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Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL


See www.southbankcentre.co.uk for all the details.


Events include:


Arts:
Nordic Matters

2017 - all year.

For the first time, Southbank Centre will dedicate an entire year to the arts and culture of one region of the world. Audiences are invited to immerse themselves in all things Nordic, from much-loved favourites such as the Moomins, LEGO®, hygge, saunas and gastronomic treats and techniques such as cinnamon buns, smoking, pickling and curing, to the most inspiring and intriguing of Nordic art, mythology, literature and music.The programme explores the Nordics’ reputation as world-leaders in their approach to play, children & young people, gender equality and sustainability and asks what we in the UK might learn from our Northern neighbours.

 

Outi Pieski: Fallen Shawls

Part of Nordic Matters

on display throughout 2017

Sami artist Outi Pieski transforms the Royal Festival Hall foyers with her year-long installation, Falling Shawls which goes on show from the opening weekend of Nordic Matters. Made by traditional Sami shawl-making techniques, the installation combines hundreds of fringe elements to create a coloured three-dimensional drawing. Sami people are the indigenous people of Scandinavia, and in their nomadic culture the cultural significance of symbols has endured; the traditional handicraft duodji still has significant and powerful meaning today. Falling Shawls is inspired by the gathering of Sami people, in what can be seen as a nomadic monument to their common struggle with colonial history. More information here.

 

Autumn


Darbar Festival

September 2017

Acclaimed as the biggest and finest Indian classical music festival outside of south Asia, Darbar Festival returns to Southbank Centre for its twelfth edition. Featuring the world’s top Indian classical musicians, it is the only festival in the world to unite artists from both Hindustani and Carnatic traditions.More information here.

 

Nordic Music Days

Part of Nordic Matters
Wednesday 28th September - Saturday 1st October

Leading contemporary music festival Nordic Music Days takes place in the UK for the first time. One of the world’s oldest music festivals, founded in 1888, Nordic Music Days showcases pioneering performances by Nordic composers performed by leading ensembles and soloists from the Nordic region. More information here.

 

London Literature Festival and Poetry International

Part of Nordic Matters
Friday 13th October - Sunday 29th October

Southbank Centre’s longest-running festival Poetry International marks its 50th anniversary by joining with London Literature Festival for the first time in October 2017. The biennial festival, founded in 1967 by Ted Hughes, forms the opening weekend of 2017 London Literature Festival, which is an established highlight in the literary calendar having celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. These combined festivals feature a Nordic focus in line with Southbank Centre’s year-long exploration of Nordic culture, Nordic Matters. Nordic elements include a specially-commissioned Nordic Anthology and Wall of Dreams, a large-scale projection of testimonies and dreams onto the Royal Festival Hall, in collaboration with award-winning Danish artist Morten Søndergaard.

 

Being a Man

Friday 24th - Sunday 26th November 2017

BAM- Being A Man returns for its fourth year exploring the challenges and pressures of masculine identity in the 21st century. Taking a frank, thoughtful and often humorous look at the challenges, myths and pleasures around being born a male in today’s society. More information here.

 

 

 

Autumn and Winter 2017
Performance, dance and comedy programme
 
Showcasing work from celebrated international and UK artists from stunning snow shows, augmented reality and trolls to West-End numbers and global surveillance theatre.

 

Listings:

My Dad Wrote a Porno: Live
Sunday 1 October, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £22.50
Following a sell out Royal Festival Hall show in July, the team behind the smash hit podcast My Dad Wrote A Porno return to Southbank Centre. Jamie Morton, alongside James Cooper and Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine, read the ‘lost chapter’ from his dad’s notoriously brilliant Belinda Blinked series.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/120309-my-dad-wrote-porno-live-2017-2017

Independence Gala
Wednesday 4 October, 8.00pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £15-45
The festival gala will be a rich and eclectic coming together of India and UK through dance and music as part of the India@UK 2017 Year of Culture. Encompassing a wide range of styles and genres, focusing on collaboration, the gala is headlined by soulful renditions from Junun, an album of Sufi qawwals in Urdu and Hebrew, performed by the composers themselves: acclaimed Israeli composer-musician Shye Ben Tzur, Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood, and Indian band Rajasthan Express. The evening encompasses a wide range of styles and genres, focusing on collaboration, including rhythms of regional Indian dance forms and their dancers, from the Gotipua – an ancient and traditional tribute to Lord Krishna – to the timeless and intricate movements of the Bharatnatyam by leading exponents, London-based Kuchipudi dancer Arunima Kumar, British-Indian composer and virtuoso sarod player Soumik Datta, and many other acclaimed performers from both countries. British opera soprano Patricia Rozario also regales with her renditions, as music conductor Sharat Chandra Srivastava orchestrates a foot-stomping finale.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/119446-independence-gala-2017

