- 14 FESTIVALS CURATED BY SOUTHBANK CENTRE INCLUDING CHANGING BRITAIN 1945–2015 ON 70 YEARS OF BRITISH THINKING IN LEAD UP TO GENERAL ELECTION
- CHANGING BRITAIN 1945–2015 INCLUDES TALKS, DEBATES, CONCERTS AND MAJOR EXHIBITION WITH LEADING ARTISTS CURATING HISTORY IS NOW: SEVEN ARTISTS TAKE ON BRITAIN
- FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF WOW – WOMEN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL IN LONDON AND BEYOND INCLUDING CAMBRIDGE, CARDIFF, HARLEM NEW YORK AND BRISBANE
- YEAR FEATURES 100S OF ARTISTS INCLUDING GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, SIMON RATTLE, DANIEL BARENBOIM, CARSTEN HÖLLER, SHOBANA JEYASINGH, ESA PEKKA SALONEN, VLADIMIR JUROWSKI, PEGGY SEEGAR, MAURIZIO POLLINI, RICHARD WENTWORTH AND JANE AND LOUISE WILSON
- TOURING PROGRAMME TO REACH 1 MILLION PEOPLE IN OVER 50 VENUES NATIONWIDE INCLUDING ALCHEMY FESTIVAL AND BRITISH ART SHOW 8
- TS ELIOT FOCUS THROUGHOUT YEAR TO MARK 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH
Southbank Centre today (12 November 2014) presents its festival programme and artistic highlights in 2015, including a major new festival, Changing Britain 1945–2015. This is just one of 14 festivals curated by Southbank Centre next year, which bring together thousands of artists, partners, communities and audiences to contribute, create and learn, and many of which explore the most pressing issues today. Alongside the festivals, Southbank Centre offers an extensive programme of classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word.
Over the last few years, Southbank Centre has been developing its artistic and cultural programme, with annual and one-off themed festivals at the heart – from its summer-long festivals filled with outdoor installations and the award-winning The Rest Is Noise Festival, to WOW – Women of the World Festival and Alchemy, exploring the cultural exchange between the UK and South Asia. Southbank Centre’s distinctive festival approach provides encounters between audiences and the world’s great and emerging artists across many different artforms and across the whole site, with half of the programme offered for free to enable everyone to be involved. Each festival is put together in collaboration with hundreds or artists, organisations and communities, includes new digital projects such as artistic installations, experiences and commissions, and has learning and participation at its heart, both on site and increasingly online. Southbank Centre’s commercial partners play an active part in helping to bring festivals to life – from populating the site with pop-ups, to tying in their offerings with the festival themes and connecting with different communities.
This festival focus draws on the site’s rich heritage, which began in 1951 with the nationwide Festival of Britain. Created to celebrate a new future for the country, the Festival was one of the most democratic, optimistic and imaginative gestures of the 20th century, at the heart of which was the South Bank Exhibition, situated on what is now this site. Today the 21-acre site is visited by 28 million people a year.
The first Southbank Centre festival to open next year is Changing Britain 1945–2015, which will interrogate the last 70 years of British history, focussing on society, culture and politics in the lead up to the general election on 7 May (30 January to 9 May). Inspired by historian David Kynaston’s acclaimed books on the social history of England from the end of World War Two, the festival will ask if we still believe in the values of greater equality that were put in place in 1945, and explore themes including fairness and social justice since then. The Festival will build up to a series of three concentrated weekends of talks, debates and workshops exploring who we are in 2015 and why it’s important to vote (18–19 April, 25–26 April and 2–4 May). Following the election, there will be a day on 9 May devoted to artists and audiences, who will give a message to the new government about the importance of creativity, including the London Sinfonietta, who will perform two sets of newly commissioned works co-curated by Matthew Herbert and the Royal Philharmonic Society.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “Southbank Centre is the largest festival site in the world and we have been ambitiously growing our festival programme over the last few years. This has helped transform the site and provides a unique framework for everyone to engage creatively with arts and culture, and explore the most pressing issues of our time. In the lead up to the general election, a pivotal moment for the country, Changing Britain offers a different platform for people to actively get involved in the debates. We believe that the arts have the power to transform lives and my wish is that people will feel empowered and inspired by this festival to exercise their right to vote.”
