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southbank centre empty during London’s lockdown
Photograph: Sandor Szmutko / Shutterstock

The Southbank Centre is back with a new autumn season

London’s cultural hub returns, streaming a line-up of live events from Royal Festival Hall

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

John Cleese, Kae Tempest, Dawn French and the London Philharmonic Orchestra are just some of the 40-plus artists that will be gracing the Southbank Centre’s stage this autumn, as the iconic London institution restarts performances for the first time since closing in March.

There is, however, a big topical catch: with the Centre set to keep its doors closed during the social-distancing era, the shows in its comeback Inside Out season won’t be physically open to the general public, but will instead be streamed live from the Royal Festival Hall (and in some cases, further afield).

Nonetheless, it's a proper season, the backbone of which will be 30 orchestral concerts, ten of which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Reflecting the events of the summer, 16 of the 57 pieces performed will be by composers of colour.

Elsewhere there are seven literary events, featuring the aforementioned Cleese, French and Tempest; there’ll be live concerts from musicians including Tasmin Little, Víkingur Ólafsson, Roderick Williams, Alina Ibragimova and Pekka Kuusisto; and a focus on activism will see talks and events from – among others – Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and legendary US political activist Angela Davis, who’ll be broadcasting direct from Santa Cruz on September 17. A full programme will be released later this month.

Inside Out runs from Sep 17-30 Dec, with tickets to the literary events released to the public on Sep 7 via the Southbank Centre website.

In the meantime, see the Southbank Centre’s new outdoor exhibition dedicated to key workers

Here’s a list of the best art exhibitions you can physically see in London right now.

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