Akshayambara
Thursday 5 – Friday 6 October, 7:45pm, Blue Room, Level 1, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Age 12+, £15
Akshayambara is an experimental play that uses modern theatrical tools and the dance drama form of Yakshagana to create a contemporary narrative that raises questions on female representation and male Ownership. Reversing the roles in the popular Yakshagana plot of Draupadi Vastrapaharana, a male artist plays the virtuous female, Draupadi, while a woman plays the male ‘Pradhana Purushavesha’ of the Kauravas, driven by lust and power. As they move from cauki (green room) to stage, the boundaries of performance, reality and gender are blurred. Exploring the conflicts around tradition, gender, power and morality, the play confronts female representation in the male-dominated practice of Yakshagana: a traditional theatre form that has been performed by men in India for the past 800 years. Akshayambara was created through personal collisions that writer and director Sharanya Ramprakash experienced as a woman in a male-dominated art form.
Presented by Dramanon.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/120613-akshayambara-2017

Little Soldier Zhang Ga
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 12pm, 3:30pm, The Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, Free, Age 6+
An uplifting tale of one boy’s solidarity and spirit in the face of conflict from the puppetry director of War Horse China, Liu Xiaoyi. Set in northern China during World War II and co-written by Guo Yan, Chinese director of Dragon (Edinburgh International Festival 2015), Little Soldier Zhang Ga is a heartwarming story inventively told using both puppets and physical theatre. Presented by Jingying Group with the support of Performance Infinity.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/124011-little-soldier-zhang-ga-2017 

Li-E Chen: Proposition For Making A Silent Opera At An Invisible Museum
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 1pm, Level 3 Function Room, Level 3, Blue Side, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Artist Li-E Chen invites audiences to join her experiment in making new opera and to become part of the process in developing an opera’s aesthetic.This event focuses on the development of an opera’s draft libretto, which is written in the form of propositions for thinking and action. One of four participatory-conversation experiments that Li-E Chen is conducting for her research and development of a silent opera project on the life and art of Tehching Hsieh.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/124010-li-e-chen-proposition-making-silent-opera-invisible-museum-2017 

Florence To: Cyema
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 3.30pm, 5pm, 6.30pm, Blue Room, Level 1, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £5
Created by Berlin based designer turned artist Florence To, Cyema is an immersive audio visual performance. Featuring an instrument constructed of reconstructed iron gongs, originally discovered in old clocks that produce a reverse-chord when struck, this progressive performance mixes the acoustics of this instrument, together with a synced visual element, exploring the emotional triggers within vibrations and how the harmonies and overtones created work within the space.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/123996-florence-cyema-2017 

SINK
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 4pm, Level 5 Function Room, Green side, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £10
Freedom, identity and history are questioned in SINK, a play based on the true story of Chinese writer Lao She. An author who was given the title of People’s Artist early in his career, Lao was later deemed a public enemy during the Cultural Revolution. In this performance, audiences are invited to watch as the characters grapple with their sense of place and role in contemporary society, and struggle to make sense of the changes happening around them. The production comes to London straight from a successful Edinburgh Fringe run, and is performed in Mandarin Chinese with English surtitles. Presented by Xinxi Du Studio, a director-led theatre company, and produced by Performance Infinity.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/123994-sink-2017 

Dance Double Bill: Julia Cheng and Si Rawlinson
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 5pm, The Clore Ballroom, Level 2, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Free
Julia Cheng and Si Rawlinson perform contemporary dance accompanied by live music in this dance double bill.
Julia Cheng’s Orlando Warrior is a solo contemporary dance piece exploring the myth of a modern Mu-Lan. Externalising her inner battles through wu-shu martial arts and waacking, this piece examines displacement and hybrid identity, masking a yang (male) fighter behind a yin (female) form, travelling through time via physical paintings of a Warrior Poet in motion. Orlando Warrior is presented by Chinese Arts Space as part of Project New Sun: Sinosythesis (Part 1). The creation of this work has been supported by Southbank Centre.
Si Rawlinson’s Ink draws inspiration from the imagery of cinematographer Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) and the social commentary of contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei. Ink was developed with Breakin' Convention.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/124005-dance-double-bill-julia-cheng-and-si-rawlinson-2017 

Gongs, Songs, & Hong Kong Thongss
Part of China Changing Festival
Saturday 7 October, 8.30pm, Blue Room, Level 1, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £10
Created and performed by Chris Chan, Gongs, Songs & Hong Kong Thongs is a 45-minute musical comedy inspired by American stand-up and Chinese cross-talk. Packed with comic banter and wicked songs about the weird and wonderful quirks, attitudes and faux pas found in modern day Britain and China, and with the help of digital technology – Gongs, Songs & Hong Kong Thongs incorporates a man performing a duet with himself.
With tongue firmly in cheek, audiences can hear Chan wax on (and wax off) lyrically about Asian stereotyping in a show that’s part-culture guide, part biography, part parody.Presented by Chinese Arts Space as part of Project New Sun: Sinosythesis (Part 2). The creation of this work has been supported by Southbank Centre
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/123998-gongs-songs-hong-kong-thongs-2017 

Animorph: Aurora
Part of London Literature Festival
Friday 20 October – Sunday 22 October, Balcony Terrace, Level 5 at Southbank centre’s Royal Festival Hall, from 5pm, Free but ticketed
The poetic sensation of the Northern Lights is brought to London with Aurora, an installation using cutting-edge immersive technology. Taking place on the upper floors of Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, with a view of the Thames and iconic London skyline, Aurora allows participants to look out on the landscape through an augmented reality headset, giving them the ability to create Aurora-like shapes in the night sky with the gestures of their hands.During the experience, participants will hear poetry about the Aurora (another name for the Northern Lights) written by Sigbjørn Skåden, a contemporary writer from Northern Scandinavia's Sami people.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/124867-aurora-2017

The Onion and Other Stranger Tales
Part of London Literature Festival
Saturday 21 October, 11am, 2pm & 6pm, Sunley Pavilion, Level 3, Green side, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Age 12+, £5
Created by theatre maker Stella Barnes, in collaboration with a small team of artists and members of the public in West Yorkshire and London, The Onion and Other Stranger Tales is an intimate storytelling experience inviting audiences to take a seat, eat cake, drink tea and feast on the stories of strangers. Stella met with friends, family and people she did not know, who shared extraordinary stories about their encounters with strangers. Through conversation, they shaped and wrote their stories, becoming authors of their own life experience. The Onion and Other Stranger Tales is part of Stella’s ongoing work with the notion of hospitality and how it relates to arts practice and attitudes to migration. The word ‘hospitality’ has its roots in the word ‘host’, which has two origins: the Latin for ‘stranger’ or ‘enemy’, and conversely, ‘guest’. This piece explores complex and sometimes conflicting perceptions, and offers audiences an experience of art as an act of hospitality..
This project was developed in partnership with Counterpoints Arts, Southbank Centre and idle women, and is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/123849-onion-and-other-stranger-tales-2017

Nelson Mandela: The Presidential Years
Part of London Literature Festival
Sunday 22 October, 7.30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £20-45
A cast including author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE, Adjoa Andoh (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Brotherhood) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw MBE (Black Mirror, Beauty and the Beast) bring to life reflections of Nelson Mandela on his time in power in a special live reading to his long awaited sequel to Long Walk to Freedom. Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years draws heavily on the second volume of memoirs that Mandela began writing in the last days of his presidency (but was unable to finish) and tells the story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule. Following the reading, a panel featuring Mandela’s co-author, South African novelist Mandla Langa, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation Sello Hatang and chaired by Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow will discuss Mandela’s legacy in a troubled world.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/121157-nelson-mandela-presidential-years-2017

Tröll
Part of London Literature Festival and Nordic Matterss
Wednesday 25 – Friday 27 October, 11 & 2pm, Blue Room Foyer, Level 1, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £7.50 – £15
Tröll reimagines Iceland’s folk tales and settlement stories through the eyes of a young girl and her unusual friend from the mountains. A little bit folk tale, a little bit ghost story, all magic: Tröll is an unmissable experience for the whole family. Produced and created by Iceland’s Handbendi Brúðuleikhús.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/123469-troll-2017

A Machine they're Secretly Building
Thursday 9 – Saturday 11 November, 2:00pm (Sat) & 7:30pm, Blue Room, Level 1, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Ages 14+, £12
Proto-type Theater peer into the machine of surveillance in this all-encompassing performance. A Machine they’re Secretly Building charts a course from the Top Secret secrets of WWI intelligence through to 9/11, the erosion of privacy, Edward Snowden and the terror of a future that might already be upon the world. From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people – reporters, senators, freedom fighters, or just concerned citizens – think about what it is to speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil. Proto-type have combined original text and classified intelligence documents with film from digital artist Adam York Gregory, and music and sound design by Paul J Rogers, to vent their frustration at the insidious machine of surveillance.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/121579-machine-theyre-secretly-building-2017

Simon Amstell in conversation
Part of BAM - Being A Man festival
Saturday 25 November, 5pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Part of Wristband
Award-winning comedian Simon Amstell muses on modern masculinity with his hilarious new book Help. Simon Amstell talks about his hilarious and heartbreaking new book Help, contemporary masculinity and his compulsion to reveal his entire self on stage. Award winning comedian, former host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and co-writer and star of the sitcom Grandma's House, Simon Amstell did his first stand-up gig at the age of thirteen. His parents had just divorced and puberty was confusing. Trying to be funny solved everything. And telling the truth on stage was a way to stop it from hurting. Now Simon Amstell speaks about the experiences that have made him the man he is, from a growing up as a young gay person in Essex to an Ayahuasca-led epiphany in the Amazon rainforest. Beloved for his honesty and hilarity on stage Amstell reflects on his experiences of loneliness, anxiety, depression and how his ideas of what being a man means have changed.

Slava’s Snowshow
Part of Wintertime
Monday 18 December 2017 – Thursday 4 January 2018, 2:30pm & 7:30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Ages 8+, £20- £105
The multi-award-winning international sensation is back due to popular demand for Christmas 2017, having delighted audiences in over 80 cities globally including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. A combination of theatrical clowning and stunning visual spectacle, Slava’s Snowshow is performed by a world-renowned company of clowns led by Slava Polunin, Artistic Director of the St Petersburg Circus.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/119777-slavas-snowshow-201718

Night Light
Part of Wintertime and Nordic Matters
Tuesday 19 December – Sunday 31 December, 11am & 2pm, Blue Room Foyer, Level 1 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Ages 3-6, £14 Adult, £7 Child (On sale end of September)
Danish children’s theatre company Teater Refleksion and UK Theatre artist Andy Manley present Night Light, a magical and poetic journey through the dark and beautiful night for young children and their families.
The blackbird sings to welcome the night. The day slows and soon all are asleep. All except one who cannot sleep. A child, curious to know who looks after the night. Teater Refleksion and Andy Manley are internationally regarded for their poignant and poetic shows for the very young. Night Light is co-produced with Imaginate and Red Bridge, commissioned through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and supported by The Danish Arts Foundation and the Municipality of Aarhus.

Ramin Karimloo back from Broadway
Saturday 13 January 2018, 7:30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £20 - £50
Broadway and West End star Ramin Karimloo returns to the London stage with his new solo show. An Olivier and Tony award nominee, Ramin is best known for playing leading roles in The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables in the West End. He is currently back on Broadway starring in the new musical Anastasia, which opens March 2017. This Royal Festival Hall solo show sees Ramin return with his band, complete with a string quartet and brass section. The evening is packed full of musical theatre hits including ‘Bring Him Home’, ‘Music of the Night’, ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables’, ‘Old Man River’ as well as original material penned by Ramin himself.
https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/120474-ramin-karimloo-back-broadway-2018

 


 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here
Performance Schedule:
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Varies by event, see www.rfh.org.uk for details.
 

Ticket Prices:

Varies by event, see www.rfh.org.uk for details.
 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Buying Tickets Online:

Other Box Office Information

Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.
Venue Box Office:
www.rfh.org.uk. Their own site provide the service for this venue.
A brilliant box office system lets you select the actual seat you require AND see the view from it before you confirm! If only all systems were like that, thinks the monkey...before realising it would become redundant..

 

Booking fees per ticket for online bookings:
A £1.75 per booking, not per seat, fee is charged.

Other Online Choices (with S.T.A.R. genuine ticket agencies):

Independent S.T.A.R. ticket agencies may also offer an alternative choice of seats.


 

Box Office Information:
Tickets offered differ between outlets. Outlets also may offer different seats via their phone and online systems. Offers may be available click here.
Venue Box Office:
Telephone: 0844 847 9911
Operated by the venue itself.

Booking fees per ticket for telephone bookings:
By Telephone: A fee of £2.75 per booking is added to the total cost of tickets for telephone bookings. Cheaper to book online.

For personal callers or by post: South Bank Centre Ticket Office, London, SE1 8XX
No booking fee for personal callers.

 

Special Access Needs Customers:
Wheelchair users and other registered disabled theatregoers can book their seats and enquire about concessionary prices that may be available to them on a dedicated phone line. See Notes.

www.rfh.org.uk is the official theatre website.

 

 
 
Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Venue Seat Opinions:
Please remember that cheaper seats often do not offer the same view / location quality as top price ones, and that ticket prices are designed to reflect this difference.

NOTE: This advice is based on "First Impressions" and readers are asked to contribute their own opinions in order to build up a comprehensive picture - contact us. Extra detail will be added over the next few months after events have taken place and views assessed.

www.ehouse.co.uk/virtualtours/ has a "virtual tour" of the auditorium.
 

 

Seating Plan Diagram

Choir

Front Stalls Rear Stalls Side Stalls Balcony Boxes Notes
CHOIR 
Layout:
Behind and above the stage, facing the rest of the auditorium.

These are sold for performances where the whole stage is not required - they can be removed when it is.

Seats in the centre block face the rest of the auditorium, those in the side blocks just face the stage from either side of the platform performing area.

Seating in all blocks is tiered.

All choir seating is above the platform area at the same level as the side stalls.

Legroom:
Ad
equate for somebody of around 5ft 8 or so, but may be feeling tight for the taller. D11 and 12; 29 and 30, 55 and 56 and B54 all have nothing in front of them except aisles. The double seat spaces might be particularly suited to the larger person if they buy both tickets, feels the monkey.

Choosing Seats in General:
Seats in the centre blocks lose the view nearest part of the stage directly in front and below them. Seats in the side blocks lose the same - around 5% of the view, the monkey estimates, slightly more as you move towards the seats furthest from the front of the platform.