David Kynaston, said: “I am honoured that my ongoing history of post-war Britain – so far Austerity Britain, Family Britain and Modernity Britain – is providing the inspiration for Southbank Centre’s festival about this country during the seventy years since the Second World War. There is huge interest in the history of our times and that of our parents, and this festival seeks to evoke and unlock the experiences of a rapidly changing society. Timed to coincide with next year’s general election, many of the key issues today – including welfare, immigration, inequality, housing and Europe – can only be understood through a deeper knowledge of our recent past, which this festival aims to provide.”
Changing Britain 1945–2015 begins with a series of BBC Concert Orchestra concerts with performances of music through the ages including Friday Night is Music Night: On the Wireless and off the Box conducted by Gavin Sutherland and presented by Ken Bruce on 30 January (and two more concerts follow on 7 February and 22 March). Highlights include signature tunes and short excerpts from the Hancock’s Half Hour, Housewives’ Choice and William Walton’s Coronation March, Orb and Sceptre. There will be a supporting programme of talks and events around the concerts, setting the music in context, a legacy of the recent critically-acclaimed The Rest Is Noise festival. Also part of Changing Britain 1945–2015 is a major Hayward Gallery exhibition (10 February – 26 April),History Is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain: John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara,Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth, and Jane and Louise Wilson curate a section of the show, each looking at a particular time in history over the last 70 years covering topics as varied as the CND movement, post-Thatcherite society and urban planning. Bringing together more than 250 works, the exhibition will shed new light on how we remember, rethink and reconsider the past and key artworks include Ben Nicholson’s Festival of Britain (1951), Richard Hamilton’s The State (1993) and Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1972 print series BUNK!
Other festivals in 2015 include (see listings release for full festival programme):
· the Imagine Children’s Festival (9–22 February), sponsored by The Book People, which has grown to be the largest children’s festival in the UK, and includes a diverse programme of events from performances by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker (15 February) to The Big Sleepover, when children and adults stay overnight in the Royal Festival Hall auditorium (16 February);
· the fifth anniversary of WOW – Women of the World in London, which celebrates the achievements of women and girls (1–8 March). Since its launch, WOW has become an international festival and has taken place in Sydney, Katherine (Australia) and Baltimore (USA) as well as regionally including Derry-Londonderry, Cardiff and Cambridge. 2015 sees WOW take place for the second time in Cardiff and Cambridge and in Harlem, New York and Brisbane, Australia in June with plans for it to be taken elsewhere;
- Alchemy (12–25 May), which is now the largest festival of Indian and South Asian culture outside India, and in 2015 Alchemy tours to Doncaster, Oldham and the Black Country. This festival has evolved into a hub for unique collaborations between the UK and South Asia, as well as across the Indian subcontinent;
· the Web We Want festival, which explores the profound impact the Web has had on individuals, governments and societies at large, culminating on 28–31 May;
- Festival of Love, which explored seven types of love as defined by the Ancient Greeks in summer 2014, returns for this rich and complex subject to be explored further. The festival was enjoyed by 1.6 million people. It will again feature the Big Wedding Weekend, when couples come together to marry in mass ceremonies on the Royal Festival Hall stage (27 June – 6 September);
- Poetry International, the festival co-founded by Ted Hughes, will have a special focus on TS Eliot to mark the 50th anniversary of his death (22–26 July);
- WHY? What’s Happening For The Young? supported by Mishcon de Reya, which explores all aspects of the current protection and promotion of children and young people’s rights in the UK,inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, will return following its launch in 2014 (22–24 October);
- BAM – Being A Man, the second festival exploring what it means to be a man today (27–29 November), curated with the help of hundreds of men.
