Southbank Centre’s Inside Out returns with online series of multi-arts events

  • The contemporary music programme returns with global streams from Black Country, New Road, London Contemporary Orchestra and The Cinematic Orchestra.
  • Poetry events include the T.S. Eliot Prize and Out-Spoken, and talks with Hanif Abdurraquib, Fearne Cotton, Ethan Hawke, Raven Leilani and Skin.


Credit line: Ethan Hawke ©️ Brigitte Lacombe; The Cinematic Orchestra ©️ Dan Medhurst; Black Country, New Road ©️ Courtesy of Ninja Tune Records

Following the success of the Southbank Centre’s online autumn multi-arts series, Inside Out, the Southbank Centre today announces details about Inside Out, a second online season of music, spoken word and literature taking place from 24 January – 28 March 2021.

As the UK goes back into lockdown, the Southbank Centre invites audiences to enjoy live streamed performance and discussion from the comfort of their own living rooms.

Seven virtual literature and spoken word events will feature. The season, which includes rising talents of literature and familiar names from pop culture, is bookended with two celebrations of poetry. The T.S. Eliot Prize (24 Jan) hosted by Ian McMillan opens the programme and the Southbank Centre’s resident poetry and music night Out-Spoken (28 Mar) returns to close the season with a stellar lineup.

Ethan Hawke discusses and reads from his latest work in an exclusive virtual event (8 Feb). American debut novelist Raven Leilani is in conversation with British author Diana Evans about her debut work (25 Feb), while poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib introduces his new book of essays on Black performance in a special broadcast event (25 Mar). And from the world of pop culture, Fearne Cotton speaks frankly about finding her voice (4 Feb), and lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie, Skin (4 Mar) celebrates her memoir ahead of her appearance at Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in June.

The globally-loved British band, The Cinematic Orchestra makes its much-anticipated Royal Festival Hall debut to perform exclusive new music from its upcoming album (29 Jan). Elsewhere, one of the country’s most exciting new prospects, Black Country, New Road play the Southbank Centre for the first time, presenting music from their debut album (6 March). Finally, the London Contemporary Orchestra returns for a night of new music, including specially-commissioned orchestral versions of 2020 electronic masterpieces by Kelly Lee Owens and Duval Timothy, both of which will be world premieres (19 March). All three events will be streamed globally on DICE, exclusively for the Southbank Centre.

Inside Out will be streamed online from 24 January – 28 March 2021.

Ted Hodgkinson, Head of Literature & Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, said: “We’re bringing in the new year with a series of virtual events to lift the spirits, induce gales of laughter and make us see the world anew. Featuring some of the brightest and funniest literary talents around, beloved personalities and bold artists with extraordinary stories to tell, this is a programme that promises to replenish our sense of wonder. Opening and closing with poetry – from the exceptional T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist to a stellar digital edition Out-Spoken respectively – we’re bookending the series with electrifying performances to get the year off to a scintillating start.

Bengi Ünsal, Head of Contemporary Music at the Southbank Centre, said: “While 2020 was undoubtedly a horrific year for our industry, we did see unprecedented demand for music streaming and on-demand gigs, showing – more than ever – just how much the UK’s cultural scene means to its people. One particular success story was Black Country, New Road who, on the back of just two tracks, found critical-acclaim. The Southbank Centre has always championed some of the country’s most exciting new prospects and we are delighted to be platforming the band as they release their debut album; we can’t wait to watch them take their alt-rock sound to international audiences. Elsewhere, we ring in 2021 with a global stream from the ever-innovative London Contemporary Orchestra who present orchestral versions of two of 2020’s electronic masterpieces. And to kick things off, we host the much-anticipated global stream from The Cinematic Orchestra; undoubtedly one of the most influential British bands of the last 20 years, they’ll treat audiences to exclusive new music from their forthcoming album.”

Literature and spoken word events

Hosted by poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan, the T.S. Eliot Prize (24 Jan) is the first major highlight in the literary calendar. In a pre-recorded event the shortlisted poets offer readings before the winner is announced. The shortlisted poets are Sasha Dugdale, Natalie Diaz, Ella Frears, Will Harris, Bhanu Kapil, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Daisy Lafarge, Glyn Maxwell, Shane McCrae and J. O. Morgan. This year, the judges are Lavinia Greenlaw, Mona Arshi and Andrew McMillan.

In a pre-recorded broadcast event, Fearne Cotton talks about her new book Speak Your Truth (4 Feb). Drawing on the book, this event delves into the ways people learn to stay quiet for the wrong reasons. Cotton explains how to find your own authentic words, assert yourself, and speak out with confidence.

A Night In With Ethan Hawke (8 Feb) celebrates the release of his new novel A Bright Ray Of Darkness, a novel full of rage, sex, longing and despair. Offering insight into his world, not only as a novelist but also as an actor, writer and director for stage and screen, this event sees Hawke read from his new novel, described as a passionate love letter to the world of theatre.