A12 and 55, B9 and 55, C10 and 57, D12 and 55 have a safety bar in view too, not a problem - but purists might want to know.
A wheelchair can be accommodated in row B, with a pretty decent view of the stage.

Theatremonkey chooses the side blocks of the choir first for feeling just that bit less exposed to public gaze! All seats are pretty good value, though, as they are normally very well priced.

General Hazard Notes:
Seating is on benches without arm-rests.

Seat parts of each bench are padded, but the backrests are simple wood, sloped backwards at about a slight angle. May not be suitable for some with certain back conditions, the monkey felt.

Action happening directly in front and below seats will be missed.

Aisle end seats have safety rails in front.

Some may feel quite “exposed” sitting facing the rest of the audience.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
“Choir: The choir is often an excellent place to sit (after all, how many people can actually tell if their stereo speakers are reversed?) but less so for piano concertos because the lid deflects the sound away from you. (This comment was made pre-refurbishment, but little has changed, editor).

 

FRONT STALLS

Layout:
The Stalls is divided into three sections by aisles.

There is a stepped rake of around four inches between all rows except A and B.

Legroom:
Good in all seats for those up to around 6ft or so.

Row A has the most legroom, with nothing in front of it except the platform.

Choosing Seats in General:
Seats feel close to the stage.

For orchestral events, the conductor's podium is in front of central seats in row A - well, what do you expect at a concert!
For some more visual events the platform can be raised to improve sightlines.

Worth skipping if the concert is being amplified with speakers on the stage are A 5, 6, 38 and 39. The same goes for the same numbered seats in row B for this reason. These seats in rows A and B also happen to be closest to the exit doors.

Row B is on the same level as row A, making it worth skipping when priced the same, in the monkey view.

Those gripes over, choose seats 17 to 27 first, then the side section seats nearest the middle aisle to ensure best value and a central view.

The monkey would pick centre row G then F first, then G or F 12 to 16 or 28 to 32, then either E or D or even the rest of G and F then C or A depending on legroom required.

Alternatively, move up a price band to take from H to M centre then sides. Pretty much every seat has a good to excellent view, though - the monkey merely suggests things here as thoughts to consider.

Be aware of a sound desk behind centre row P.

General Hazard Notes:
Conductors podium and speakers in view from row A and B seats.

Rows R to T seats 17 to 27 can be removed for a sound desk - worth avoiding P 17 to 27 if this happens, feels the monkey.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
“E34: "Slava's Snowshow" (December 2013). Sat in this seat for today's performance of Slava's Snow Show (great show!). Legroom excellent (I'm 5'6") and width of seat also generous. Comfortable seat but limited support for lower back.  Sightlines were brilliant: the rake was steep enough to ensure that the heads in the row in front did not get in the way, and it was also easy to see between the heads. Could see 7/8ths of the main stage and into the wings on the opposite side from where I was sitting. Would happily sit here again."

"G26 and 27: "The Wizard of Oz" (July 2008). We sat in Row G seats 26 and 27 of the front stalls. It was actually the 4th row of seats and the sight lines were excellent as you are level with the stage. The leg room was good also. If I was buying tickets in the front stalls I would go for row G and back as before that you have to look up very slightly."

 

SIDE STALLS
Formerly known as the "Annex."

Layout:
Four long rows to the side and slightly above the front stalls, extending from row T to the start of the choir area a few metres beyond the edge of the platform.

Rows W to Y are tiered from a level floor at the height of rear stalls row AA.

Row Z is behind the other three rows, slightly elevated and requiring stairs to access it from row AA level.

Row W seats 1 to 4 and 30 to 33 are single seats placed one behind the other, facing the stage at an angle.

Row W seats 5 to 17 and 34 to 46 and row X 11 to 17 and 40 to 46 are all angled to face the stage, with X on a raised plinth.

Row Y 19 to 27 and 47 to 56 is raised above row X, but seats in this row, as well as the same numbered seating in W and X, face the platform sideways on with no angle to them.

Legroom:
Just adequate in most seats for all but the tallest over 5ft 10 or so. Row Z has considerably less - 5ft 6 maximum.

In row W seats 19 to 27 and 47 to 56 and Z 16 to 27 and 45 to 56, architecture means that legroom diminishes as you get further along the row towards the stage.

The final seats in row W have significantly less legroom - probably uncomfortable for those above 5ft 7 or so in the monkey view.
 

Choosing Seats in General:
This section of seating lose around a tenth of the view of the platform area nearest to them due to the angle of the seating and safety rails.

For symphonic concerts of course any loss of view is not important to most, but for more visual events the monkey would probably skip the seats closest to the stage.

It would always take seats furthest from the stage first, as they have the best viewing angle.

Single seats W seats 1 to 4 and 30 to 33 are a decent pick if available, simply for peace as much as view.

Wheelchair spaces can replace W seats 1 to 4 and 30 to 33. These provide an OK view, but chair users should take the places in rear stalls row AA first, in the monkey view.

