynotes and workshops featuring a stellar line-up of leading British and international writers and thinkers.

Download press release

Alongside two of Britain’s greatest science writers, Professor Brian Cox and Professor Stephen Hawking, Southbank Centre announces award-winning author Neil Gaiman to join the spring season programme, with a discussion on his new book, Norse Mythology (15 February). 

As part of Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture in 2017, Nordic Matters, Gaiman joins top Nordic authors including Sjón and Anu Partanen. International writers are further celebrated in a new collaboration with Karachi Literature Festival which makes its UK debut at Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s formation (20 May).

Further highlights of Southbank Centre’s Spring Literature programme include:  

  • Professor Stephen Hawking is joined in Southbank Centre’s year-long festivalBelief and Beyond Belief by writers and thinkers including Elif Şafak, Mona Siddiqui OBE, Richard Holloway and more in a series of talks and debates on what it means to be human in the 21st century. The festival also includes a special live reading to mark the 70th anniversary of Primo Levi’s If This is a Man with A L Kennedy and Philippe Sands QC (16 January - December).
  • Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival features top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region including Julian Clary, Þórarinn Eldjárn, Sir Chris Hoy, Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and more (9 - 19 February)
  • Poet and founder of Octavia Poetry Collective, Rachel Long l eads a new series of workshops ‘Telling Her Story’ for women of colour (October 2016 - March 2017)
  • London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, returns to Southbank Centre for its 10th year and features events with award-winning writer S tella Duffy (27 January), American author and journalist Tim Murphy (24 February), and writer and filmmaker Paula Varjack ( 8 March)
  • A broad range of free events at Southbank Centre’s The Poetry Library

Neil Gaiman (Nordic Matters, 15 February)

Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman discusses his new book, Norse Mythology (publishing 7 February), in which he turns his attention to the great Norse myths, a major inspiration for the fantastical realms in his award-winning fiction. The prize-winning writer of the comic book series The Sandman and novels including Stardust, American Gods and The Graveyard Book explores the origins of the Norse tales and discusses bringing their gods to life through his own writing in an event which forms part of Nordic Matters, Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture in 2017.

Karachi Literature Festival (Alchemy, 20 May)

Karachi Literature Festival comes to the UK for the very first time in a collaboration with Southbank Centre's Literature team, celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country's foundation. Founder and Director Ameena Saiyid in conjunction with Bloomsbury Pakistan presents a day of debates, talks, recitals and performances with writers and artists. The one-day festival forms part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy which explores the cultural connections between the UK and South-Asia and runs from 19 - 29 May 2017. The full programme will be announced in the new year.

Brian Cox (10 January)

The Royal Society and Southbank Centre present an evening on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence with English physicist a nd Royal Society Professor of Public Engagement, Professor Brian Cox. The author of a number of popular science books including Why Does E=mc2? and The Quantum Universe and presenter of science programmes including the Wonders of... series is joined by an expert panel to discuss the advances in machine learning and if we should worry about an artificial intelligence taking over our world. A number of organisations already use Machine Learning including Netflix, dating sites, Amazon and Google to help refine searches and offer recommendations but there are many further potential applications for this technology. Panelists include Professor Jon Crowcroft FRS, Professor Joanna Bryson and Dr Sabine Hauert who debate the benefits and challenges of Machine Learning and answer questions submitted by audience members prior to the event. The event will be live streamed on The Royal Society’s website and YouTube channel.

Belief and Beyond Belief and Stephen Hawking (16 January - December) 

Southbank Centre’s new year-long festival Belief and Beyond Belief which launches in January 2017 explores belief, faith and spirituality as well as what it means to be human in the 21st century. The cross-art form festival in partnership with London Philharmonic Orchestra and comprising music, performance, debate, talks and workshops takes place across eight themed weekends throughout 2017. The festival opens with Professor Stephen Hawking in an exclusive event at Royal Festival Hall to mark his 75th birthday and the launch of the landmark app Stephen Hawking’s Pocket Universe: A Brief History of Time Revisited. The eminent physicist and bestselling author of A Brief History of Time reads from his work and speaks about his proudest accomplishments (16 January).

