Motivated by David Kynaston’s ongoing series Tales of a New Jerusalem, which looks to chronicle the social history of Great Britain from the end of the Second World War, the Festival offers concerts, exhibitions, talks and debates, encouraging a wide public participation into questions of where we’ve come from and, more poignantly, where we might be headed.
With so many events on offer, we strongly recommend a deeper look into what Changing Britain has in store for the coming months. Here's Culture Whisper's guide to the best events at the Southbank this spring.
QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL, Friday 17 April, Tickets: £15
The Kinks’ frontman has been writing and performing music for over half a century, well-placed to discuss the radical shifts in Britain’s artistic scene over the decades. Don’t miss the chance to get a first-hand insight into the ever-changing world of post-war art, as seen through the eyes of one of our nation’s most revered musicians.
QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL, Saturday 25 April, Tickets: £15
Billy Bragg’s music and political activism have been near-parallel forces in his career. A passionate advocate of left-wing ideals, Bragg’s involvement in politics has not been without its share of controversy, and his song-writing is well known for its political themes. Joining Changing Britain to talk about the relationship between creativity and government during the 80s and 90s, Billy Bragg’s take on Britain’s transition into the twenty-first century is high on our list of must-sees.
THE HAYWARD GALLERY, ongoing, Tickets: £6.50-12
Seven contemporary artists each curate a different period of Britain’s cultural history in this illuminating and inventive exhibition, the Festival’s vibrant centrepiece, showcasing the art and artefacts that have defined Britain for seven decades. Click here to read our interview with one of the History is Now curators, Roger Hiorns.
THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE, selected weekends, Tickets: £35
On selected weekends, Changing Britain offers exclusively designed tours around London’s hidden history, on board the National Trust’s famous 1962 Routemaster double-decker. Each tour focuses on a different period of Britain’s architectural development, and includes visits into spaces usually closed the public. Uncover London’s secret past, and see the city as you’ve never seen it before.
QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL, Friday 1 Mar, Tickets: £15
Bringing together some of the country’s most distinguished actors with recent associate director of the National Theatre, Antony Banks, this evening celebrates 70 years of British theatre, featuring extracts from some of the nation’s best-loved plays, performed and discussed by the people who helped bring them to life over the years. The list of speakers is still under wraps, but we predict some big names and national treasures.
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, Sunday 22 March, 16:00, Tickets: FREE
A series of short talks from an impressive selection of speakers, including journalists Shiv Malik and Sam Delaney, discussing their thoughts on major political issues from immigration and welfare to housing and foreign policy. A brilliant, and free, opportunity to engage in politics without the politicians.
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, Saturday 2 May, 11:30, Tickets: £5
A day devoted to likeminded 15-21 year olds looking to develop their skills in campaigning ideas which matter to them, with opportunities to meet successful young activists and gain the confidence to take Britain’s future into their own hands.
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, ongoing, Tickets: FREE
The Adopting Britain exhibition at the Southbank Centre takes an intimate look at the history of Britain’s migrant communities and their contributions across the twentieth century, spotlighting the personal stories of individuals and families from a diverse range of backgrounds. Free guided tours are available on selected weekends, offering a more detailed insight into the exhibition’s curation and its staggering, surprising, and at times shocking reflection on Britain’s rich history of immigration.
|What||Changing Britain Festival, Southbank Centre|
|Where||Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
30 Jan 15 – 09 May 15, Times for talks vary.
|Price||£0 - £15|
|Website||Click here for more information from the Southbank Centre|