Winter at Southbank Centre returns to London this year with an abundance of festive fun and entertainment for the whole family, spanning the joyful winter weeks from 9th November 2018 to 6th January 2019...
Two brand new family shows are at the heart of this year’s Winter programme. The award-winning puppeteers from War Horse will present the European premiere of the spectacular, heart-stopping Circus 1903, fresh from the Paris Theatre in Las Vegas to the Royal Festival Hall stage at Southbank Centre (19 Dec-5 Jan, Royal Festival Hall) and award-winning Australian theatre companies Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre Company South Australia will perform the UK premiere of their unique spin on the fantastic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin with their brand of theatrical spectacle, rocking music and supreme silliness, starring cabaret legend Paul Capsis (13 Dec-6 Jan, Queen Elizabeth's Hall). Other shows this winter include a festive family sing-along with Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler's Zog & Friends Show (2 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall), That Night Follows Day by Forced Entertainment (11-15 Dec, Purcell Room) and Maureen Lipman’s Up for It (17 Dec-6 Jan, Purcell Room).
David Batchelor will be lighting up Southbank Centre’s winter landscape by extending his Sixty Minute Spectrum (2017) commission beyond the roof of the Hayward Gallery. This incredible installation Sixty Minute Spectrum Redux (2018) will now also illuminate the rooftops of the iconic Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as highlighting their architectural features over the holiday season. Sequenced to sync with the Hayward Gallery light display, the David Batchelor lights will start and end with a vivid red and will appear at different points throughout their cycle in orange, yellow, green, blue, purple or pink, and all the vibrant colours in between.
The sensational New Year's Eve Spectacular curated by Vintage returns once more for another unmissable year with five floors of entertainment, bringing in the new year with a front-row seat to London's world-famous fireworks (31 Dec, Royal Festival Hall). For one night, the Royal Festival Hall will be transformed into a set-dressed spectacular; five floors of themed club nights, seven bars, two live acts, twelve DJs, eight dance lessons, and outdoor spaces offering the perfect view of the UK’s largest annual fireworks display. Six themed pop-up nightclubs will transport visitors with music from the 1920s to the present day, interspersed with live orchestras, specialist DJs, dance lessons and photo studios.
A joyous programme of classical music includes the return of the ever-popular Handel’s Messiah with the Philharmonia Orchestra alongside an outstanding line-up of singers including Mary Bevan, Kathryn Rudge, Nicky Spence and Ashley Riches (16 Dec, Royal Festival Hall). Visitors are also treated to a magical afternoon of timeless classics at Christmas at the Movies (16 Dec, Royal Festival Hall) with music from Home Alone, Harry Potter, Love Actually and The Snowman.
For those looking for a festive sing-along, Ian Shaw and Claire Martin present their Early Xmas Cracker performance with classic hits from Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and The Pogues (8 Dec, Purcell Room).
There will be an array of free events (11 Dec-01 Jan) to get everyone involved, from DJ sets to cabaret performances. Southbank Centre welcomes Winter’s a DRAG (29 Dec, Clore Ballroom), a day-long event with London’s best drag kings and queens, and Caribbean Christmas Party Time, a celebration of traditional festive Caribbean music with live musicians and DJs (15 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall Foyer). Southwark Winter Splash welcomes the festive season with a concert by 250 students from Southwark Primary Schools singing seasonal songs old and new (12 Dec, Clore Ballroom) and a flurry of Winter Choirs will entertain and delight visitors in the lead up to Christmas with 30 minute performances, and even the odd sing-along too (11-23 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall Foyer). There will be social dances galore with Tango Time, an afternoon of Argentinian tango performances, lessons and social dancing (27 Dec, Clore Ballroom). Strictly Winter Ballroom offers visitors a chance to brush up on their ballroom skills while whirling around the dancefloor to djs and live music (26 Dec, Clore Ballroom) and Learn to Swing will teach participants to swing, jive and jitterbug like a pro with expert instruction from Simon Selmon and Anna Lambrechts of SwingDance UK, as seen on The Paul O'Grady Show and Dancing on Ice (24 Dec, Clore Ballroom).
Southbank Centre’s popular Winter Market (9 Nov-27 Dec) will be buzzing with pop-ups across the 17-acre site as visitors warm up with an assortment of food, drinks and merriment under the twinkling market lights. Two new pop-up bars, Bar Under the Bridge and The Circus Bar offer tastebud tingling cocktails and delectable food in warm hideaways alongside the river. Jimmy’s Lodge returns for the second year presenting dazzling alpine themed private igloos, where visitors can enjoy the stunning views and sparkling festive lights. Southbank Centre also welcomes 29 traders from around the world including a number of all time favourites, offering the latest seasonal gifts and delicious street food.
Southbank Centre’s Winter Market pop-ups returns down by the river Thames with food, drink and shopping for all (9 Nov-27 Dec). 29 traders from around the globe will be presenting the latest seasonal gifts and delicious street food with stalls offering Asian, Indian and Greek cuisines, traditional winter favourites like raclette and bratwurst, and sweet treats including waffles and pancakes. Two new food and drink pop-up bars and eateries also pop up on site, Bar Under the Bridge will be a warm hideaway serving cheese-themed food - charcuterie and cheese boards, croque monsieur and baked camembert and delicious cocktails such as Blood Orange Paloma, Red Snapper and Prosecco Fred.