The opening weekend of the festival explores ‘The Search for the Meaning of Life’ and features speakers including Mona Siddiqui OBE, Abdul Rehman Malik, Richard Holloway, Nick Baines, Remona Aly, Kim Leine and more (20-22 January). Further themed weekends include Science versus Religion: Do We Need to Choose? (3-5 February); How do we live with Death? (3-5 March); Prophets, Visionaries and Power (7-9 April); For Good or for Ill: How has Religion shaped Society? (5 - 7 May) with speakers including Julian Baggini, Marcus du Sautoy, Elif Şafak, Murray Shanahan, Anab Jain, Sarah Bakewell, Indarjit Singh, Sayed Razawi, Sara Khan, Jasvir Singh and more.

In a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of Primo Levi’s If This is a Man, award-winning author AL Kennedy and Professor of Law at University College London Philippe Sands QC lead a live reading of the full text of Levi’s account of survival in Auschwitz (30 April). For more information on the festival please see the Belief and Beyond Belief press release.

Nordic Matters Opening Weekend (13 - 15 January)

The opening weekend of Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic art and culture, Nordic Matters, features leading Nordic writers. A series of 15 minute ‘bites’ with Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist Sjón whose books include T he Blue Fox and Moonstone provide a whistle stop tour of the fascinating tales in Nordic mythology. Sjón is joined by Robert Fergusson, author of Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North to explore the close ties between the Nordic landscape and its culture and how the natural environment shapes Nordic identity. Journalist and author of T he Nordic Theory of Everything Anu Partanen is joined by a panel of writers and experts to discuss the pioneering contributions the Nordic countries have made to the fight for gender equality as well as the many challenges they still face - from sexism in the workplace, to higher than average rates of male suicide. For more information please see the Nordic Matters press release. 

Imagine Children’s Festival (9 - 19 February)

Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival returns to Royal Festival Hall and includes a packed programme of literary events, readings and workshops with some of the top children’s authors from the UK and Nordic region. Highlights include comedian and author Julian Clary and award-winning illustrator D avid Roberts w ho introduce their new book T he Bolds on Holiday - featuring readings and live drawing (17 February); An afternoon of reading and live illustration from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and friends (15 February); Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came, with a live Q&A with Michael Morpurgo (17 February). One of Team GB’s most successful Olympic athletes, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, introduces his new fiction series for young readers, F lying Fergus, alongside co-author Joanna Nadin and illustrator Clare Elsom as well as his first non-fiction book for children, On Your Bike (17 February). In line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters, Imagine Children’s Festival also features top artists and authors from the Nordic region including Icelandic author and illustrator Birgitta Sif, Swedish author Pernilla Lindroos, Greenlandic author Bolatta Silis-Høegh, Icelandic author Þórarinn Eldjárn and Finnish illustrator Linda Bondestram. F or more information please see the Imagine Children’s Festival Press Release

‘Telling Her Story’ Poetry Workshops For Women Of Colour (Dec 2016- March 2017)

Poet Rachel Long who was shortlisted for the Young Poet Laureate for London 2014 curates a new workshop series ‘Telling Her Story’ for women of colour, taking place monthly at Southbank Centre. Inspired by Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour which she founded, Long curates an exclusive space for women of colour who want to read, write and grow creatively, providing an opportunity for them to have their voices not only heard but celebrated, nurtured and developed. Themes explored in the workshops include Place/Displacement; The Personal as Political; Growing Up; Ekphrasis – Writing from Art; Language; and The Body. Workshops take place monthly from December to March. Full information in listings.

