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


See for all the details.

Events include:

Performance and Dance programme 2017
Southbank Centre presents a host of exclusive UK premieres from across the world exploring diversity, identity, migration, evolution and sacrifice, for its Spring & Summer 2017 programme for performance, dance and theatre.

Events include:

Friday 19 May, 7:30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £15-50
Sukanya, the first ever opera by world famous musician Ravi Shankar will open Alchemy 2017 in an extravagant production fusing traditional Indian instruments with Western orchestra, singers and dance. Taken from the legendary Sanskrit texts of the Mahabharata, the story of Sukanya has been brought to life in this innovative production directed by Curve Associate Director Suba Das, with dance choreographed by the Aakash Odedra Company, production by The Royal Opera and the musicians of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tuesday 1 August- Saturday 5 August, 7:30pm (2:00pm Thurs & Sat), Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, £12- £55
Following worldwide critical acclaim English National Ballet brings the world’s greatest love story to Royal Festival Hall stage with Rudolf Nureyev’s inventive and passionate choreography, and Prokofiev’s exhilarating score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. Full of action, humour and drama, Nureyev’s award-winning production of Romeo and Juliet was created especially for English National Ballet in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Tuesday 8 August, 7:30pm, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, 14+, £15-25
International multidisciplinary performance group Needcompany present the UK premiere of their hit show The Blind Poet. Travelling through the family trees of all Needcompany’s members, where everyone has some link or connection with everyone else, Needcompany create an alternative world history through a powerful mix of theatre, dance, music and performance.



@southbankcentre / Facebook / Instagram


National arts hub Southbank Centre outlines its programme highlights for 2017 including a year-long immersion into Nordic culture and society, an exploration of what it means to be human in the 21st century, and a journey through some of China’s most innovative contemporary art and culture. Also featured are programmes curated by under-18s, a summer-long look at love and the return of flagship festivals WOW - Women of the World and BAM - Being a Man.


With over 15 festivals and 4,000 events during 2017, and a global touring programme reaching six continents and 37 towns and cities across the UK, Southbank Centre brings together thousands of artists, partners, communities and audiences to contribute, create and explore the most pressing issues of today. Full programme details will be announced throughout the year. All events take place at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, unless otherwise stated.




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.


Adventures in Moominland

Part of Nordic Matters

Friday 16th December 2016 - Sunday 23rd April 2017

The world of acclaimed Finnish author Tove Jansson and the Moomins is brought to life in a major new immersive, interactive exhibition Adventures in Moominland - the first UK exhibition devoted to the Moomins.The exhibition presents new insights into Jansson’s life and the influences behind her work with rare archive objects and illustrations built into the experience, augmented by a script written by children's author Laura Dockrill and narrated by Sandi Toksvig. Full press release here. More information here.


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.


Film Scores Live

Throughout 2017, until Wednesday 25th June 2017
Southbank Centre's Film Scores Live series continues throughout 2017, shining a light on some of cinema’s most unforgettable soundtracks. From Oscar winners to modern cult classics, all the films are accompanied by live orchestral performances from the UK’s leading orchestras in the spectacular setting of the Royal Festival Hall. Concerts include Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with the spine-chilling soundtrack performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (23 June 2017) and the London premiere screening of Hitchcock’s Vertigo with live orchestral accompaniment, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and conducted by Jessica Cottis
(25 June 2017). More information here


International Orchestra Series

Until Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Southbank Centre’s International Orchestra Series welcomes some of the world’s greatest orchestras, conductors and soloists to the Royal Festival Hall stage. Paavo Järvi conducts the NHK Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 (6 March 2017); conductor Marin Alsop leads British percussionist Colin Currie and the Britten-Pears Orchestra in a performance of a new concerto for percussion and orchestra by Mark-Anthony Turnage, which honours composer Steve Martland (7 April); Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of Santa Cecilia and superstar pianist Yuja Wang in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 (11 May); and Budapest Festival Orchestra and conductor Iván Fischer perform Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (23 May). More information here.


International Chamber Music Series

Until 2nd June 2017

Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Series includes a number of concerts as part of Belief and Beyond Belief festival. Cellist Alisa Weilerstein performs the complete cycle of Bach’s Cello Suites at St John’s Smith Square (8 February); the Colin Currie Group return to Royal Festival Hall to perform works by Steve Reich (5 May); and the Pavel Haas Quartet are joined by pianist Denis Kozhukhin to perform Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No.2 in A (2 June). More information here.


International Piano Series

Until 31st May 2017

Southbank Centre’s International Piano Series features some of the world’s most celebrated pianists as well as rising stars. Highlights at Royal Festival Hall include: Chinese superstar Yuja Wang (11 April); and much-loved American pianist Richard Goode performing Beethoven sonatas (31 May). Highlights at St John’s Smith Square include former International Chopin Competition winner Yulianna Avdeeva (29 March); and winner of the 2005 Arthur Rubenstein Competition Alexander Gavrylyuk making his International Piano Series debut (3 May). More information here.


International Organ Series

Until 24th June 2017

Southbank Centre’s International Organ Series showcases the Royal Festival Hall’s recently restored, magnificent organ. Champion of contemporary music Stephen Farr performs the world premiere of a new work by Judith Bingham (24 April); and virtuosic improviser David Briggs performs a live, improvised soundtrack to Hitchcock’s film The Lodger, as part of Southbank Centre’s Film Scores Live series (24 June). More information here.


Resident and Associate Orchestras

Until June 2017

Southbank Centre’s Resident Orchestras: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Sinfonietta and Associate Orchestras, Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain - present a broad range of concerts at Royal Festival Hall and St John’s Smith Square throughout 2017.





Friday 19th - Monday 29th May 2017
Southbank Centre’s Alchemy returns for its eighth year celebrating the cultural connections between South Asia and the UK. Showcasing contemporary and artistic work from seven countries, the eleven day festival celebrates an evocative programme of dance and performance from emerging and established artists. The London premiere of Ravi Shankar’s first ever opera Sukanya, written just before his passing and inspired by his wife and drawing on mythical characters, is an innovative production directed by Leicester Curve Associate Director Suba Das, fusing Indian music with dance choreographed by the Aakash Odedra Company, production by The Royal Opera and the musicians of Southbank Centre’s resident Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra (19 May). Powerful and innovative dance includes Conditions of Carriage - The Jumping project, a unique dance experience choreographed by Preethi Athreya where 10 contemporary performers from across India negotiate the force of gravity on the roof of Royal Festival Hall (21 May), Queen-size, a choreographed duet responding to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality in India, played out on a charpoy, a traditional Indian bed (19 May) and The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, one of the world’s leading Indian Classical dance companies present their first international collaboration in Saṃhära, a union of two dance traditions that began in temples as ritual performance performed by The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble and The Chitrasena Dance Company (26 May). Southbank Centre’s YUVA returns for the sixth year in a vibrant showcase of the best South Asian youth dance from across the country (29 May) and Choreogata, a scratch performance presents new dance works from five talented South Asian choreographers (29 May). Intimate theatre pieces will explore the power of personal stories of family, imigration and diaspora with the UK premiere of No Dogs, No Indians, a powerful new play by poet and playwright Siddhartha Bose (21 May) and the multi-award winning performance Labels, a funny, moving and honest story about mixed heritage and immigration from writer and performer, Joe Sellman-Leava (27 May). Jyoti Dogra’s Notes on Chai, a collection of snippets of everyday conversations interwoven with abstract sound explorations attempts to relocate the audience’s relationship with the quotidian (25 & 26 May) and The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, a provocative play told through the eyes of a 16-year-old British Muslim girl, highlights the challenges of being brought up as a young woman in a traditional Muslim family alongside the temptations and influences of London (23 – 24 May). The lives of Bangladeshi garment workers are explored in Made, a work in progress performance by Target Theatre Company (24 May) and actor, comedian and YouTube sensation Mawaan Rizwan returns to Alchemy with his brand new show Twerk in Progress, celebrating the profound meaninglessness of life (25 May).


Karachi Literature Festival - as a part of Alchemy
Saturday 20th May 2017

Karachi Literature Festival comes to the UK for the very first time in a collaboration with Southbank Centre's Literature team, celebrating contemporary Pakistan and its rich history and culture in the context of the 70th anniversary of the country's foundation. Oxford University Press and Founder and Director Ameena Saiyid OBE in conjunction with Bloomsbury Pakistan presents a day of debates, talks, recitals and performances with writers and artists. The one-day festival forms part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy. The full programme will be announced in 2017.


Alchemy on Tour
Alchemy takes off on tour for a second time, returning to Doncaster, Oldham and the Black Country. Working collaboratively with three key national partners, Black Country Touring, Cast, Doncaster and Oldham Coliseum Theatre, each partner will curate their own bespoke Alchemy programme for regional audiences, featuring local and regional artists, running alongside the festival in London.
More information here.