Row W 23 to 27 and 52 to 56 are cramped, avoid if tall.

Row Z is in its own section behind the other three rows. All seats are in a single row, with those furthest from the stage having an angled view, those closer facing the stage. The pillars in this row do not affect the view from any seat that the monkey noticed. This row is set back a little way, though, and the seats nearest the stage from around 21 to 27 and 50 to 56 lose up to a quarter of the platform from view – make these a final choice.

General Hazard Notes:
Rails and seat angles deduct 10% of the stage view from most seats.

Rows W and Z have wide wooden safety rails in front of them, slightly intruding into the view of seats closest to the stage.

One reader wasn't crazy about the sound at a 2012 concert here.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
"RR 28 and 29: Just wanted to let you know that we went to a Philharmonia concert last night (13th December 2012) and started in RR 28 and 29. These are centre of the auditorium but quite far back. Visuals were fine with the caveats that have been noted on your site. But the sound was TERRIBLE. It was very heavily bass and muddy. But coughs from people under the overhang were louder than the orchestra in even medium sound passages. We moved at the intermission and the second half was like being in a different concert. And we were on the extreme right of the auditorium in KK. My advice to anyone who cares about sound quality is they should avoid any of the seats from LL back underneath the overhang from the seats above you. We have been to any number of concerts in the top level and found the sound just fine."

"Y52: My view was severely restricted by the balcony railing, as was that of everyone in my row and those in the row in front. I feel that all these seats should be marked in red on your website."

 

 

REAR STALLS
Formerly known as the "Terrace."

Layout:
This is steeply raked area rising from an aisle behind the front stalls to the rear of the auditorium.

The Balcony overhangs these seats at row DD but doesn't affect the view of the top of the performing area.

Seating is split into middle and two side blocks by aisles.

Row AA is split from the main section of seating by a wall and rail between it and row BB. It sits on the wide aisle that divides the stalls from the rear stalls.

Legroom:
Good in all seats for those up to around 6ft tall, felt the monkey, with the exception of row BB which has a little less.
Row AA has most legroom as the wide aisle has nothing in front of any seat.

Choosing Seats in General:
Central section seats AA 15 to 25 may have a problem with visual events as a sound desk could be in front of them, as could safety rails ahead of them, right behind front stalls row T. These bars are high and intrude noticeably into the view. Row BB 21 to 31 may also be worth skipping in this event.

The side sections of row AA are mostly used to provide the best wheelchair viewing places - chair users should enjoy these, the monkey feels. They are also closest to the exit doors.

Seating in rows BB to XX is not "offset" - seats are directly behind each other, but the steep rake should mean few viewing problems over those ahead, feels the monkey. One reader found that they really were not staggered enough, though, and advised caution if booking here for a visual performance.

For visual performances where sightlines are important (not orchestral concerts usually) the monkey felt that row BB's rail could be an issue for shorter people.

Further, again for visual performances only when the stage might be framed by an arch at the sides, seats 1 to 4 and 48 to 51 in rows BB to XX may not have quite as good a view, being to the sides of the auditorium and outside the line of the sides of the stage area.

At all performances with all seats at the same price, the monkey would pick row FF 15 to 37 first, then work backwards to row LL taking either 15 to 37 or side block 7 to 14 or 38 to 45 for preference. The rest of these seats are at least fair value, the monkey felt.

Rows SS back may feel a little further from the stage for visual performances - though the view should improve if the stage is raised - but for classical concerts this won't worry anyone, the monkey feels.

Extra wheelchair places are available in row XX in the centre block. The monkey would take row AA places, then side stalls and box places before these, just for proximity to the stage - though anyone sat here will enjoy at least a fair view.

Rear stalls standing areas behind row XX offer a fair view of the stage.
 

General Hazard Notes:
Seating is not “off set” to see between seats in front.

Row AA may have a rail in view.

Central rows AA and BB may have a sound desk in view.

Row BB may have a rail in view for the shortest.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
"KK 31 and 32:
"The John Wilson Orchestra." Because, as mentioned on your website, the seats are not staggered - my wife and I ( I'm almost 6ft ) had great difficulty seeing the singers on the stage and we noticed that many people around were having the same problem swinging their heads from side to side straining to obtain a clear viewing line.

Although the seats are raked they are not raked sufficiently and I would suggest that potential patrons proceed with caution when considering purchasing seats in the central rear stall area for any concert involving soloists or singers who they might actually want to see.

I believe that paying patrons should be warned of the limitations of these seats before purchasing the same.

I have made this point to the Festival Hall but had a generally unhelpful response."
 

 

BALCONY
Formerly known as the "Grand Tier."

Layout:
This is split into front and rear sections by a broad aisle between rows B and C.

Rows A and B are split by walls into sections like boxes containing sixteen seats arranged (mostly) in blocks of eight.

Rows C to N are normal long rows of seats, split into five sections by aisles.