Polari Literary Salon (Jan - March 2017)

London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon, Polari, returns to Southbank Centre for its 10th year, curated and hosted by writer Paul Burston, and featuring leading authors from the LGBT community. The 2017 series opens with Stella Duffy, the award-winning writer of 14 novels, 10 plays, and over 50 short stories published in 15 languages, two-times winner of the CWA Short Story Dagger and twice Stonewall Writer of the Year. Duffy reads from her new book London Lies Beneath, and is joined by Rosie Garland, Nathan Evans, Chris Chalmers and Ann Mann who read from their latest works (27 January). American journalist  and author Tim Murphy headlines the next event, discussing his debut novel Christodora, marking LGBT History Month. Inspired by his 20 years of experience reporting on HIV/AIDS for a number of publications, Christodora is a bold and poignant portrait of the bohemian Manhattan of sex, drugs, art and activism, from the early 1980s to the near future (24 February). Writer, filmmaker and performance maker Paula Varjack headlines the third Polari of the year which takes place on International Women’s Day (8 March) and forms part of Southbank Centre’s WOW - Women of the World Festival. Varjack reads from her autobiographical book Letters I Never Sent To You and is joined by Brighton’s Jules Grant, and LA’s Michelle Tea. Further Polaris to be announced at a later date.

Poetry Events At Southbank Centre

The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre offers a broad range of free events throughout the year. Highlights include ‘The Spring to Come’, an exhibition exploring war and language, curated by Polish artist Sława Harasymowicz (5 Oct 2016 - 10 Jan 2017); readings from the winners of the New Poets Prize (11 January); and ‘Larkinworld’, an exhibition curated by artist DJ Roberts exploring the poetry of Philip Larkin. Southbank Centre looks forward to once again hosting the TS Eliot Prize Readings in a special event where the ten shortlisted poets for the prestigious TS Eliot Prize 2016 read from their work the evening before the £15,000 prize winner is announced (15 January 2017).

2017 London Literature Festival With Poetry International (13 - 29 October)

Southbank Centre’s longest-running festival Poetry International m arks its 50th anniversary by joining with London Literature Festival f or the first time in October 2017. The biennial festival, which was founded in 1967 by Ted Hughes, forms the opening weekend of 2017 London Literature Festival, which is an established highlight in the literary calendar celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016. These combined festivals feature a Nordic focus in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. Nordic elements include a specially-commissioned Nordic Anthology and W all of Dreams, a large-scale projection of testimonies and dreams onto the Royal Festival Hall, in collaboration with Danish artist Morten Søndergaard. The full programme is announced in the new year.

# ENDS #

For further press information and interview requests please contact:

Louise Gilbert, Press Manager: louise.gilbert@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 7921 0780

Naomi French, Press Officer: naomi.french@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 7921 0678

Full Event Listings Below

The Spring to Come Exhibition at The Poetry Library

Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Tuesday 10th January 2017, 11am-8pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Sława Harasymowicz's exhibition unravels the story of a semi-hypothetical figure.The story tells of an aspiring poet and his attempts to deal with the reality of war through imagination and language.

‘Telling Her Story’ workshops for women of colour

Tuesday 25th October 2016 - Tuesday 14th March 2017 (one each month), Level 3 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8, Age 18+
Poet Rachel Long curates an exclusive space for women of colour who want to read, write and grow creatively in a new series of workshops.
Forthcoming Dates: Tuesday 13 December 2016 Tuesday 31 January 2017 Tuesday 28 February 2017 Tuesday 14 March 2017

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler: A Magical Stick Man Screening & Show

Thursday 22nd December 2016, 2pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £15 adult, £7.50 child, ages 5-8
Enjoy songs and storytelling with Julia Donaldson and live illustration from Axel Scheffler followed by the award-winning animated film of Stick Man on the big screen.

Brian Cox presents Science Matters – Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Tuesday 10th January, 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Prices £10, £12.50, £15
Join Professor Brian Cox as he puts your questions on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (submitted in advance) to an expert panel including Professor Jon Crowcroft FRS, Professor Joanna Bryson and Dr Sabine Hauert. The event will be live streamed on The Royal Society’s website and YouTube channel.

