Southbank Centre's Purcell Room to reopen after 18 months

Southbank Centre's Purcell Room to reopen after 18 months

The Southbank Centre is reopening the Purcell Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in September after 18 months.

According to a statement, the 300-capacity venue aims to become “London’s number one destination for contemporary art and culture”.

The venue will return with Purcell Sessions, a year-long programme of over 100 events, including a line-up of UK and international artists across music, dance, visual art, literature, the spoken word and multimedia.

The series will include album workshops and launches from artists including Fauzia, Lyra Pamuk, Abyss X and Jamie Isaac. Long-term artistic partners and collaborators including the Philharmonia Orchestra and London Sinfonietta will also feature.

Since the Purcell Room first opened in 1967, the venue has been a crucible of international names, including a young David Bowie, who played at the iconic space in November 1969 shortly after the release of Space Oddity. 

Artists including Patt Smith, Nick Cave and Laura Marling have also played the venue.

Purcell Sessions launches on September 16 with Sarah Davachi and the London Contemporary Orchestra. Two days later, Jeremy Deller and Holly Blakey come together for the first time alongside musical artists Gwilym Gold, Dave Okumu, Oliver Coates and The Smile’s Tom Skinner. It follows the lifting of Covid restrictions.

This most intimate space becomes our nexus of creativity and innovation

Gillian Moore

Gillian Moore, director of music and performing arts at the Southbank Centre, said: “The Southbank Centre brings artists and audiences together for unique cultural experiences and we can’t wait to take this one step further with Purcell Sessions, bringing its namesake’s legacy right up to date with some of today’s most daring creative talents. The legacy of the Purcell Room is woven deep into the fabric of this space, from the artists who’ve played to packed out audiences to the composers who’ve challenged with bold new work. As it reopens this September, Purcell Sessions will launch us into our next chapter, as this most intimate space becomes our nexus of creativity and innovation.” 

Bengi Unsal, head of contemporary music at the Southbank Centre, said: "Purcell Sessions represents an unrivalled new artistic venture for the Southbank Centre. Set to become London’s room for the curious, this major annual series for the Purcell Room will see us usher in a new era of artists breaking new ground in contemporary culture. From yeule to Abyss X, these creators and innovators all share a passion to forge new artistic territories, to defy expectation and to present work in dialogue with the times. Purcell Sessions is already generating significant industry attention and we can’t wait to see this grow and evolve, as artists choose Purcell Room as their destination for creative and artistic freedom.”

PHOTO: Garry Jones/Victor Frankowski

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