23 Jun 2019 / 13:00 to 21:00
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Refugee Week at Southbank Centre

This year’s collaboration with the Southbank Centre is a programme of theatre, comedy, choir performances, a live art performance, Balkan music and more. We celebrate across the Southbank spaces:

You, Me and Those Who Came Before

1pm – 6.45pm

Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer; Free

Investigate your ancestry and help create a wall of portraits at this drop-in drawing workshop. Suitable for all ages.


Full Circle

1pm – 1.45pm

The Clore Ballroom, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall; Free

Full Circle is an award-winning community opera project inspired by the story of a Newham resident who arrived as a young refugee. It features music and spoken word created by pupils from 15 local schools working with John Barber, Hazel Gould, Mohammed Yahya and Laila Sumpton.

A collaboration between Newham Music, Music For Youth, Lister Community School and Counterpoints Arts.


 As Far as Isolation Goes

1pm – 3pm & 4pm – 6pm

Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer; Free

What does it feel [1] like to be a refugee? Drop in to our interactive performance installation by artists Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa to get an insight into the hardships faced by people in detention centres, through painting, touch and sound.


What’s Far Is Near by Staging Sisterhood

2.30pm – 3.30pm

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall; £5*

This theatre piece features two simultaneous performances: one here and the other in Beirut, with a live video link between them. It is the culmination of a three-month devised theatre project for participants from refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds, taking place between London and Lebanon using technology to create a shared space.

Presented by Seenaryo, in partnership with Women Now for Development, Counterpoints Arts and Southbank Centre.


Singing Our Lives

2.30pm – 5.30pm

The Clore Ballroom, Level 2, Royal Festival Hall; Free

Singing Our Lives brings together musicians from refugee, migrant and local UK backgrounds to compose and perform together. Produced by Together Productions in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration and Refugee Week.


2.30pm Singing Our Lives Massed Ensemble

Hundreds of voices unite for this ensemble performance, featuring five choirs and members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians.

Musical director Jeremy Haneman


3pm The Sing for Freedom Choir

This choir builds community between local residents and refugees and asylum seekers who are survivors of torture. Together, they sing songs of hope and peace. Musical director Gemma Storr


3.20pm Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus

The 120-strong chorus performs It Takes A Village, which uses famous opera choruses to explore what happens when we open our hearts to outsiders.

Musical director Jeremy Haneman, accompanist Ashley Beauchamp


3.50pm The Mind and Soul Choir

This community choir promotes wellbeing through singing as well as aiming to reduce the stigma around mental illness. They rehearse weekly at the Maudsley Hospital and are open to new members.

Musical director Nicola Wydenbach


4.10pm The Islington Refugee Choir

The Islington Refugee Choir meets regularly to share music from different cultures and write songs together. Today they perform traditional and well-known pieces alongside their original work.

Musical director Romain Malan


4.30pm The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians

Members of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians take you on a trip to the Middle East with their uplifting Arabic melodies.

Led by Basel Saleh and Hamsa Mounif


4.50pm The Mixed Up Chorus

This chorus sings together to build understanding and empathy. Today they perform songs

inspired by this year’s Refugee Week theme:

‘Generations – You, me and those who came before’. Musical director Jeremy Haneman


A Day

4.15pm – 5pm

Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer; Free

In this poetic performance of words and song, the Women for Refugee Women Drama Group tell us their experiences of life in the UK by exploring what a typical day might bring. It is followed by a post-show discussion.

A collaboration with Rainbow Sisters, a group of lesbian and bisexual asylum-seeking women.


Balkan and Roma Sounds

5.30pm – 7pm 

Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer; Free

Get footloose at a free early evening party of Balkan and Roma sounds, featuring musicians from Counterpoints Arts network, jazz and classical guitarist Stefan Melovski and the London based Gypsy Roma jazz band – Faith and Branko.


No Direction Home

7pm – 9pm

Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall; £12*

No Direction Home is a stand-up comedy course for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, taught by comedian Tom Parry. See the results at this performance, hosted by Parry and with Suzi Ruffell and Romesh Ranganathan as guest headliners.

Presented by Counterpoints Arts and Camden People’s Theatre.


*Transaction fees apply: £3 online; £3.50 over the phone. No transaction fees for in-person bookings, book via Southbank Centre website and box office.



23 Jun 2019
13:00 to 21:00

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX