Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts complex in South Bank, with a dynamic year-round festivals programme and an inclusive ethos. It is Europe’s largest single-run arts centre, and is on the site where the Festival of Britain took place in 1951.

Southbank Centre comprises the Royal Festival Hall, the Saison Poetry Library, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery. The Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery are currently closed for renovation and due to reopen in 2018.

Southbank Centre’s festival programme encompasses art, theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, literature and debate, reaching 6.25 million people who enjoy over 5,000 events per year, with world-class artists from across the globe.

Southbank Centre’s cultural offering exemplifies London’s global relationships. It has a major collaboration with China on China Changing Festival and with the Nordic Countries on its year-long Nordic Matters festival in 2017. These build on its strong international cultural model which has seen successful festivals such as Alchemy, its South East Asian festival, and Africa Utopia – all of which promote cultural exchange and collaborations between Londoners and artists from across the world. Southbank Centre has also a growing cultural export programme including its flagship festival WOW – Women of the World which has been taken to five continents worldwide, and touring programmes such as 2001: Space Odyssey set to a live orchestral score which has played to some of the world’s greatest arts centres.

Southbank Centre’s annual summer festivals (including Meltdown and the Festival of Love) attract 10m visitors each year, of which 2m actively engage with the artistic installations. Its education and community work continually seeks to ensure the most disadvantaged in society have greater opportunities to access culture, and its Schools in Residence programme, Learning Together, is delivered with associate schools across Lambeth.

Did you know?

Southbank Centre joined South Bank Employers’ Group in 1995.

Built on the site of the Red Lion Brewery, Royal Festival Hall is the only permanent legacy of the 1951 Festival of Britain.

The area beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer is known as the birthplace of British skateboarding and is the oldest recognised, and still existing, skateboarding space in the world.

The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden was created in 2011 as part of Southbank Centre’s celebrations of the Festival of Britain’s 60th anniversary. The garden was built and is maintained by Grounded EcoTherapy – a group of volunteers who have experienced homelessness, mental health and addiction problems.

Board Representative

Mike McCart
Director of Development and Policy