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The South Bank Culture Round Up

July 7th, 2022 | by Tom Harrow-Smith

The South Bank Culture Round Up

With a revolving door of events exhibitions, theatre, gigs and more across South Bank all year long, it's understandably hard to keep track of everything going on at the likes of National Theatre, Southbank Centre the BFI et al. That's why we've put together this round up of the latest events you won't want to miss.

  • Theatre

    With several new plays opening at the National Theatre this Autumn, Lynette Linton will direct a startling revival of the extraordinary Pearl Cleage play Blue for an Alabama Sky opening 20 September. Likewise, Arthur Miller's Salem witch trial inspired The Crucible gets a shakeup from Lindsey Turner who directed the acclaimed Under Milkwood last summer and will open 14 September. On 1 October, The Boy with Two Hearts will open too. Directed by Amit Sharma, this powerful play tells the story of a family fleeing from Afghanistan at the turn of the 21st century.

    Helen Hunt will make her London theatrical debut when she stars in Eureka Day at The Old Vic, opening 6 September. This timely and explosive comedy from Jonathan Spector focuses on the debates surrounding vaccination as polite debate descends into ideological warfare in a Californian community. 

    Witness for the Prosecution will be celebrating their 5th anniversary of wowing audiences in County Hall this October and are offering under 26's £25 tickets from Tuesday to Thursday. Plus, there are three riotous new panto inspired comedies arriving at The Vaults too for something different, including Peter Pan's Labyrinth and The Witches of Oz.

  • Music

    This Autumn sees a new season of classical music arrive at Southbank Centre, with the opening weekend taking place on 23 September, which includes a jampacked programme of events. This includes Anatomy of the Orchestra - part installation, part concert for all ears and ages - this quirky event is spread across all levels of Royal Festival Hall, allowing the audience to wander and explore the way sound is formed in an orchestra, creating a personal sonic mix as they move.

    There will be more Purcell Sessions taking place in Queen Elizabeth Hall, this artist led programme gives creators the freedom to push boundaries and forge connections across art forms. On 30 September the acclaimed Christine and the Queens will be live at Royal Festival Hall, returning under a new name Redcar.

    And if you fancy getting in on the action, maybe Between the Bridges new karaoke nights are for you? Taking place every Thursday, this event is hosted by Dalston's own drag Karaoke Hole and guarantees a wild evening of fun.

    Whilst at The Vaults, things are turning 'upside down' with Stranger Sings - a hilarious, musical parody of Stranger Things, filled with 80's inspired tunes.

  • Exhibitions

    The Hayward Gallery will launch their new exhibition on 26 October. Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art is the first large-scale group exhibition in the UK exploring how contemporary artists have used clay in unexpected ways. And until 18 September, the critically acclaimed In the Black Fantastic will remain open.

    The month of September sees the London Design Festival come to Oxo Tower Wharf, with a range of events, workshops and exhibitions taking place across their gallery spaces and creative studios. Whilst until 31 October you'll be able to see an outdoor artwork that's part of the UK wide project World Reimagined outside Bargehouse.

    In an exhibition that runs from 14 October until March 2023, the Garden Museum will be showcasing artworks from the undisputed master of the modern nude, Lucian Freud. His Plant Portraits exhibition is the first to delve into Freud's paintings of plants and gardens and will show how integral they were to his work.

    And in Royal Festival Hall's exhibition space, Koestler Arts marks the 60th anniversary of the Koestler Awards with an ambitious exhibition of art by people in the UK’s criminal justice system, curated by Ai Weiwei and running from 27 October to 18 December.

  • Film

    This Autumn at the BFI sees a celebration of new and classic film like never before. First up is a return of David Bowie on screen in the season Sound and Visionwhich accompanies the arrival of the highly anticipated Moonage Daydream, an immersive documentary experience which will arrive at BFI IMAX on 16 September. 

    There will also be a monumental Bondathon weekend that Alan Partridge would be proud of from 30 September to 2 October. Celebrating 60 years of 007 there will be screenings of Bond classics as well as special events and talks, including an In Conversation event with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. 

    And if that's not enough, there's only the small matter of the BFI London Film Festival, a two week long celebration of cinema, chock full of screenings and events, where South Bank will be at the centre. Not only will BFI Southbank remain the central hub of the festival, for the second year running Royal Festival Hall will host red gala events and World Premieres whilst 26 Leake Street will be the home of LFF Expanded that explore immersive art and extended realities.

  • Festivals

    Unlimited Festival, a four day celebration of the artistic vision and creativity of disabled artists will return for the first time since 2019 at Southbank Centre on 7 September. Featuring outstanding dance, performance, comedy, music and visual art, you'll be able to catch many of these events for free.

    Also taking place at Southbank Centre in October is the 15th edition of the London Literature Festival. From 20 to 30 October, the festival aims to unite readers of every age and this year features talks from world famous authors and celebrities. The headline event will see climate activist Greta Thunberg spend an evening at Royal Festival Hall for the global launch of The Climate Book and limited tickets are still on sale!