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Heaven by Mieko Kawakami: Live

Sat 23 Oct 2021, from 2pm
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
Literature & poetry
From £15
past event
past event
Mieko Kawakami, author
Reiko Toyama

Witness an immersive reading like no other at a world exclusive performance of Mieko Kawakami's new novel, Heaven, with music from Hatis Noit.

Described by Japan Times as 'one of Japan's brightest stars', Kawakami is the author of the international bestseller Breasts and Eggs, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of TIME's Best 10 Books of 2020.

Known for her sharply observed, poetic explorations of gender dynamics and power relations in modern society, Kawakami's most recently translated novel, Heaven, is a moving and original tale of teenage friendship.

'"We should be friends." That's all it said. Thin letters that looked like little fish bones, written in mechanical pencil,' Kawakami's story begins. From this, an unlikely bond is formed between two misfits caught up in a relentless onslaught of bullying.

Staged by Jack McNamara, Artistic Director of Live Theatre Newcastle, this unique onstage reading between two actors and musician Hatis Noit transports the audience to Japan and delves into the pleasures and perils of adolescent friendship.

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami is translated from the Japanese by David Boyd and Sam Bett.

Tipped by The Guardian as one to watch in 2020, Japanese vocal performer Hatis Noit's accomplished range is astonishingly self-taught and inspired by everything from Gagaku – Japanese classical music – and operatic styles, Bulgarian and Gregorian chanting, to avant-garde and pop vocalists. Hatis Noit has performed across Europe, including a sold-out London show with the London Contemporary Orchestra here at the Southbank Centre. She is currently finishing a full-length studio album.

Trained at the Giles Foreman Centre For Acting, Nino Furuhata’s theatre credits include After Life at the National Theatre and Kafka on the Shore at La Colline, Paris. His TV and film credits include People Just Do Nothing, Doctors and The Limit of Sleeping Beauty; and he appeared in Thousand Cranes for BBC Radio 3.

Grace Akatsu is a Japanese-American actor and biologist living in Oxford, UK. Their recent acting credits include Oxford Playhouse's Orestes as Pylades in 2021; Alight Theatre Guild's The Elm Tree as Child/Disease in 2019; and the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble's Twelfth Night as Feste, also in 2019.

Need to know

Age recommendation

For ages 18+

Contains references to topics that some may find disturbing. CW: violence, suicide.

Dates & times

Sat 23 Oct 2021, from 2pm


  • Standard entryFrom £15*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

Book as early as you can to ensure the best choice of tickets. Ticket prices may be adjusted without notice to reflect demand.

** Limited availability. Read about concessions.

Tickets can only be sold through the Southbank Centre and our authorised agents, and can't be resold. You can return your tickets to the Southbank Centre for a credit voucher up to 48 hours before the event. Tickets resold on any third-party platforms will become invalid.

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Purcell Room

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Get an overview of the seating layout of the Purcell Room by downloading our seating plan.

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An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

The facility includes a height-adjustable bench, tracking hoist system, a centrally-placed toilet, a height-adjustable basin and a shower. The phone outside the Changing Places toilet will connect you with a member of staff, who can provide you with the key. The facility is open daily 10am – 11pm.


The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room cloakroom is closed. You won’t be able to bring any bags over 40 x 25 x 25cm into the venues, so please leave large bags at home.

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Purcell Room is located in Queen Elizabeth Hall. For step-free access please use Royal Festival Hall JCB glass lift to Level 2 and enter via Riverside Terrace.

Talk to a member of staff at the auditorium entrance if you have a disability that means you can’t queue, or you need extra time to take your seat. They can arrange priority entry for you as soon as the doors open.

Please bear with us while we update our access map to reflect the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall’s Level 2 foyer spaces. The step-free routes remain the same.

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