festival

Belief and Beyond Belief

16 Jan - 16 Dec
Throughout 2017, Southbank Centre and the London Philharmonic Orchestra present a new festival which explores what it means to be human. Belief and Beyond Belief explores the music, art, culture, science, philosophy, ritual and traditions that have risen out of religion in its many guises.

The seemingly innate need for humans to find meaning for their lives and a sense of where they fit into the universe, with all its mystery and majesty, is a constant in all periods of human history and has inspired some of the greatest music and art ever created.

Even in an era when religion is said to be on the decline our headlines are dominated by it, often in extreme forms.

The festival also looks at the broader questions of what it means to be human and asks which aspects of religious belief can be useful to the world in the 21st century. What are the risks to societies if they become more secular, and how will that influence artists?

From Haydn to Strauss, from Kancheli to Glass, Belief and Beyond Belief looks at music that speaks of the divine and the human spirit.

From Richard Dawkins to Jeanette Winterson, from Rabindranath Tagore to Primo Levi, we investigate the struggle to define the absolute.

Nearly all of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2017 Royal Festival Hall concerts form part of this Festival, alongside a wide range of performances, lectures, debates, and literary events programmed by Southbank Centre.

With support from Coexist House and Cambridge Interfaith Programme.

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The belief in something greater than ourselves has preoccupied humanity for centuries. In this festival of music inspired by spiritual belief, we attempt to lay open the grandeur, enigma and conflict in our search for, and understanding of, the divine.
Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, London Philharmonic Orchestra

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Classical music
Orchestra
7:30 pm, 25 Feb 2017
The BBC Concert Orchestra explores the representation of death in music for film and theatre

4 Mar 2017

Free

Art
10:00 am, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Come see an exhibition of elaborate, customised replica ‘Crazy Coffins’
Talks & Topics
Nature & Environment
11:30 am, 4 Mar 2017
Get ready to debate what happens when we die
Literature
11:30 am, 4 Mar 2017
Join talks and debates on living with death at the third Belief & Beyond Belief weekend
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
An exploration of religion, spirituality, belief and the world

Free

Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Write a humorous commemoration for someone you love – while they are here to hear it
Teacher teaching a young girl at a craft workshop

Free

Art
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Contribute to a growing collaborative installation of love for people you’ve lost or miss
Two young boys being taught by a teacher at a craft workshop

Free

Art
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Craft a model viking burial boat with a message to a loved one and contribute to a growing fleet

Free

Art
1:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Join this workshop to decorate a coffin in the style of cultures which celebrate the end of life
Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
1:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Debate the controversial issue of a person’s right to choose to die
Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
1:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
What makes a good life and what can we do to make the most of here and now?
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
2:30 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Come on a journey through the world of funerals
Talks & Topics
Health & Wellbeing
2:30 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Hear a range of speakers tackle all kinds of topics from Belief & Beyond Belief
People parading at the Festival of Death

Free

Art
Performance
3:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Inspiration from dancehall funerals in Jamaica, New Orleans jazz funerals and Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Free

Talks & Topics
3:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Take part in a tea party-style discussion of death and dying in a supportive environment
Talks & Topics
Global Culture & Ethnicity
4:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017
In a chaotic and violent world, how do we make sense of death?
Performance
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Confront your own mortality at Dead Line, part installation and part theatre performance
Krzysztof  Penderecki

Free

Classical music
6:15 pm, 4 Mar 2017
One of the most important living composers speaks about his work
Performance
Cabaret
7:30 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Be moved by this show about how we respond to grief and the difficulties of talking about death
Classical music
Choral
7:30 pm, 4 Mar 2017
Hear Penderecki's St Luke Passion, a powerful choral retelling of the last days of Christ

5 Mar 2017

Free

Art
10:00 am, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Come see an exhibition of elaborate, customised replica ‘Crazy Coffins’
Literature
Religion & Beliefs
11:30 am, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
An exploration of religion, spirituality, belief and the world

Free

Literature
Spoken word & Live literature
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Write a humorous commemoration for someone you love – while they are here to hear it
Teacher teaching a young girl at a craft workshop

Free

Art
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Contribute to a growing collaborative installation of love for people you’ve lost or miss
Two young boys being taught by a teacher at a craft workshop

Free

Art
12:00 pm, 4 Mar 2017 - 5 Mar 2017
Craft a model viking burial boat with a message to a loved one and contribute to a growing fleet

stories

video
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski discusses the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s science-themed concerts part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival
video
Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada explores music from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Strauss’ Nietzsche-inspired Also sprach Zarathustra

explore our themes

This festival is comprised of a series of themed weekends, find out more about them below.