The iconic Brutalist architecture of the Southbank Centre has had a makeover. Or to be more precise a restoration. Situated between the Hungerford and Waterloo Bridges, it is the largest centre for the arts in the whole of Europe and this year, sees it reopen the renovated Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth’s Hall. As well as being a sterling example of British Brutalism, the centre has a stellar line-up of events coming in 2018, from classical music to cultural discussion to an exploration of its own architecture. Its programme is guaranteed to have something on offer to please everyone, so make sure you plan to pay it a visit this year.
At the beginning of March, the Southbank Centre hosted the ninth Women of the World Festival to mark International Women’s Day. This annual five-day affair saw the likes of author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in conversation with Reni Eddo-Lodge, speed mentoring events from women in STEM and discussions on some women getting the right to vote in the U.K. 100 years ago. It was an intense, inspiring few days and kicked off this year’s programme of events with a bang. So, what’s up next?
Moving forward, the 2017/18 Classical Season continues to provide thought-provoking, nostalgic and awe-inspiring musical performances for your enjoyment. The Best of James Bond pays tribute to everybody’s favourite secret agent, with music from the whole series of films played by a 28-piece orchestra. The rousing chords of ‘Diamonds are Forever’ transports listeners back to the floor of Circus Circus casino whilst ‘Live and Let Die’ conjures up scenes of the Caribbean. Later in the season, you can catch the Philharmonia Orchestra performing Brahms Requiem, and ‘Workers and the State’ involving the music of Bolshevik Russia.
Debate session Violet Nights looks at the cultural impact of gaming with panelists Lindsay Wright, Salim Hussain and Anisa Sanusi leading the discussion. This monthly event is the Southbank Centre’s space for encouraging young people to engage with ideas and art, and in this case, promises to consider the artistic side of games when compared to other media, such as film and music. The free event is just one example of how the centre works to attract as wide and inclusive an audience as possible, across every age range and cultural group.
Summer sees the arrival of Roberts Smith’s Meltdown, the longest running artist-curated music festival in the U.K., now in its 25th year. With acts like Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine, The Libertines, Manic Street Preachers and Nine Inch Nails already announced, it promises to be quite a show. Taking place from June 15-24 this year, there is still plenty of opportunities to get a golden ticket to this unique and star-studded experience. Other standout events at the Southbank Centre this year include Concrete Dreams Weekend, a timely celebration of the centre’s stunning architecture, (B)old, a festival honouring artists over the age of 65 and the London Literature Festival, with talks from speakers as diverse as Philip Pullman and Hillary Rodham Clinton.