Kate Veranoudi

A Day at Southbank Center!

In an anthropological sense, cultures have a rhythm that might include holidays, festivals, work times and play times, etc. Your community has a similar rhythm that you need to get to know and understand. London is a place where you can find culture in every step you do. Southbank center is the most central cultural center to visit.

You have probably been to the Southbank Centre several times. You might even know it was the only permanent building from 1951’s Festival of Britain. But did you know about things like the singing lift and Mandela’s big head? Read on…

Walking at Southbank Centre you meet a complex of artistic venues in the center of London on the South Bank of the River Thames. You can feel free and alive participating in the experiences that Southbank center offers.

The structure of the building comprises three main performance venues, the Royal Festival Hall including the Saison Poetry Library, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room, together with the Hayward Gallery, and is Europe’s largest Centre for the arts.

When you enter Royal Festival Hall via the main entrance close to the river, head over to the far left corner and you’ll find the lift. Hop in and you’ll be serenaded.

Outside Royal Festival Hall, the bust of Nelson Mandela is unusual because it was unveiled in 1988 while Mandela was still alive — it’s normal for statues to be erected after the subject has died. Indeed, the man who created it, Ian Walters, actually died before Mandela himself did. Walters was also responsible for designing the Mandela statue in Parliament Square, although he died before it was completed.

Thinking about the visitors, it was exciting to be one of the millions who visit Southbank Center every year. The unexpected thing is that Southbank center is the biggest cultural center in London and stage over two thousand paid performances of music and dance each year, as well as over two thousand free events and an education programme in and around the performing arts venues.

Looking back at the history, Southbank Centre started with the Festival of Britain in 1951, Britain’s recovery from World War II by showcasing the best in science, technology, arts and industrial design.

When the Royal Festival Hall organ underwent a major restoration in 2011, yellow nicotine traces were found on the inside of the original pipes — a relic from when audiences were permitted to smoke in the hall. In ‘70s, the hall welcomed a meeting of women pipe smokers. ‘‘50 puffing ladies gathered for their first ever smoke-in’ almost sounds like a step towards equality… until the voiceover mentions the pipes are “to fit snuggly between those ruby red lips.’’

The last years, the Southbank Centre has become a source of vigorous debate, about the alteration of the spaces, however it remains outstanding.

Personally, I will describe Southbank centre, as a place where people can experience world-class art and culture that stimulates, inspires, educates and amazes!

More info: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/

 

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