The ever changing Brutalist concrete of the Southbank Centre will be impressed upon by allotments, fruit trees, a local pub, large-scale murals, flags created by Bob & Roberta Smith and a complete Beanotown celebrating 75 years of the comic created by Hemingway Design.
Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre artistic director says, ‘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 essence of the programme according to Kelly is ‘what it means to live side-by-side’ and the festival will explore why and how we want to support community endeavours and a sense of belonging.
Hundreds of artists as well as organisations and community groups from across the UK and beyond will be brought together to try and get to the bottom of these ideas.
We’re particularly excited about Beanotown, an imaginary neighbourhood created by Beano publisher DC Thompson, which is working with Hemingway Design on a museum showcasing the comic’s archive and untold stories.
There will also be comic drawing sessions with Beano artists and a Prank You Very Much stage, for learning the art of pranking, and other delights including new game Table Dennis and The Beano Breville Bar – all of which we’re far too old for.
Grow Your Own Ideas, will see a series of flags by artist Bob & Roberta Smith appear on the roof of the Royal Festival Hall. They will be adorned with questions encouraging people to think about the meaning of neighbourhood.
Large-scale murals are set to appear on the facade of the Queen Elizabeth Hall by artists including ROA, Bread Collective, Grems and Phlegm.
RIBA Students and community cycling café Look Mum No Hands have designed a traditional pie shop for Hartland Pies, which will be brought to the Southbank, while the Riverside Queens Walk in front of Royal Festival Hall will once again become an urban beach.
The allotments meanwhile, or Queens Walk Window Gardens, have been designed by London-based landscape practice Wayward Plants who will be using reclaimed wood and windows to create them.
Volunteers and community groups will be involved in building the allotments and tending to plants, plus there are spadesful of other green-fingered events to get involved with, if you have those tendencies.
The Festival of Neighbourhood runs from 4 May – 8 September at The Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1