The Southbank Centre today announces its 2024-2025 Performance and Dance programme, featuring an array of international work, contemporary collaborations and brand-new work from award-winning companies and artists from the UK, Ireland, Nigeria, Poland, Australia, Canada and beyond. Boldly international and with a mix of new commissions and UK premieres that reinforce the Southbank Centre’s status as a creative engine for arts and culture, this programme will introduce audiences to adventurous, influential and up-and-coming artists for unforgettable experiences.
Aaron Wright, Head of Performance & Dance at the Southbank Centre, says:“Over the coming year some extraordinary companies and artists from across the world will grace the stages of the Southbank Centre as part of this major Performance & Dance programme. We’re continuing our love affair with dance, presenting highly physical and visually unique performances that will appeal to both new and committed dance audiences alike. Following our groundbreaking 2023 season, headlined by the Marina Abramović Institute Takeover of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, we continue to present daring works that demonstrate theatre to be a vital, contemporary artform and are certain to get people talking.”
Mark Ball, Artistic Director at the Southbank Centre, says: “The Southbank Centre has always been an engine of creativity – this international programme brings pioneering artists to London, often for the first time. It’s a testament to the scale of our ambition in performance and dance as we continue to ensure the Southbank Centre is providing audiences with a truly diverse offering.”
Building on the Southbank Centre’s vibrant history as a place for dance across its stages and public spaces, the season opens with new work from Hofesh Shechter: From England with Love. Performed by Shechter II From England with Love is a paean to the multi-layered complexity that is England. Through Shechter’s choreography, the dancers will evoke the paradox at the heart of this open, generous and soul-searching land, conflicted by its dark history and powerful attachment to deep-rooted traditions. They draw us into their search for identity and self-knowledge as they grapple with this complex system of values. Performed to an original score composed by Shechter, this new piece will bring together the beauty, wit and invention of the best of English classical composers, presented in a clash with raging rock alongside echoes of choral song and electronics in an avant-garde cacophony.
Presented in partnership with Dance Consortium, Nigeria’s much celebrated The QDance Company led by choreographer Qudus Onikeku makes its debut on the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage with Re:INCARNATION. An ode to the richness of Nigerian culture, this dance, music, fashion and visual art fusion mixes ancient Yoruba philosophy mixed with Nigerian youth culture. Ten young dancers and two musicians perform the cycle of life with explosive energy, marked by the creative urban energy of the Nigerian city of Lagos.
The UK Premiere of 4/4by Australian dance company Chunky Move sees eight dancers perform a display of mesmerising movement in Antony Hamilton’s blueprint for choreographic precision and physical endurance. The diversity in the dancers’ artistic backgrounds in krump, freestyle hip-hop and house, coupled with Hamilton’s striking craftsmanship and a minimal scenography, highlights a uniquely Australian performance.
For one weekend only in May, the Southbank Centre presents two new performance works from South East Asia. Dragon Ladies Don’t Weep is a sonic portrait of new music icon Margaret Leng Tan – an evocative exploration of memory, time, control and loss. Haribo Kimchi takes audiences on a journey through the history of South Korea through the familiar, startling and sacred language of food.
Canada’s b-boy Crazy Smooth presents In My Body, a dynamic exploration of the effects of ageing on the street dancer’s entire being – body, mind and spirit. Crazy Smooth has assembled an intergenerational all-star cast of five men and four women comprised of Canada’s top street dancers, who execute the physically demanding and visually impressive choreography alongside projections and spoken word. The performance features an original soundtrack by DJ Shash’U and is written by Alejandro Rodriguez.
In January 2025, Polish theatre artist Łukasz Twarkowskibrings The Employees, a production of STUDIO teatrgaleria (Warsaw), to the UK for the first time, in a ground-breaking and innovative multidisciplinary play that explores the relationship between humans and robots, using images and sound the piece looks at ideas of human consciousness and desires. Set millions of kilometres away from Earth and in a distant future, it brings up many problems of contemporary reality – the crisis of relationships between humans and nature in the face of an increasingly technology-driven society. The script of the play by Joanna Bednarczyk is based on the International Booker Prize-nominated novel The Employeesby Danish author Olga Ravn.
Returning to present two exciting new works in partnership with the Southbank Centre, London International Festival of Theatre(LIFT) returns in June with William Shakespeare’s As You Like It: A Radical Retelling by cultural provocateur Cliff Cardinal and L’Homme rarechoreographed by Nadia Beugré. Exulting in dark humour, difficult subject matter, and raw emotion As You Like It: A Radical Retellingexplores the double meaning that teasingly suggests this is a play to please all tastes. In Nadia Beugré’s L’Homme rare, the audience takes the role of voyeur as this new dance work interrogates perceptions of gender and objectification. Drawing inspiration from a series of old photographs of enslaved people for sale in markets on the Ivory Coast, L’Homme rare also becomes a reflection on the history of Europeans’ gaze on black bodies and its persistence today.
Multi-award-winning, hugely influential and globally renowned, Sheffield-based theatre company Forced Entertainmentcelebrates its 40th year with a special London-wide programme of work in partnership with the Southbank Centre, Battersea Arts Centre and The Place. In October, they will bring three shows to the Southbank Centre, the UK premiere of their new mainstage ensemble work Signal to Noise, the first-ever performance of a new collaboration between Forced Entertainment’s Artistic Director Tim Etchells & acclaimed percussionist Tony Buck (The Necks): Go On Like This, and the revival of their classic durational work, 12am: Awake and Looking Down.
New work Signal to Noise is an invitation to reflect on our shared contemporary experience, developed through the group’s rigorous and intuitive collaborative process as six performers navigate a world of constraints, traps, behavioural habits and repeating cycles. Tim Etchells & Tony Buck: Go On Like This is a performance encounter between artist and writer Tim Etchells and percussionist Tony Buck, founder-member of Australian trio The Necks. The two artists share a fascination with the possibilities of both free improvisation and intensive repetition, bringing them together for an evening of loops and cacophonies. 12am: Awake and Looking Down is a piece with five silent performers using simple dress-up, inhabiting a seemingly endless parade of characters in a transfixing performance that questions what’s in a name.A physical and highly visual performance that starts from a vast and constantly growing catalogue of names – from ‘Frank (Drunk)’ to ‘The Hypnotised Girl’, via ‘Elvis Presley (the Dead Singer)’ and ‘A Nine Year-Old Shepherd Boy’, the piece plays on exhaustion and endurance to create a unique event that is comic, mesmeric and moving.
Acclaimed New York City provocateur Adrienne Truscott and the internationally renowned Brokentalkers from Dublin bring their collaboration Masterclass to London. Speaking truth to power, Masterclass is a hilarious examination of gender and power, using the arts world as a metaphor under the guise of a pompous TV talk show. This much anticipated London run follows an award-winning international tour.
The 2024 season includes a previously announced show. From 1-3 March, (LA)HORDEand Ballet national de Marseille debut their first major presentation in London, as they present the UK premiere of Roommates, an evening which features six pieces made for the company from choreographers including Lucinda Childs, Peeping Tom and LA(HORDE) themselves. This show is already on sale.
Main image: Re:Incarnation. Photo by Herve Veronese
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