The other key part of Southbank Centre’s work is the year-round programme of classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word. Southbank Centre has built a tradition of developing long-term partnerships with particular artists and orchestras and is delighted to be welcoming back Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Orchestra (on 8–9 January); Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker, in their second residency, in partnership with the Barbican Centre on 13–15 February; and Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin in two concerts in April. Barenboim will also perform a cycle of Schubert’s Piano Sonatas over four concerts (May & June). Maurizio Pollini and Stephen Hough will return on 17 March and 28 April respectively as part of Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series and among those returning to perform as part of Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series are the Takács Quartet with pianist Marc-André Hamelin (18 May). Choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, will also return, this time with composer Elena Kats-Chernin, to premiere their collaborative work, a 21st-century take on Shiva, the Indian god of dance (16 and 17 September).
Southbank Centre also welcomes new artists for the first time including Carsten Höller, whose exhibition Decision Dilemma, will take place in the Hayward Gallery next summer (10 June – 6 September) as part of the Festival of Love. Featuring a wide range of work from the past 20 years and new works, the exhibition will challenge perceptions as each visitor is confronted with their own decisions to make throughout the show. Artworks include The Forest (2002), Phi Wall II (2002), and Light Wall (2000/2002).
Highlights from Southbank Centre’s four Resident Orchestras include the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s (LPO) Rachmaninoff: Inside Out – the most extensive celebration of Rachmaninoff in a single season, featuring conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Vasily Petrenko, Vassily Sinaisky, Osmo Vänskä, Ilyich Rivas and David Zinman; the Philharmonia Orchestra’s City of Light: Paris 1900-1950 series, led by Principal Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen; the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s Flying the Flag series, celebrating nations and their music whilst exploring widely contrasting national musical styles and the idea of music representing nations; and the London Sinfonietta gives the London premiere of James Dillon’s major Stabat Mater Dolorosa, featuring choir ensemble and electronics (21 January).
Southbank Centre continues to grow its touring programme in 2015. Working with many partner organisations across the UK, the touring festivals, exhibitions, music and performance productions will be seen at more than 50 venues outside London, reaching a total of 1 million people. Highlights include the WOW and Alchemy Festival tours and the British Art Show 8, which is one of a number of Hayward Touring and Arts Council Collection touring exhibitions. Widely recognised as a significant marker of recent developments in contemporary art, the exhibition introduces a wide public to a new generation of British artists, providing a vital overview of the most exciting art produced in this country during the previous five years. The show will open at Leeds Art Gallery in October and tour to Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton.
Southbank Centre is also expanding its international work and highlights include the WOW – Women of the World festival in Harlem, New York and Brisbane in June, and the acclaimed Light Show, first shown at the Hayward Gallery in 2013, which will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney on 16 April, and at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE in September. This popular exhibition features 25 illuminated installations and sculptures by major international artists from the 1960s to the present, which explore the medium of light and respond to the surrounding architecture. Works include Dan Flavin’s pioneering minimal fluorescent sculptures, Jenny Holzer’s monumental LED signs, and David Batchelor’s use of bright, industrially-produced colour. Southbank Centre’s live presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has been touring across the world since its premiere at the Royal Festival Hall in 2010, will be performed at the Singletary Center for the Arts in Kentucky, USA (31 January – 1 February), the Gulbenkian Musica in Lisbon (7-8 May), and in the newly built Philharmonie in Paris on 30 and 31 May.
In September, the Repair and Maintenance Project for the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery is due to begin. Building on the success of the Royal Festival Hall refurbishment, the Festival Wing project will prolong the life of the buildings for future generations and includes the refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room auditoria; a refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer with new glazing looking out to the terrace and riverside wall; and replicating the iconic Hayward Gallery Pyramid Roof to allow controlled natural light into the upper galleries as originally conceived. Southbank Centre will continue its artistic and festival programme across the rest of the site, and expand its touring programme across the UK and internationally, while this project takes place.
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Notes to editors
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, comprising three iconic buildings (Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery) and occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Building on this rich heritage, Southbank Centre offers an extensive artistic and cultural programme including annual and one-off themed festivals and classical and contemporary music, performance, dance, visual art and literature and spoken word.
Southbank Centre’s 2013/2014 Annual Review has just been published, for the first time in a web format. Please click on the link to see it: http://content.southbankcentre.co.uk/annualreview2013-14/