The Poetry Business Presents: The New Poets Prize

Wednesday 11th January 2017, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free booking required
Hear readings from winners Imogen Cassels, Jenny Danes, Theophilus Kwek and Phoebe Stuckes, alongside 2016 competition judge, Helen Mort.

Rug Rhymes

Every Friday from 13 January to 14th July (excluding Friday 17th February and Friday 2nd June), 10.30- 11am,The Poetry Library Reading Den at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE age 5 and under
A short session of nursery rhymes, poems and rhyming stories, followed by the opportunity to look at and borrow books from our ever-growing children's collection. Under-fives and their carers are invited to join the Poetry Library puppets, Federico and Firebird.

Nordic Matters: Mythology Bites

Saturday 14th January, 11.15-11.30am, 12.45-1pm, 2.45-3pm & 4.45-5pm, Free
A whistle-stop tour with Icelandic poet, novelist, and lyricist Sjón of the fascinating tales in Nordic mythology, along with powerful poetry from the eight Nordic Matters focus countries.

Nordic Matters: Ice, Forests and the Future

Saturday 14th January, 2 - 2.45pm, The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Greenland contains 10% of the world’s ice. Sweden and Finland are nearly 70% forest. And yet with climate change already causing the ice to melt, what does the future look like for the majestic landscapes of the Nordic region? Join us for a discussion on the close ties between landscape and culture. Featuring Sjón, Icelandic poet, novelist and lyricist whose books include The Blue Fox and Moonstone and Robert Fergusson, author of Scandinavians: In Search of the Soul of the North.

Nordic Matters: How do you say Gender Equality in Faroese?

Saturday 14th January, 4-4.45pm, The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Renowned for its progressive and pioneering approach to gender equality, the challenge for the Nordic region in reaching gender equality is made even greater by the perception, internally and externally, that gender equality has already been achieved. A panel of experts and authors debate gender equality in the Nordic region, and the gap between the perception and the reality, featuring Anu Partanen, journalist and author of The Nordic Theory of Everything.

TS Eliot Prize Readings

Sunday 15th January, 7pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12, £15
In a special event, the ten shortlisted authors for the prestigious TS Eliot Prize 2016 read from their work the evening before the £15,000 prize winner is announced.

A Brief History of Time: Stephen Hawking in Conversation

Monday 16th January, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £25 - £45
Hear legendary physicist Stephen Hawking read from his work and speak about the most rewarding achievements of his distinguished career.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 1: The Search for the Meaning of Life

Friday 20th - Sunday 22nd January, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend we bring together prominent thinkers, artists, performers and clergy to discuss one of life’s biggest issues: What is the Meaning of Life? Highlights of the weekend include renown scholar and commentator Mona Siddiqui OBE who delivers a keynote on Does Struggle Give Meaning to Life?; Stories of Creation, an exploration of different stories of creation performed by storytellers, poets, writers and performers; panel discussions including What’s it all about? The Search for the Meaning of Life with Richard Holloway, Nick Baines, Mona Siddiqui and Abdul Rehman Malik; What if God was a Woman with journalist Remona Aly and others; Meaning for Atheists: What do Atheists Believe? with Nick Spencer Director of Research at Theos Think Tank and others.

Polari / Stella Duffy

Friday 27th January, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £5, ages 18+
Stella Duffy reads from her new book, London Lies Beneath, as the first headliner appearance for Polari - an award-winning LGBT literary salon at Southbank Centre in 2017.

Larkinworld

Tuesday 31st January - Sunday 30th April, 11am - 8pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
The world of Philip Larkin's poems is so often read as a melancholy backdrop to loneliness and failure. In this exhibition, artist D J Roberts explores a response to Larkin's work which accepts this reading but also discovers a more robust and life-enhancing quality in Larkin's work

Poets on War

Wednesday 1st February, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free But Booking Required
Witness four poets examine war with sympathy, horror and humour.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 2: Science versus Religion: Do We Need to Choose?

Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th February, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend looks at both science and religion and whether the two subjects can be reconciled. The weekend’s keynote address is given by Marcus du Sautoy on the topic of God of the Gaps, which looks at the many issues that even science can’t explain. Other highlights of the weekend include panel discussions with leading experts on Science Versus Religion: Do we need to choose?; Quantum Theology:When Faith Meets Science; Right to Die? The Assisted Dying Debate; It’s Alive! Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Playing God with Professor Murray Shanahan and Anab Jain; The Monkey Trial, a theatrical performance based on the 1925 Stokes Trial which examined the teaching of evolutionism versus creationism in schools.

Nordic Matters: Neil Gaiman

Wednesday 15th February, Time TBC, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, On sale to Members 6 December and public 7 December
Acclaimed author Neil Gaiman discusses his new book, Norse Mythology (publishing 7 February), in which he turns his attention to the great Norse myths, a major inspiration for the fantastical realms in his award-winning fiction. Exclusive, limited edition, pre-signed copies of Norse Mythology can be purchased with your ticket. These books will be available for collection from Foyles at Royal Festival Hall, Level 2, on the day of the event.

Imagine Festival: Sami Storytelling and Joiku Chanting Workshop

Saturday 11th February, 10.30am & 12.30pm, Level 3 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6
Come and hear all about the characters of Sami mythology with Sami writer, Ante Aikio, who joins us from Finnish Lapland. Ante is also a joiku chanter and during the workshop he will teach the children (and adults!) to join in the joiku chants along with him.

Imagine Festival: My friend Manna with Bolatta Sillis - Silis-Høegh

Saturday 11th February, 2.30pm, Sunley Pavilion at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6, £8
Festival-goers can get creative and use their imagination in this workshop with published children's author Bolatta Silis-Høegh. The part Greenlandic and part Latvian artist debuted as an author in 2011, publishing her first children’s book, Aima, which she wrote and illustrated. The follow-up, Aima Shush! was published in June of 2014.

Imagine Festival: It is Best to Eat Poems: Diet for Nonsense Lovers

Saturday 11th February, 10.30am - 12.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8 adults £4 kids
What do playsins, hobby-chews and ediblistles taste like? Can nonsense have a nationality? What sounds do poets from different countries like to play with? Can you picture nonsense? Join Icelandic children's poet Þórarinn Eldjárn and Finnish illustrator Linda Bondestam to delve into the universal phenomenon of nonsense literature, explore how it translates between languages and cultures, and have a go playing with your very own Nordic nonsense! A bonkers event for children who like sound.

Imagine Festival: Birgitta Sif: Where my feet go

Saturday 11th February,12:30pm - 1.30pm, Sunley Pavilion at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £6, ages 0-5
Author and illustrator Birgitta Sif leads a creative workshop featuring interactive storytelling and the chance for children ages 0-5 to make their own puppet.

Imagine Festival: Dr Seuss - The Cat in The Hat

Sunday 12th February, 12.30 & 2.30pm,The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, FREE
Children’s Story Centre presents Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat storytelling show.

Imagine Festival: Sensational Sensory Poetry

Monday 13th February,11.30am - 12.30pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall,Free but ticketed (one ticket admits one child and one adult),ages 6-10 years
Shelley Boden hosts a workshop which uses all of our senses to explore poems from The Poetry Library collection. This session is suitable for blind and partially sighted children.

Imagine Festival: Amazingly Magical Poems

Monday 13th February,1.30-2.30pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, £4 for children £8 for adults, ages 5-7 years
The Poetry Library presents a special Imagine poetry reading for five to seven-year-olds and their grown-ups. Featuring one of our favourite picture book poets Peter Bently and teller of tall tales Andra Simons.

Imagine Festival: Booktrust Presents Lifetime Achievement Award

Wednesday 15th February, 12.00 - 1:00pm,The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall,Free ages 5-8
Chris Riddell and a host of authors and illustrators celebrate the career of 2017’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The name of the winner won’t be announced until just before the event, but previous winners include Tiger Who Came to Tea author Judith Kerr, and Dame Shirley Hughes who wrote and illustrated the Alfie books.