In a special pre-recorded streamed event marking the publication of her debut novel LusterRaven Leilani is joined in conversation with British novelist Diana Evans (25 Feb). Described as one of the most exciting literary talents to emerge from the U.S. in recent years, Leilani’s debut has been hailed as ‘a taut, sharp, funny book about being young now’ by Zadie Smith.

Lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie Skin launches her memoir It Takes Blood and Guts in a broadcast event on 4 March. Solo artist, LGBTQI+ activist and all round trailblazer, Skin tells her story of how a gay, Black, working-class girl with a vision fought poverty and prejudice to write songs, produce, front her own band and become one of the most influential women in British rock. The talk takes place ahead of Skin’s appearance at Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in June.

Poet and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib introduces his new book of essays on Black performance (25 Mar). A Little Devil in America explores a field that ranges from tap dancing to punk, backing singers to TV hopefuls, through sport, sitcoms, fashion and space travel. The collection is infused with the lyricism and rhythm of the musicians Abdurraqib loves, as it weaves a unique and intimate history of Black performance in which culture, politics and lived experience collide. Abdurraquib explores and discusses the politics of American empire, and his own personal history of grief and love in this one-off event.

To close the literature and spoken word season, Out-Spoken the Southbank Centre’s resident poetry night returns with a special pre-recorded online show, shining a light on the cream of UK writing talent (28 Mar). The evening celebrates the best in UK poetry hosted by Joelle Taylor, with Sam ‘Junior’ Bromfield spinning the best in reggae, soul and R&B throughout the evening.

Tickets for literature and spoken word events within Inside Out will be on sale to Members on 11 January and to the public on 12 January.

Music events

The Cinematic Orchestra’s much-anticipated global stream from the Royal Festival Hall on DICE takes place on 29 January. The internationally-acclaimed band will present exclusive new music from their forthcoming album, due to be released later this year. With mesmeric event production, fans can expect a truly unforgettable visual experience for this very special one-off event. It will be the first time this globally-loved British band has played the Southbank Centre.

The event will be streamed globally on DICE at 8pm on 29 January; tickets are on sale now here.

Undoubtedly one of the break-out bands of 2019, the Southbank Centre welcomes Black Country, New Road to the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 6 March for a live, global stream. As they get set to release their debut LP, For the first time on 5 February and embark on their first European tour later this year, the event from the Southbank Centre will be the band’s first major gig of 2021. They’ll perform a selection of music from the new album, including the latest singles ‘Track X’ and ‘Science Fair’, as well as tracks such as ’Sunglasses’ that brought them international recognition in 2019, and would see them earn the accolade of “the best band in the world” from The Quietus.

The event will be live-streamed globally on DICE at 8pm on 6 March; tickets will be on sale for Southbank Centre Members from 2pm today and on general release from 10am on Tuesday.

On 19 March, the London Contemporary Orchestra return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall to give world premiere performances of new, specially-commissioned orchestral versions of Kelly Lee Owens’ Arpeggi and Duval Timothy’s Look, taken from each of these artists’ hugely successful 2020 albums. More new music follows with the UK premiere of Kjartan Sveinsson’s Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen. The LCO has established itself as one of the UK’s most innovative and respected ensembles having worked across genres with the likes of Thom Yorke, Frank Ocean, Mica Levi and many more.

The event will be streamed globally on DICE on 19 March at 7.30pm; tickets will be on sale for Southbank Centre members from 2pm today and on general release from 10am on Tuesday.

Elsewhere at the Southbank Centre

Unlimited festival

The Southbank Centre’s first digital Unlimited festival will take place from 13 – 17 January. The five-day festival featuring dance, performance, comedy, film, talks, workshops and art, celebrates the artistic vision of disabled artists and features 33 events, 32 of which are free.

The festival features 3 world premieres, 16 live shows and 16 events available On Demand. Alongside the digital programme, there will be an outdoor exhibition onsite at the Southbank Centre, ‘Unseen’ by artist Suzie Larke.

For the first time ever, Unlimited festival will be accessible to audiences around the globe. The festival and the Unlimited commissions programme together aim to help embed work by disabled artists across all art forms within the cultural sector, reach new audiences and change perceptions of disabled people.

Full press release for Unlimited festival available HERE.

Winter Light 

Winter Light (until 28 Feb) is a free open-air exhibition that enlivens the site’s iconic buildings and the Riverside Walk with luminous, playful and thought-provoking artworks during the darkest months of the year.

Featuring a range of leading international artists, Winter Light includes 20 artworks, new commissions and a series of poems that make ingenious use of light, colour and animation whilst touching on diverse concerns.

At a time when we view so much of the world through digital screens, the artists in this exhibition celebrate how the medium of light can transform our physical spaces. Their artworks also explore ideas about nature, politics and society, gender, aesthetics and the act of looking. Participating artists in the Winter Light exhibition are: Simeon Barclay, David Batchelor, James Clar, Shezad Dawood, Kota Ezawa, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Suzie Larke, Teemu Määttänen, Tala Madani, Tatsuo Miyajima, Louiza Ntourou, David Ogle, Katie Paterson, Jini Reddy, Martin Richman, Tavares Strachan, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Emma Talbot and Toby Ziegler.

Full press release for Winter Light available HERE.


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