• The Hayward Gallery will reopen on 19 May and the Royal Festival Hall (including the National Poetry Library), will reopen on 21 May with live events from 28 May.
  • Reunion – Summer at the Southbank will see the UK’s largest multi-arts centre come back to life with outdoor events and world-class music-making across its iconic venues from May – August. Artists will include: Anoushka ShankarNicola BenedettiEsa-Pekka SalonenVladimir JurowskiMitsuko UchidaYefim BronfmanColin Currie Group with Steve Reich.
  • In the Green Room, a 10-week series of in-depth conversations between the Southbank Centre’s curators and global artists is revealed, including Steve Reich & Colin CurrieIgshaan AdamsAlicja KwadeMax Porter and Rufus Wainwright with further names to be announced in due course.
  • Inside Out continues with a newly-announced partnership with Netflix for a one-off event with Aaron Sorkin.

The Southbank Centre reopens.png
Credit: Royal Festival Hall ️ India Roper-Evans; Hayward Gallery ️ Pete Woodhead; Queen Elizabeth Hall ️ Pete Woodhead

The Southbank Centre today confirms the dates for the reopening of its venues after a year of closure due to the pandemic.

The Hayward Gallery will reopen with Matthew Barney: Redoubt and Igshaan Adams: Kicking Dust from 19 May – 25 July 2021. The Royal Festival Hall, including the National Poetry Library, will reopen on 21 May with concerts in front of socially distanced audiences from 28 May ahead of reopening to full audiences on 21 June, subject to government guidance.

This will be the first time audiences have been able to return to one of London’s most iconic and popular concert halls since March 2020. The Queen Elizabeth Hall will open in early August and the Purcell Room in September.

The UK’s largest multi-arts centre will launch Reunion – Summer at the Southbank, a four-month programme of events across its entire site, safely welcoming audiences back for a vibrant summer of music, art, literature and dance. From indoor concerts to outdoor stages, the Southbank Centre will platform a diverse array of artists, from homegrown talent to globally-known artists.

Key highlights will include: Esa-Pekka Salonen’s final two concerts as the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor – he’ll be joined by Mitsuko Uchida and Yefim Bronfman; the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Vladimir Jurowski as he makes his final appearance, before taking the title Conductor Emeritus; the Colin Currie Group with Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, performed three times in one day; Anoushka Shankar who continues her role as Associate Artist; Aurora Orchestra with Nicola Benedetti; and Chineke! who launch the season. The Southbank Centre’s annual programme Imagine a Story culminates in a special one-off event, nationwide youth music partners will be welcomed back, and a range of community projects will reunite the venue with its local audiences, as part of its wider Arts & Wellbeing programme. Full programming will be announced soon.

On 30 April, the popular weekly street food market returns, alongside riverside pop-ups including Jimmy’s infamous BBQ Club, offering the perfect destination for visitors in the heart of London during what is sure to be a buzzing summer for Londoners eager to escape months of lockdown.

Meanwhile,In the Green Room – announced today – and Inside Out will continue to bring arts and culture to online audiences at home, reflecting the vital role that streamed arts activity has played throughout the pandemic to help combat social isolation and loneliness. The Southbank Centre will look to develop a long-term, hybrid multi-art programme to broaden its audience reach internationally.

Looking beyond London, Art by Post, in association with the National Academy of Social Prescribing and nationwide strategic partners will continue to support those experiencing isolation and those in social care settings across the country. The Arts Council Collection celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with an array of programming and partnerships around the country, including the launch of Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945 in May at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Hayward Gallery Touring’s landmark exhibition British Art Show 9will open in Aberdeen in July before touring to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth.

Reunion  Summer at Southbank’s May – June events will be announced on 14 April; July – August events will be unveiled on 1 June. A final slate of Inside Out events from the Resident Orchestras will be announced on 30 March. An update on Grace Jones’ Meltdown will be given in early April.

Despite closure, 2020 was a year of significant cultural impact for the Southbank Centre. From the Hayward Gallery reopening with Among the Trees, to over 90 streamed events from Inside Out, our ongoing global series of gigs, concerts, and talks. There were three outdoor exhibitions: Everyday Heroes – marking the vital contribution of our keyworkers – Phenomenal Women – celebrating Black female Professors in Higher Education, and Winter Lights. The centre also launched a critically acclaimed exhibition by Hayward Gallery Touring – Not Without My Ghosts, the first-ever digital Unlimited festival and Art By Post which ensured that those experiencing loneliness or social-isolation could enjoy art at home.

Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive, Southbank Centre, says:
“It’s been a year since we closed the doors of our wonderful Southbank Centre and we cannot wait to throw them open again and to welcome back our incredible artists and performers and much-missed audiences. Our world class concert halls will be ringing with music and applause once again, there will be two extraordinary exhibitions to enjoy in the Hayward Gallery and our scenic river terraces will be humming with activity. There will be something for everyone. Come and reunite with us!” 


Also announced today is In the Green Room, a 10-week series of in-depth conversations between Southbank Centre’s curators and programmers and the globally-known artists, friends and collaborators they have welcomed to the Southbank Centre over the years. These events will be streamed every Monday evening on YouTube Premieres from 12 April – 14 June.

This brand-new series is the culmination of the Southbank Centre’s streaming programme, Inside Out which has been bringing exclusive content to audiences globally and here in the UK since last September. The first names announced are: Steve Reich & Colin Currie (12 April), Alicja Kwade (19 April), Igshaan Adams (26 April), Max Porter (3 May) and Rufus Wainwright (10 May). Names for events from 17 May – 11 June will be announced soon.

Hosted by Southbank Centre’s curators, they’ll speak 1-1 with these artists, friends and collaborators, sharing candid anecdotes of time spent at the much-loved arts & cultural centre, and engaging in topical discussion relevant to these times.


Screenwriter, playwright, producer and director Aaron Sorkin joins the Southbank Centre’s ongoing Inside Outprogramme for an in-depth conversation centred on his latest Academy-Award and Bafta nominated film, The Trial of the Chicago 7. Co-presented with Netflix, the platform that gave the film its premiere, this exclusive event will see the much-loved writer take audiences behind the scenes of this highly-acclaimed film as awards-season approaches. This event will be broadcast at 7.30pm on Wednesday 31 March. Tickets will be £5 and available to the general public from Wednesday 24 March via southbankcentre.co.uk.

Previously announced Inside Out events yet to be streamed globally include: London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘The New World’ (24 March), Hanif Abdurraqib (25 March), Philharmonia Orchestra: ‘Beethoven & Mozart’ (25 March), Out-Spoken (28 March), London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘Towards Freedom’ (31 March), Philharmonia Orchestra: ‘Tchaikovsky & Sibelius’ (1 April), Kazuo and Naomi Ishiguro (5 April), London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘London Calling’ (7 April), London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘Bohemian Rhapsodies’ (14 April), London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘The Emperor Concerto’ (21 April), London Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘La Vie Parisienne’ (28 April), Olivia Laing (30 April) and Jhumpa Lahiri (6 May). Full Inside Out listings are available here.