News: The Southbank Centre celebrates...

Wednesday 30 May 2007

After two years of redevelopment and restoration, The Royal Festival Hall will have a grand reopening weekend of non stop performances – with plenty of opportunities to take part – from 8 to 10 June.

The Overture: 48 hours of free music, dance, spoken word, film and visual arts will be presented by a cool 18,000 performers from dusk on Friday – until dusk on Sunday.

Dance highlights include Lea Anderson’s recreation of her Cholmondeleys 1998 work,*Flag*, on a grand scale, for 230 performers from 13 national dance agencies around the country. (Sat 9 June3.30pm & 6pm, Royal Festival Hall building and surrounds)

South Bank Resident Dance Companies and Artists will be performing at regular intervals throughout the weekend: Stan Won’t Dance will be previewing excerpts from their high impact, vertigo defying outdoor performance event Off the Wall, and Maresa von Stockert’s Anomalous Creatures Crossing promises to c*reate intimate performance moments around the site. *Rafael Bonachela‘s virtuosic dancers take to the Ballroom Floor in his duet*_Soledat_* (Sat 7.30pm & 11pm)

And if you fancy a dance yourself, on Friday and Saturday evenings (11pm – 1am) collect headphones with a changing play list and take part in a Silent Disco on the Riverside Terrace.

The weekend kicks off at 7pm on the Friday evening with a 1950’s musical welcome led by a dance band and singers – and a dance cabaret featuring same sex couples from the United Kingdom and Europe (a first for this country) will perform Ballroom and Latin style – and all will be welcome to join in..

On Saturday at 5pm a World Class Latin American ballroom dance show featuring top TV stars*Matthew and Nicole Cutler* from the hit BBC Show – and at 5.30pm & 9pm South Asian Dance Agency Akademi presents_*Sapnay*_ – a mass performance of contemporary Kathak and Bharatanatyam inspired by the Royal Festival Hall Riverside Terrace.

On Sunday at 3pm & 4.30pm renowned*kathak* dancer*Gauri Sharma Tripathi* performs with top international dance artists and musicians .

At 6.30pm theres another invitation for dancers of all ages to join in as top ballroom dancers perform across Southbank Centre site

And that’s just the dance!

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the opportunity to attend a ‘Lucky Dip’ concert inside the spectacularly restored Royal Festival Hall auditorium, with at least 10,000*free tickets* available. An additional 14,000*free tickets* can be booked for named concerts inside the Hall.

There will musical events to suit all tastes – among the invited artists are*Billy Bragg,* who has written a new translation of Schiller’s text for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to be performed by the*Philharmonia Orchestra**, conducted by*Paul Daniel* with a choir of 2,000 singers from all over Britain; The*London Sinfonietta* in a mass performance of Terry Riley’s iconic 1960’s work, In C;The London Philharmonic Orchestra and*Scott Stroman* will recreate a big band sound in The Ballroom..

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, says: “The Overture reflects the huge commitment of our Resident Artists to the vision of a renewed Southbank Centre, still alive to the original creative spirit of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the genesis of the Royal Festival Hall itself. So before the Gala Opening Night and all the spectacular concerts which follow, The Overture will provide an historic moment that belongs to every single person in the country.”

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‘The Royal Festival Hall is like some giant postwar ocean liner berthed on London’s South Bank in the long shadows of the Palace of Westminster and the London Eye. ‘ Architecture reporter Jonathan Glancey gives his verdict in the Guardian, 30 May 07

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