Festival of Love

Part of Nordic Matters

Saturday 3rd June - Monday 28 August 2017

Festival of Love takes over the 21-acre Southbank Centre site with a summer-long programme featuring performances, music, installations and design from Nordic artists. Highlights include Outi Pieski’s Falling Shawls in Royal Festival Hall foyers, Jeppe Hein’s ‘Modified Social Benches’, North Sami Pavilion – an architectural collaboration with Umea University Sweden, the return of the Festival of Love Design Challenge, and lift lobby installations. More information here.


China Changing

Friday 2nd - Saturday 3rd June 2017

Southbank Centre’s China Changing is a new international festival with a programme inspired by the creativity and innovation from contemporary China. The festival launches with a day of music, dance, theatre, film, comedy, and talks, on 16th December 2016, before expanding to long weekends in June the following two years. China Changing aims to showcase the best and most interesting artistic work and contemporary thought from across China; alongside British-based Chinese and British South East Asian artists. More information here.



Friday 9th - Sunday 18th June  2017

Southbank Centre’s annual Meltdown festival has been running since 1993 and each year invites a different cultural figure to act as director of the event and pick the performers of their choosing. Previous directors include: Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Lee Scratch-Perry, Morrissey, Massive Attack, John Peel, Ornette Coleman, Yoko Ono, Ray Davies and Anohni. Performers have been musicians, artists, filmmakers and comedians including Jeff Buckley, for his final UK show; Nick Cave, Grace Jones and Pete Doherty singing Disney songs with Jarvis Cocker; Patti Smith performing Horses in full; a Nina Simone concert now immortalised in Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days On Earth;  Radiohead; Grace Jones; and Nancy Sinatra. Meltdown 2017 to be announced.


New Music Biennial

Friday 7th - Sunday 9th July 2017

Southbank Centre presents an entire weekend of new music, free concerts and workshops featuring all 20 winning commissions from the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial 2017. The initiative, presented in partnership with Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and BBC Radio 3, presents a snapshot of contemporary music in the UK from across all genres — classical and chamber opera to jazz, folk, electronic and music for brass band and organ. The festival includes new works from Gavin Bryars, Simon Holt, Emily Hall, GoGo Penguin, Eliza Carthy, Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Sam Lee and Mica Levi alongside recently-composed works, including Anna Meredith’s Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra, commissioned by Southbank Centre in 2010. More information here


Africa Utopia

Sunday 16th - Monday 17th July 2017

Africa Utopia returns for a fifth year exploring what can be learnt and celebrated from modern Africa and the African diaspora. The festival investigates the arts and culture of one of the world's most dynamic and fast-changing continents and looks at how Africa can lead the way in thinking about society, community, technology, fashion, gender, faith and activism. Full programme to be announced.

Chorus Festival

Part of Nordic Matters​

Saturday 22nd - Sunday 23rd July

Celebrating the power of the voice and the spirit of communal singing, Chorus features a Royal Festival Hall concert with a choir from each Nordic country, performing together with a specially-formed Voicelab choir of Nordic diaspora singers in the UK. Free foyer performances of Nordic choirs will be heard throughout the weekend, as well as opportunities to join in with workshops exploring traditional and contemporary Nordic vocal music.  More information here.  


WHY? What’s Happening for the Young?

Wednesday 7th - Sunday 13th August 2017

WHY? What's Happening for the Young returns for a fourth time to consider how under-18s can understand and use their rights to influence the world around them. Inspired by the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the festival is an opportunity to learn about and celebrate young people's rights alongside artists, campaigners and activists. Through performances, workshops, talks and debates, the festival explores the right to freedom of expression, play, care, safety and access to the arts and culture, with many events programmed or led by young people. More information here.


English National Ballet: Romeo and Juliet
Tuesday 1st - Saturday 5th August, 7.30pm (2.00pm Thursday & Saturday)

English National Ballet brings the world’s greatest love story to Royal Festival Hall with Rudolf Nureyev’s inventive and passionate choreography, and Prokofiev’s exhilarating score performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic. More information here.



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.


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 for details.

Ticket Prices:

Varies by event, see 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: 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. 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. has a "virtual tour" of the auditorium.


Seating Plan Diagram


Front Stalls Rear Stalls Side Stalls Balcony Boxes Notes
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.

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:

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).



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.

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:

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."


Formerly known as the "Annex."

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.

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:

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."



Formerly known as the "Terrace."

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.

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:

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."


Formerly known as the "Grand Tier."

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.

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:

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).”


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.

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:

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."



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!


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).


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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