Can Southbank Centre create London's finest neighbourhood?

Released on: May 07, 2013, 7:40 am
Industry: Travel

Thames-side arts hub showing just why everybody needs good neighbours this summer

-- /EPR NETWORK/ -- The Southbank Centre is being transformed into a blossoming neighbourhood filled with allotments, Thames-view gardens, fruit trees, a sandy beach, local pub, murals and flags this summer as the Festival of Neighbourhood comes to town. Running until Sunday 8th September, the summer-long bonanza aims to explore the concept of what makes a good neighbourhood and what it means to be a good neighbour.

From 1st June 2013, Southbank Centre will come alive with neighbourly activity, greenery and colour - with allotment projects and a shade garden opening up on the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall and more than 20 mature fruit trees lining Festival Terrace connecting Waterloo and the Thames. 60 wheelbarrows will be planted as mini gardens while herbs grown on the Riverside Terrace will be used by the chefs of Royal Festival Hall's café. Neighbourly pop-ups will include a fruit and veg stall, a traditional pie shop, a community-based café run by the caffeine cyclers at Look Mum No Hands!, and a series of weekly food markets.

Artists Bob and Roberta Smith will adorn the roof of Royal Festival Hall with a series of flags while the undercroft of the Queen Elizabeth Hall will become Beanotown - an imaginary neighbourhood representing the hometown of Dennis the Menace - in the 75th anniversary year of The Beano comic. Visitors taking in London's newest central neighbourhood this summer can make a weekend of it by booking their accommodation with, where there's a wide range of London hotels to suit all budgets.

Although the greenery will not be unveiled on the South Bank until the start of June, the Festival of Neighbourhood got underway over the bank holiday weekend with Chorus, a three-day singing celebration which kicked off with a Saturday lunchtime mass rendition of Jerusalem on the Southbank's Riverside Terrace.

Other cultural highlights of the festival include London Wonderground(until 29th September) and the Udderbelly (until 14th July), the UK premiere of lumberjacks-inspired circus show Timber! (10th-31st July), the world premiere of ZooNation's Wizards of Oz dance rejig, Groove On Down The Road (10th August - 1st September), Yoko Ono's Meltdown (14th June - 23rd June), London Literature Festival (20th May - 5th June) and the Hayward Gallery's Alternative Guide to the Universe (11th June - 26th August).

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, said: "Last summer Southbank Centre 'hosted the world' in order to celebrate the ideals of the Olympics and Paralympics. This year we focus on neighbourhoods; both our own - telling the story of Southbank Centre as a neighbourhood, a place of intimacy, friendship and community - and others farther afield." The Festival of Neighbourhood is one of many summer events featured on the's London events pages.


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