Imagine Festival: Chris Riddell & Friends

Wednesday 15th February, 2.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12 adults, £6 children
Children's Laureate illustrator Chris Riddell is joined by VIP mystery guests to celebrate the world of children’s books. The Waterstones Children’s Laureate and his friends incorporate stories and illustrations in this children’s event. All artists appearing in the event are donating their fees to Amnesty. This event is British Sign Language-interpreted. Recommended for ages 7 – 11.

Imagine Festival: Julian Clary and David Roberts

Friday 17th February, 12.30pm - 1.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £8 £4, for ages 7+
Comedian, entertainer and writer Julian Clary joins award-winning illustrator David Roberts as they introduce you to their latest book, The Bolds on Holiday. An unmissable event packed with wildly hilarious readings in Julian’s unique style, live-drawing from David and lots of laughter for the whole family.

Imagine Festival: Why The Whales Came By Michael Morpurgo

Friday 17th February, 11:00am, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12 adult £6 child
Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller presents Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo, followed by a live Q+A with Morpurgo.

Imagine Festival: Francesca Simon

Friday 17th February,2pm-3pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, £8, £4, ages 10+
Join Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon as she introduces her acclaimed new book for older children, a dark and very funny tale based on the mythical Norse goddess of the underworld, ‘Hel’.

Imagine Festival: Sir Chris Hoy

Friday 17th February, 3-4pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall; £12 adult, £6 child
One of Team GB’s most successful Olympic athletes, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, will be introducing his new fiction series for young readers, Flying Fergus and his first non-fiction book for children, On Your Bike. Chris and the Flying Fergus team, co-author Joanna Nadin and illustrator Clare Elsom, will talk about the inspiration behind the books, with live drawings.

Polari / Tim Murphy

Friday 24 February, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall £5
American author Tim Murphy discusses his stunning debut novel to mark LGBT History Month.
Tim’s novel, Christodora, is a bold and poignant portrait of the bohemian Manhattan of sex, drugs, art and activism, from the early 1980s to the near future.

Oyster Catch Press: Correspondences

Wednesday 1st March, 8-9.30pm, The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
This event brings together Nisha Ramayya’s remarkable work on Sanskrit and Tantric traditions, Peter Hughes’ unpredictable versions of the 19th-century Italian poet Leopardi, and Gareth Prior’s insightful and imaginative readings of Francis Bacon’s paintings.

The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin

Monday 3rd March (doors open at 6pm to view Larkin exhibition) 6.30pm The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
To tie-in with our exhibition Larkinworld, our Spring Poetry Library Book Club will look at the The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin (Faber, 2014). From 6pm we will allow attendees a chance to look at our exhibition Larkinworld before we get down to the poems at 6.30pm.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 3: How do we live with Death?

Friday 3rd March - Sunday 5th March, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores the challenging issue of what happens after we die and how this affects the way we live. Highlights include panel discussions on How to Live with Nick Baines and author Sarah Bakewell exploring ideas and teachings about what makes a good life; The Way to Immortality: Technology and Transcendence, a panel of futurologists, technologists, and scientists discuss what happens to our digital selves after we die; Creativity and Death with writers, artists and musicians who discuss how creating art celebrates life. The weekend also features workshops and participation events including a Mexican Day of the Dead parade.

Polari / Paula Varjack

Wednesday 8 March, 7.30pm, Level 5 Function Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £5, ages 18+
Marking International Women’s Day, Paula Varjack headlines with her autobiographical book Letters I Never Sent To You. She is joined by Brighton’s Jules Grant with her most recent book We Go Around In The Night and Are Consumed With Fire and LA’s Michelle Tea with Black Wave.

