Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl opens tomorrow! We interview the woman herself!

Little Match Girl. Photo Magnus Hastings

Little Match Girl. Photo Magnus Hastings


Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl opens tomorrow night for the UK premiere of this award-winning show. We caught up with Meow Meow herself and asked her a few questions. The full interview is available in the Little Match Girl programme.

What’s your favourite thing about winter?
‘Glühwein, the miraculousness of snow, the strange, surreal places that the brain takes one when there is very little sunlight …’

How do you prepare for a performance?
‘A little ballet barre, some vocal pyrotechnics, a fabulous outfit and a whiff of martini …’

Is it important to you that audiences are shocked?
‘ I’m passionate about live performance, music and its potential to heal and to incite. One does want to invigorate, even if desperate measures are called for …’

‘As my musical director Lance Horne says, “In a Meow Meow show you may not be moved, but you will be touched!”’

On audience participation:
‘It’s never about making someone look silly – aside from myself. I’m much more into pursuing audience engagement. It’s about getting the message out there. The fact that sometimes it’s my leg that I’m asking to be placed over a shoulder is a boon for some lucky punter, let’s face it.’

On different audiences:
‘I’m lucky enough to have thrown myself at audiences in China, the US, Europe, Australia … even the town of Tanaki in New Zealand has had to bear me (literally). Singing Brecht at a bar in Berlin is quite different to singing it at Lincoln Center in New York.’

Do you think Andersen would be a fan of the show?
‘Well, he did have a passion for a lady in a tutu …’

Catch Meow Meow’s Little Match Girl at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 13 – 30 December 2012. Get tickets and watch trailer here.

Slava’s Snowshow returns to Royal Festival Hall this Christmas. Watch the trailer here!

Due to popular demand, Slava’s Snowshow returns to Royal Festival Hall this Christmas. Experience a joyous, dream-like world which will touch both your heart and funny bone, culminating in a breathtaking blizzard leaving you knee-deep in snow!

Catch Slava’s Snowshow at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall from 17 December – 7 January. Get tickets here. 

What are your Reasons to be Cheerful?

You saw them at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony and now you have the chance to see them in the flesh! Graeae Theatre Company’s production of Reasons to be Cheerful comes to Southbank Centre this weekend featuring Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ greatest hits including ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll’, ‘Spasticus Autisticus’ and ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’.

Reasons to be Cheerful, photo: Patrick Baldwin


To celebrate, we have a very special prize on Twitter as part of our #FantasticFridays weekly competition tomorrow – a limited edition signed Sir Peter Blake print of the original artwork for Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3).


To enter, just follow us on Twitter @southbankcentre and keep an eye on our tweets tomorrow morning where we’ll be asking what are your reasons to be cheerful?

Catch Reasons to be Cheerful at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall as part of Unlimited on Sunday 9 September. Get tickets here. 

New trailer! The Tiger Lillies perform Hamlet

Catch The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 18 – 21 September. Get tickets here.

Unlimited Festival starts tomorrow! Watch the trailer here!

Cutting edge, brand new, large-scale: Deaf and disabled-led art has never been so good. LOCOG and Southbank Centre present 29 brand new commissions from Deaf and disabled artists to coincide with the Paralympics.



Catch Unlimited at Southbank Centre from 30 August – 9 September. Get more information on Assisted Performances, Access and tickets here. 

The Tiger Lillies return with their UK premiere of Hamlet


The Tiger Lillies

The Tiger Lillies return with their brand new show – their own macabre take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect from Soho’s favourite trio.

Have a listen to our SPOTIFY PLAYLIST.

Catch The Tiger Lillies and Hamlet at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from 18 – 21 September. Get tickets here. 

Bee Detective – Interview with writer and performer Sophie Woolley

Bee Detective, part of Unlimited, is a honeybee murder mystery for Deaf and hearing children aged 6+. Here, writer and performer Sophie Woolley gives us some background about the making of Bee Detective.

Would you be able to tell me a little bit about why you created The Bee Detective?
I wrote a funny play about environmental issues for BBC Radio 4. I loved doing the research and then trying to present stuff people don’t already know in a comedic way. I realised people like learning stuff from plays, as well as seeing their own concerns and absurdities reflected.  So I wanted to try and do the same for a younger audience and everyone is bee mad at the moment so I wanted to dig deeper and see what the situation is for British bees. Me and Gemma (director Gemma Fairlie) wanted to lift the lid on the secret world of bees, make the show we’d want to go to as kids. On tour adults have told us they loved learning new stuff about bees from the play. It’s not an educational play per se but we have woven interesting weird facts about bee life into the plot.

The bees in the play are wiped out by a virus transmitted by varroa mites. It was in the news this summer. Check out my blog for links to the press releases. People know about pesticides but when we started the tour hardly anyone knew about this varroa scourge.

Why did you choose to write for children now?
Unlimited commissions were about stretching the artist beyond their usual practice. I know I can write and perform for adults so I thought I’d try something new and difficult.  It’s also the first show that I would have signed in, but then I broke my shoulder and had to step aside. I also wanted to work with James Merry who is a brilliant Deaf animator who did our fab trailer and all the amazing animations.

I don’t think you have your own children and I think you began to lose your hearing at the age of 18, but were you inspired by any Deaf children you know? Nieces or nephews or friend’s children?
It’s not personal no. I have done quite a few workshops for deaf school children and I can see how starved they are of what hearing kids take for granted. And now the austerity policy cuts are hitting Deaf services for children and deaf education very hard. It’s pretty tragic. The effects are already beginning to be felt by children and their parents. This is the only kids show in the Unlimited commissions.

I wanted to write about bees and kids really love bees, they learn about them in school and like wearing bee costumes etc. Bees are all the rage and I jumped on the beewagon.

Did you look back on your experience as an audience member before you began to lose your hearing and compare it with your experience as an audience member now and feel that you should provide theatre for Deaf children?

I don’t look back. There was a gap where I stopped going to theatre. Then theatre subtitles were invented.

It’s cool to make the show accessible if the money is there. It’s my utopian vision of how a show should be. I like subtitled shows, big subtitles, creatively designed, that are in the middle of the set not shunted off to the side in the corner. Subtitles can be beautiful. I’m trying to show people how modern subtitles should look. I think the company is ahead of its time, I hope one day the  whole world will be subtitled, not just TV.

Catch Bee Detective as part of Unlimited at Southbank Centre from Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September. Get tickets here.