HomeArtsSouthbank Centre unveils The Winter Festival

Southbank Centre unveils The Winter Festival

Southbank Centre will invoke the spirit of Charles Dickens for The Winter Festival with NatWest which opens on Friday 15th November.

The 21-acre site will be transformed into a magical landscape with bicycle-powered Christmas tree snow globes, art installations, markets and twinkling canopies of light. The Festival programme is packed with world class theatrical performances and festive concerts as well as free participatory dance events and activities that explore the joy of giving.

Highlights for the festival include:

  • A Christmas Carol – under the dimmed lights of Queen Elizabeth Hall, we celebrate the 170th birthday of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a dramatised reading of the legendary story. The actors bringing to life the unforgettable characters are: Griff Rhys Jones as Charles Dickens and Bill Paterson as Scrooge, as well as Freddie Fox, Tim Pigott-Smith, Ian McNeice, Phil Daniels, Janine Duvitski, Bryony Hannah and Amy Morgan. The evening will begin with pre-show Christmas music, mulled wine and mince pies (15 Dec) Age recommendation: 10+
  • The Gift of Giving – be inspired to give this Christmas with an installation of donated coats, each with a letter to the person who receives the coat from the donor; a pop-up charity shop; knitting workshops to create blankets for vulnerable older people; up-cycling workshops; and the NatWest Gift Factory (12 Dec – 6 Jan)
  • Christmas Mini Midnight Run – join Inua Ellams for an exploration of charity and goodwill in a guided walk of our urban landscape (6 Dec)
  • Folds – acrobat-musicians tumble through a set made entirely of paper and cardboard in the London premiere of this colourful circus show (17 – 31 Dec)
  • Christmas Markets – a choice of four markets: Southbank Centre Christmas Market (15 Nov – 24 Dec);
  • Designers/Makers Market (16 – 22 Dec); The Chocolate Festival (13 – 15 Dec) and the Real Food Christmas Market (19 – 22 Dec)
  • A Vintage New Year’s Eve Party – co-curated with Wayne Hemingway and HemingwayDesign, the Royal Festival Hall is transformed into a hotspot of glamour throughout the decades with the most exclusive views of the Thames fireworks following last year’s sell-out (31 Jan)
  • Free Festive Events – from Argentinian Tango (15 Dec) and Boxing Day Swing dancing (24 Dec), to Voicelab’s Winter Big Sing (22 Dec) and our annual Gamelan Christmas Chimes (19 Dec), there are free events throughout the Festival, including daily performances by London choirs (9 – 23 Dec)
  • Comedy from Fascinating Aida: Charm Offensive (22 Dec – 10 Jan) and Greg Davies: The Back of My Mum’s Head (16 – 19 Dec)
  • Southbank Centre Resident London Philharmonic Orchestra concludes the year-long The Rest is Noise Festival with a performance of John Adam’s El Niño (Nativity Oratorio), with the London Philharmonic Choir; Vladimir Jurowski, Kate Royal, Kelley O’Connor, Matthew Rose, Daniel Bubeck, Steven Richards and Mark Grey (14 December)
  • Slava’s Snowshow – returning for an unprecedented third season (17 Dec – 6 Jan)
  • Sinead O’Connor’s Christmas Show – The soulful, iconoclastic performer returns to Southbank Centre following a sell-out show in 2012 for a special Christmas performance (10 Dec)
  • White – the magical monochrome show for young children returns following a sell-out run in 2011 (18 Dec – 4 Jan)

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “Charles Dickens described the festive season in A Christmas Carol as ‘a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people…as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys’. His words have been the source and inspiration for our approach to this year’s Winter Festival. Dickens believed, as we do, that no one should be excluded from the festivities, and our programme this season offers something for everyone to enjoy, share and reflect upon. I am delighted that NatWest is generously supporting our Festival and very much look forward to working with them.”

For more information and event details head over to www.southbankcentre.co.uk/winter

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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