Legroom:
Just acceptable in all seats except row B where it is noticeably far less, and C where it is tending to tight too.

Row A perhaps has an inch or so more legroom.

Before rebuilding, some one reader feels that the stalls are far superior - noting that the seats appear wider downstairs, and have far more space to stretch in. The monkey agrees, even after refurbishment, and urges the taller to take front or rear stalls first if comfort is a priority.

Choosing Seats in General:
The view from all seats can be distant for visual performances, but the sound is adequate for orchestral ones.

The monkey would probably pick the non-restricted view seats in row A first, avoid row B and C, then go for seats as near the front and central as possible, avoiding the rail intrusions if the event is a visual one. For orchestral ones it would just pick seats near the front.

In rows A and B, seats 2 to 4 and 45 to 47 suffer the boxes intruding into the view slightly, the monkey noted - which might be a bother for events more visual than a simple orchestral recital. B 4 and 49 are closest for a quick exit.

Similarly, the view from seats 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28, 29, 36, 37, 44 and 45 are also affected by high safety bars at the ends of the aisles.

The aisle bars in front of row A may also affect the view from some seats in rows C to F (the monkey noted it does in 20,21, 32 and 33, but suspects more) at some performances when the stage height is low. If raised (for visual events rather than simple orchestral concerts) this situation should be alleviated, especially with the stage at maximum 7ft height, but the monkey couldn't test that at this stage and would welcome reader feedback.

A safety rail in front of row C may block the view for some shorter visitors at all performances.

Rows C to E seats 1 to 3 and 50 to 51 are to the sides of the hall and the monkey feels them worth missing for visual events where a central view is preferable.

Aisle seats in row N (except 4 and 49) are closest to doors for a quick exit. Claustrophobics might want to avoid rows F to N seats 4 and 49 as there is no aisle beside them.

General Hazard Notes:
Rows A and B 2 to 4 and 45 to 47 have boxes in view. Seats 4, 5, 12, 13, 20, 21, 28, 29, 36, 37, 44 and 45, and row C also have a rail in view.

Sightlines decline if a low stage is used (the stage height varies by event).

Rows F to N seats 4 and 49 have no aisle beside them.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
"Rows A and B: (Alan Marshall). [Commenting before the refurbishment]. We go to the Festival Hall fairly regularly and go for seats in the Grand Tier/Balcony (rows A and B). Safety bars do obscure the view in some seats - try to avoid aisle seats. It is true that the tickets are sometimes marked to show a "restricted view" but prices are not reduced on these seats.(Invaluable advice, thinks the monkey, who feels it still applies to a great extent).”

 

BOXES
Layout:
Arranged on four levels in the walls beside the front stalls area and above the side stalls to just beyond the front of the platform.

Each box contains 4 movable red chairs (up to 16 in the Goodman box only).

All except the Goodman box are angled towards the stage.

The Goodman box has a side view with the wall not angled.

Legroom:
Good in all boxes.

Choosing Seats in General:
A rail runs around the front of each box.. A good sideways views of the stage is possible from them all, though the shortest might find the rail at the front of the box a slight issue.

The monkey notes that sightlines alter depending on the height of the stage for each performance.

A reader feels that the lowest boxes have the best views of the stage.

Boxes 3 and 31 can take a wheelchair, and are worth taking once row AA places have gone, in the monkey view.
 

General Hazard Notes:
Rail at the front of each box.

Views are side on to the stage.

Sightlines may be affected by changes in stage height.

Changes for the current production:
None.

Reader Comments:
“Box 8: The rail is quite a nuisance. With the stage at such a steep angle below, to see over it you have to lean right forward. If you sit back and relax, the view is through the rails.

For a classical orchestra with no amplification, the sound was still excellent. But for amplified performances with speakers directed at the main auditorium I wonder if the sound might not be so good. Also, the seats are not nearly as comfortable as in the main auditorium.

At the end of the performance we did try the view from the bottom row of boxes (box 5). There the rails did not get in the way of the view to the stage. We intend to check this properly at some future concert. The seats may not be so comfortable, but it’s still quite fun to have your own little space."

 

 

Notes
Total 2788 seats.

Air conditioned auditorium. this is underneath the seating, so don't place coats there if possible.

Infrared headsets and loop available, guide dogs welcome. All documents available in large print. Wheelchair access available to all levels via ramps and lifts to decent seats in auditorium. Wheelchair places are in boxes 3 and 31, choir row B, side stalls row W and rear stalls rows AA and XX. Adapted toilets are available on ground and first floor levels within the main toilets. Dedicated help is available on 0844 875 0073 (select option 2), and an "access list" can also be joined on this number, which helps members gain concession priced tickets for visits.

