Southbank Centre's Winter Festival 2013

Southbank Centre Belvedere Road, London
Southbank Centre's Winter Festival 2013 image
Event has ended
This event ended on Friday 10th of January 2014

FREE (charges apply to certain ticketed events)

Venue Information

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX

Nearest Stations

Waterloo 0.17 miles


Please note: as you will no doubt be aware COVID-19 is leading to many events being cancelled or postponed. Please check with the organisers of any event listed here to confirm it is going ahead as planned.


•Celebrity reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with Griff Rhys Jones as Dickens and Bill Paterson as Scrooge
•Shows for all ages, including a world of paper and contraptions in circus performance Folds
•Installations and events celebrating the joy and importance of giving
•London’s biggest offering of Christmas markets
•NatWest sponsors The Winter Festival for the first time

It is often said that Charles Dickens invented the Christmas we know today. He frequently imagined the vast population of London making its way home in the winter snow, past chestnut roasters, carol singers and gleaming shop windows ready to enjoy steaming bowls of punch, enormous plum puddings and glorious Christmas dinners. He also believed that no one should be excluded from the festivities and that Christmas should be a time for charity and goodwill.

This winter, Southbank Centre invokes the spirit of Charles Dickens to welcome visitors to The Winter Festival with NatWest, which opens on Friday 15 November. The Festival will transform the 21-acre site into a magical landscape with bicycle-powered Christmas tree snow globes, art installations, bustling markets and twinkling canopies of lights. The Festival programme is packed with enthusiasm, generosity and entertainment for all ages – from world class theatrical performances and festive concerts, to free participatory dance events and activities that explore the joy of giving.

Programme highlights include (full listings below):

A Christmas Carol:
Under the dimmed lights of Queen Elizabeth Hall, we celebrate the 170th birthday of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a dramatised reading of the legendary story. The actors bringing to life the unforgettable characters are: Griff Rhys Jones as Charles Dickens and Bill Paterson as Scrooge, as well as Freddie Fox, Tim Pigott-Smith, Ian McNeice, Phil Daniels, Janine Duvitski, Bryony Hannah and Amy Morgan. The evening will begin with pre-show Christmas music, mulled wine and mince pies (15 Dec) Age recommendation: 10+

The Gift of Giving:
Be inspired to give this Christmas with an installation of donated coats, each with a letter to the person who receives the coat from the donor; a pop-up charity shop; knitting workshops to create blankets for vulnerable older people; up-cycling workshops; and the NatWest Gift Factory (12 Dec – 6 Jan)
Christmas Mini Midnight Run – join Inua Ellams for an exploration of charity and goodwill in a guided walk of our urban landscape (6 Dec)

Acrobat-musicians tumble through a set made entirely of paper and cardboard in the London premiere of this colourful circus show (17 – 31 Dec)

Christmas Markets:
a choice of four markets: Southbank Centre Christmas Market (15 Nov – 24 Dec); Designers/Makers Market (16 – 22 Dec); The Chocolate Festival (13 – 15 Dec) and the Real Food Christmas Market (19 – 22 Dec)

A Vintage New Year’s Eve Party:
Co-curated with Wayne Hemingway and HemingwayDesign, the Royal Festival Hall is transformed into a hotspot of glamour throughout the decades with the most exclusive views of the Thames fireworks following last year’s sell-out (31 Jan)

Free Festive Events:
From Argentinian Tango (15 Dec) and Boxing Day Swing dancing (24 Dec), to Voicelab’s Winter Big Sing (22 Dec) and our annual Gamelan Christmas Chimes (19 Dec), there are free events throughout the Festival, including daily performances by London choirs (9 – 23 Dec) Comedy from Fascinating Aida: Charm Offensive (22 Dec – 10 Jan) and Greg Davies: The Back of My Mum’s Head (16 – 19 Dec)

Southbank Centre Resident London Philharmonic Orchestra concludes the year-long The Rest is Noise Festival with a performance of John Adam’s El Niño (Nativity Oratorio), with the London Philharmonic Choir; Vladimir Jurowski, Kate Royal, Kelley O’Connor, Matthew Rose, Daniel Bubeck, Steven Richards and Mark Grey (14 December)

Slava’s Snowshow:
Returning for an unprecedented third season (17 Dec – 6 Jan)

Sinead O’Connor’s Christmas Show:
The soulful, iconoclastic performer returns to Southbank Centre following a sell-out show in 2012 for a special Christmas performance (10 Dec)

The magical monochrome show for young children returns following a sell-out run in 2011 (18 Dec – 4 Jan)

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: “Charles Dickens described the festive season in A Christmas Carol as ‘a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys’. His words have been the source and inspiration for our approach to this year’s Winter Festival. Dickens believed, as we do, that no one should be excluded from the festivities, and our programme this season offers something for everyone to enjoy, share and reflect upon. I am delighted that NatWest is generously supporting our Festival and very much look forward to working with them.”

Phil Northey, NatWest Regional Managing Director, London, said: '"We are delighted to be partnering with Southbank Centre and its Winter Festival for the first time this year. Christmas is a special time of year and there is nowhere in London more magical than the South Bank during the festive season. We're delighted to be able to thank our customers in London with unique experiences at the event and exclusive benefits. Come and join us at Southbank Centre for some family friendly fun, where we will be reminding Londoners of the joy of giving as well as receiving at Christmas. See you all there for some festive fun."


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