The Haiku Moment

Wednesday 5th April, 8-9.30 pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
The British Haiku Society (BHS) marks 26 years of writing and appreciating English language haikus, with this celebratory event.There will be a short introduction to the ways that the haiku has developed and changed followed by readings and a Q+A with Kate B Hall, Sue Schaer, Andrew Schimield, Diana Webb and Mark Gilfillan.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 4: Prophets, Visionaries and Power

Friday 7th April - Sunday 9th April, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores the relationship between religion, politics and power. The keynote address is delivered by award-winning novelist Elif Şafak who draws on examples from recent events in Turkey to discuss When Politics Meets Religion: Power and Faith. Further highlights include panel discussions on Separation of Powers: God in Politics with Indarjit Singh and Sayed Razawi; The Battle for British Islam with Sara Khan and Sayed Razawi and a bites session where a range of speakers tackle the topic of women in religion.

Belief and Beyond Belief: If This is a Man

Sunday 30 April, 3.15pm and 10pm, Royal Festival Hall, £15 - £25
To mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man, A.L. Kennedy and Philippe Sands lead a live reading of the full text of Levi's account of survival in Auschwitz.

Cypriot Poets: Transcending Conflict

Wednesday 3rd May, 8-9.30 pm,The Poetry Library at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free but ticketed
Cypriot poets have been reaching across and writing the division of Cyprus before and after the border opening of 2003. This opening also brought new possibilities for collaboration and understanding on an island where they share a common history. This event brings together five Cypriot poets (Neşe Yaşın, Stephanos Stephanides, Senem Gökel, Maria Siakalli, Alev Adil) who will present the story of these communities, followed by poetry performances and a Q&A session.

Belief and Beyond Belief Weekend 5: For Good or For Ill: How Has Religion Shaped Society? 

Friday 5th May - Sunday 7th May, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Day Pass £15, Weekend Pass £25
This weekend explores how religion and faith have affected society with highlights including panel discussions on How Has Religion Shaped Society? with Jasvir Singh and more; Religion Behind Bars which explores what hope and guidance religion potentially offers the incarcerated; Faith and Fashion; Religion and Education; Terrorism and Society and Women Faith Leaders.

Alchemy: Karachi Literature Festival

Saturday 20th May, various locations at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, On Sale to General Public 8 February
Karachi Literature Festival comes to the UK for the very first time in a collaboration with Southbank Centre's Literature team, celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country's foundation. Founder and Director Ameena Saiyid in conjunction with Bloomsbury Pakistan presents a day of debates, talks, recitals and performances with writers and artists. The one-day festival forms part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy which explores the cultural connections between the UK and South-Asia and runs from 19 - 29 May 2017. The full programme will be announced in the new year.

London Literature Festival and Poetry International

Friday 13th October - Sunday 29th October, Various locations from across Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre’s longest-running festival Poetry International marks its 50th anniversary by joining with London Literature Festival for the first time in October 2017. The biennial festival which was founded in 1967 by Ted Hughes forms the opening weekend of 2017 London Literature Festival, an established highlight in the literary calendar which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. The combined festivals feature a Nordic focus in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. Nordic elements include a specially-commissioned Nordic Anthology and Wall of Dreams, a large-scale projection of testimonies and dreams onto the Royal Festival Hall, in collaboration with Danish artist Morten Søndergaard. The full programme is announced in the new year.

Notes To Editors 

About Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21 acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.

Let the Light In

In September 2015, our iconic Brutalist arts venues Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery closed their doors for two years so we could give them the essential refurbishment they deserve. Renowned for their architectural significance, the buildings are most importantly recognised for the exceptional performances and exhibitions that have happened in them since they first opened nearly 50 years ago. The £25 million refurbishment project has been funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and through the generous support of Southbank Centre friends. We launched the Let The Light In campaign to raise £3.9 million and have just £1.9 million left to raise so we can transform these buildings for the reopening in 2018 and for future generations to enjoy.

For more information, visit: letthelightin.southbankcentre.co.uk

Big Wedding Weekend

Festival of Love

Date override 
28 Jun 2014 - 31 Aug 2014

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