Pitching up in front of the Royal Festival Hall will be The Circus Bar. Home to sizzling fire-pits where friends and family can pop in and enjoy delicious snacks, baguettes, sharing dishes and snacks with mulled cider and wine in this cosy space.
The regular food market is also open Friday–Sunday in Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Road. Jimmy’s Lodge will also be reappearing by Waterloo Bridge - an alpine festive haven where visitors can enjoy the views and lights Christmas parties under a private igloo.
Artist David Batchelor’s Sixty Minute Spectrum (2017) was commissioned to celebrate the iconic architecture of the Hayward Gallery providing a countdown to the reopening of the building. Now Batchelor is extending the commission to illuminate the rooftops of the iconic Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as highlighting their architectural features. This striking commission Sixty Minute Spectrum Redux (2018) is part of Southbank Centre’s Winter which celebrates and unites all three Southbank Centre buildings, all open after a long period of restoration.
PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS
Award-winning Australian theatre companies Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre Company South Australia present the UK premiere of their unique spin on the fantastic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, with original music, vibrant design, and magical twists and turns that will delight the whole family this winter (13 Dec 2018-6 Jan 2019, Queen Elizabeth's Hall). Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment, a Southbank Centre associate company, looks at the ways the adult world shapes and defines young people in That Night Follows Day, a comical and poignant piece written for, and performed by a young cast (11-15 Dec, Purcell Room), and writer and comedian Maureen Lipman performs an evening of rave, rollick and rant, in her news stand-up show Up for It for ages 14+ (17 Dec 2018-6 Jan 2019, Purcell Room). From award-winning puppeteers from War Horse, the European premiere of the spectacular Circus 1903, sees larger-than-life puppet elephants join acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, high wire performers and much more for a circus spectacular that will amaze, captivate, and transport audiences of all ages to the mesmerising Golden Age of circus (19 Dec 2018-5 Jan 2019, Royal Festival Hall). The ultimate festive sing-along Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler's Zog & Friends Show, featuring songs, stories and live drawing for all ages, celebrates some of the much-loved stories that inspired the magical Zog films (2 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall), and London’s best drag kings and queens bring seasonal cheer with Winter’s A Drag, a day-long event celebrating the joy of winter (29 Dec, Clore Ballroom).
Channeling the festive spirit, jazz-singing duo Ian Shaw and Claire Martin select seasonal classics and songs from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and The Pogues for their Early Xmas Cracker (8 Dec, Purcell Room). Uniting of Opposites fuse the worlds of jazz and classical Indian music, creating a melting-pot of genres with a host of talented artists joining them on stage for an early holiday treat (6 Dec, Purcell Room). Live musicians and DJs showcase the unbeatable festive spirit of a Caribbean Christmas with traditional festive Caribbean music, including parang and soca for Caribbean Christmas Party Time (15 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall Foyer).
Christmas at Southbank Centre includes special performances from the Philharmonia Orchestra, including Christmas at the Movies with music from Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Snowman many more film favourites (16 Dec, Royal Festival Hall), and Handel’s Messiah featuring a phenomenal line-up of singers including Mary Bevan, Kathryn Rudge, Nicky Spence, Ashley Riches (16 Dec, Royal Festival Hall). The BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, presents a wintery themed concert with performances of work written by Anne Dudley, Guy Barker, Jonny Greenwood and a world premiere of a new work from Dobrinka Tabakova (5 Dec, Queen Elizabeth's Hall). The London Concert Orchestra, conducted by Toby Purser, presents an evening of Grand Christmas Classics, including festive readings and joyful song in a Christmas themed event where they will be joined by singers Laura Mitchell, Alexander James Edwards, the London Philharmonic Choir and Fanfare Trumpeters of the Coldstream Guards Band (14 Dec, Royal Festival Hall). Stephen Cleobury conducts King’s College Choir in a festive night of Carols (13 Dec, Royal Festival Hall) and Southbank Centre’s popular What You Need to Know series continues with writer Alexandra Coghlan lifting the lid on the musical connections behind traditional Christmas Carols (8 Dec, Royal Festival Hall).
NEW YEAR’S EVE SPECTACULAR
Southbank Centre’s annual New Year’s extravaganza is once again curated by Vintage returning for another unmissable year on Monday 31 December 2018. The eagerly-awaited event curated by Wayne, Gerardine and Jack Hemingway and the team will transform Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall into five floors of themed club nights, seven bars, two live acts, twelve DJs, eight dance lessons, and outdoor spaces offering the perfect view of the UK’s largest annual fireworks display. Visitors will have the exclusive opportunity to a private view of London’s world famous New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Royal Festival Hall terrace away from the general public crowds (weather permitting). The ultimate evening of entertainment, New Year's Eve Spectacular is the perfect way for merry makers to ring in 2019.
Images - Southbank Centre website (Rumpelstiltskin, credit:Shane Reid/Carnival Studio. New Year's Eve Spectacular, credit: Clem Onojeghuo)