Toilets on levels 2 to 6; level 2: 2 ladies 6 cubicles and 5 cubicles respectively, 2 gents 4 cubicles / 3 cubicles. Level 3: 2 ladies 8 cubicles / 6 cubicles, 2 gents 3 cubicles in each. Level 4: 1 ladies 3 cubicles, 1 gents 2 cubicles. Level 5: ladies total 10 cubicles, gents total 9 cubicles, 1 disabled cubicle in each. Level 6: ladies total 5 cubicles, gents total 5 cubicles, 1 disabled cubicle. 3 ladies, 3 gents and 3 unisex facilities are also available by the roof pavilions on level 6. Small toilets for children are available on the "Spirit Level" of the Hall, and baby changing facilities are also available here, on level 2 and within the Southbank Centre Square lobby near the glass lift. Some restaurants on the site also offer baby changing facilities too. A "venue access guide" from the team who created book "Theatremonkey: A Guide to London's West End," is available to download in PDF format by clicking here.

Cafés, Restaurants, Art Galleries and open foyer performance spaces are offered in this complex. A singing glass elevator connects all levels... yes, it does...

 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

Getting to this Theatre
Find this theatre on a Street Map
Nearest Underground Station Buses Car Park
Nearest Underground Station:
Waterloo - Bakerloo Line (brown), Jubilee Line (silver gray), Northern Line (black). Also a main line station.

A PHOTOGRAPH ILLUSTRATED VERSION of this walking route is available by clicking here.

This station has multiple exits, not clearly marked, so be careful!

IN NOVEMBER 2015 THE "York Road" station exit closed until 2018. THIS MEANS THAT YOUR ROUTE IS NOW TO FOLLOW SIGNS FROM THE PLATFORM TO THE MAINLINE STATION EXIT. This will bring you into the middle of the station concourse.

Turn left and head for the main exit - a grand archway with steps down to street level.

At street level, turn to your left, and walk towards the main road. Ahead to your left is a huge silver steel rectangle. No, the monkey does not know what it is either. To the left of it, and behind, is a pedestrian passageway called "Sutton Walk"; which goes under a bridge. Take it, at the end is a fountain ahead of you. 

You are now on "Concert Road Approach". Turn to your left. The Royal Festival Hall is ahead of you. Walk towards it. Go to the right hand side of it.

You are now in an area of grey concrete. The Festival Hall is to your right, a mass of balconies with open space below them to your left. On one of the balconies, words spell out the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.

Walk up the centre of this area. You can either turn to your left and use the side entrance doors to the hall - about a third of the way along the street, or walk to the end of the area and turn left. The main Festival Hall entrances are to the left of you!

____________

If you have the misfortune to leave the station by the "Waterloo Road" exit, fear not. You can either walk through Waterloo mainline station, leaving by the York Road exit OR use the route below - BE AWARE OF YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY if you do, though.

On leaving the glass doors, turn left. Walk to the corner, and turn left into "Mepham Street". Walk all the way to the end of it, avoiding the temptation to go under any bridges.

At the end of the street is York Road. Cross it. Ahead of you, to the left, is "Sutton Walk", the pedestrian road under the bridge. Take it.

At the end is a fountain ahead of you. You are now on "Concert Road Approach". Turn to your left. The Royal Festival Hall is ahead of you. Walk towards it. Go to the right hand side of it.

You are now in an area of grey concrete. The Festival Hall is to your right, a mass of balconies with open space below them to your left. On one of the balconies, words spell out the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.

Walk up the centre of this area. You can either turn to your left and use the side entrance doors to the hall - about a third of the way along the street, or walk to the end of the area and turn left. The main Festival Hall entrances are to the left of you!

_____________

Another visitor suggest this route: Take the tube to the Embankment station and walk across the Hungerford  footbridge to the south bank, then walk to the Festival Hall complex. 

Noted are the "Gorgeous views both up and down river on a good day or evening.". The monkey endorses this comment, especially at twilight!

 

Buses:
1, 4, 68, X68, 168, 171, 176, 188, 501, 502, 513 to Waterloo Bridge.

Get off on the Bridge and look for the triangular neon sculpture on the roof of the Hayward Gallery, and the glass front of the Festival Hall. Take the stairs on this side of the bridge down to the ground. A safe crossing of this bridge can be made by taking the stairs down to first level and walking under it on a walkway linking the staircases either side of the bridge.

On the correct side staircase, leave it, turn to your left and walk along the river front to the Festival Hall on your right past the ugly underground wasted space (used as a skate park by children).

 

Taxi:
A rank for Black taxis is at Waterloo Station. Or best chance of hailing one in the street is on Waterloo Bridge.

 

Car Park:
Belvedere Road or The Hayward, both just next to the Festival Hall. Follow signs to the left as you leave the car park. Take the stairs to the left up to the first level, turn left at the top, you will be facing the side of the Festival Hall. Follow the walkway around the side of the building. The Hayward Gallery is ahead of you. If you see a railway bridge with pathways leading under it, wrong way.

Remember to get your ticket validated at the venue box office for a discounted parking rate in these car parks.

 

Top Performance Times Ticket Prices Where to Buy Tickets  Seating Plan Seat Opinions Getting Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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