Autumn on London's South Bank

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Totally Thames

Floating Dreams by Ik-Joong Kang


Home to one of London's best art centres, a world-renowned theatre and a film institution, the South Bank boasts a great programme of events year-round. This autumn is no different and serves up everything from music festivals to cultural occasions. Here explores the best of what's on offer.

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Totally Thames

The month-long festival returns with 150 river-related events.

River Thames, , London, WC2H 7BP

Tube: Vauxhall Station , Pimlico Station


Dates: 01st - 30th September 2016


Month-long event Totally Thames returns this September with 150 river-related events taking place along the river's entire 42-mile course through the capital. The festival - much of which is free - celebrates the main waterway which winds its way through the heart of the city, through a diverse mix of art, music, and educational events both on the water and along its banks and bridges at various riverside locations from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and beyond. Events this year include Floating Dreams, a major installation by top Korean multimedia artist Ik-Joong Kang; Mooring, a new play that confronts themes of riverside homelessness and remorse; Life Afloat, a new exhibition exploring the history of houseboat life; and Tidefest, a series of family friendly events and activities.



Shakespeare's Cymbeline is renamed and reclaimed as Imogen.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT

Tube: Mansion House Station


Dates: 17th September - 16th October 2016


Award-winning actor Maddy Hill, best known for playing Nancy Carter in EastEnders, swaps the small screen for Shakespeare's Globe, taking on the lead role in a new version of Cymbeline, renamed Imogen. Aiming to make the Globe a more gender equal stage, this move comes to show how women have a strong narrative in Shakespeare's plays. With Imogen speaking three times more than Cymbeline, Globe director Emma Rice stated "It really is her story". The story follows Imogen as she enrages her father, Cymbeline, by marrying against his will. When lies are then told to her husband, Posthumous, he decides she must die. As a result, she must re-imagine herself and fight for the life she deserves.


Film Scores Live

Year-long series with orchestras playing some of cinema's most unforgettable soundtracks.

Southbank Centre: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 02nd October - 25th June 2017


Starting in October 2016, Southbank Centre presents Film Scores Live, a year-long series that shines a light on some of cinema's most unforgettable soundtracks. From Oscar winners to modern cult classics, all the films are accompanied by live orchestral performances from the UK's leading orchestras in the spectacular setting of the Royal Festival Hall. The series begins with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices (2nd October 2016) and culminates in an Alfred Hitchcock Weekend (23rd to 25th June 2017) celebrating the life and work of the director of thrillers Vertigo and Psycho.


BFI London Film Festival

Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams and Lupita Nyong'o are among those stepping out on the red carpet.

BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, South Bank, London, SE1 8XT

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 4th to 15th October 2017


Nicole Kidman, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Lupita Nyong'o will all be in London this October for premieres of their films as London rolls out the red carpet for the BFI London Film Festival. Oscar hopefuls La La Land, The Birth of a Nation and Snowden are among the films to be screened during the 60th editition of the film festival. It opens with A United Kingdom, Amma Asante's film about the real-life love story between the King of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) and a London office worker, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. Letters From Baghdad, about the life and times of Gertrude Bell with Tilda Swinton featuring as her voice, will celebrate its UK premiere. But as well as the glitzy red carpet glamour and opening gala razzmatazz there are events for everyone, from informal post-screening Q&As to films for families and from guest appearances to workshops and masterclasses.


The Red Barn

'A View from the Bridge' actor Mark Strong returns to the stage in David Hare's new play.

National Theatre: Lyttelton Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station , Waterloo Station


Dates: 06th October - 19th November 2016


Olivier Award-winning actor Mark Strong returns to the stage following his highly acclaimed performance in A View from the Bridge stars in a new psychological thriller by David Hare. Set in 1960s Connecticut, two couples struggle home through the snow on their way back from a party but tragedy looms large in The Red Barn, based on the novel La Main by Georges Simenon. Robert Icke, associate director at the Almeida Theatre, directs and Hope Davis, who received a Tony Award nomination for her role in the original Broadway production of God of Carnage in 2009, makes her UK stage debut.  



A battle of wits between the court composer and his rowdy young prodigy.

National Theatre: Olivier Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 8XZ

Tube: Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 19th October - 31st December 2016


Lucian Msamati, who "cuts a swaggering figure in Game of Thrones as the pirate Salladhor Saan" (Guardian), sinks his teeth into the meaty role of scheming Salieri in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus. This acclaimed play had its premiere at the National Theatre more than 35 years ago, winning multiple Olivier and Tony Awards before being adapted into Milos Forman's Academy Award-winning film. Now Michael Longhurst directs this battle of wits between the court composer and his rowdy young prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


Hair by Sam McKnight

This exhibition celebrates the 40-year career of the renowned fashion hairstylist.

Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

Tube: Temple Station


Dates: 02nd November - 12th March 2017


Somerset House celebrates the work of master hairstylist Sam McKnight this autumn with major exhibition Hair by Sam McKnight. The first exhibition of its kind, it shines the spotlight on McKnight's 40-year career, highlighting how he has been instrumental in helping develop the images of Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Princess Diana and many more. Having worked on hundreds of fashion editorial shoots, advertising campaigns and catwalk shows, including over 100 British Vogue covers, McKnight is one of the first session stylists to have carved out a career solely within fashion. Looking at hair from a new perspective, this exhibition will contextualise its wider cultural significance and the role of a session stylist in fashion. Featuring photography, magazines, catwalk and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as full outfit looks and commissioned wigs and hairpieces, it will unveil the little-known creative process behind the craft of hair styling within fashion. Not only will it track Sam's career from the late 1970s to today, it will also show the changing styles through time, looking at how fashion shoots can influence contemporary hair styling.


EFG London Jazz Festival

Jazz greats Dhafer Youssef, Madeleine Peyroux and Norma Winstone come to the capital.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 11th - 20th November 2016


Great jazz musicians including Dhafer Youssef, Madeleine Peyroux and Norma Winstone come to the capital for the EFG London Jazz Festival returning in 2016 for a 24th time. Presenting 2,500 artists across 60 venues over the course of the 10-day festival, more than 250 shows take place in London's best concert halls and arts centres including the Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, Ronnie Scott's, 606 Club, The Forge, the Rich Mix Centre, Artsdepot, Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Halland KOKO.The organisers habitually attract some top performers including MOBO and Grammy award winners and blend them together with both newcomers and mainstays of the jazz scene - from stars of the American jazz tradition to key players of the European scene and free musical thinkers. Given the obsessive nature of ardent jazz fans together with the small venues (which include restaurants and bars), tickets often sell out fast, you have been warned.

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