The Little Match Girl tale revealed…

Hans Christian Andersen’s most famous tales include The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, but it is his Little Match Girl story that captivated cabaret star, Meow Meow.  ‘He captures abuse, exile and abandonment as familiar conditions – and food, warmth, love, beauty and spirituality as fundamental human needs, not just wishful hallucinations.’

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

Hans Christian Andersen’s heart-wrenching story of the poor match-seller who freezes to death one New Year’s Eve was first published in 1845. The image of the bare-footed, blonde-haired child, outside on this ‘most terribly cold’ night, trying to warm herself with the matches she is supposed to be selling, resonated with all who read it in those dark, Dickensian days of child labour, cruelty and poverty. Surrounded by the houses of rich merchants, with the snow coming down, the little match girl takes shelter in a nook. She strikes her matches against a brick wall and through the bright flare sees images of a better life: a festive table laid with a roast goose; a magnificent Christmas tree with thousands of lights; a shooting star; and the loving face of her grandmother. But in a chilling finale, by dawn she is dead, frozen stiff still clutching her bundles of matches.

There is a meaningful message to be found beneath Meow Meow’s bizarre cabaret of wildness, wit and glamour. Not only is it a re-telling of Andersen’s story, says the performer, but it is ‘a reminder of the thousands of little match girls and boys sleeping rough every night in Australia’. Between musical vignettes and high-kicking theatrics, Meow Meow shares moments of frailty and incisive social commentary. She doesn’t offer an answer to the problem of homelessness; rather she uses a simple fairy tale to challenge the crowd in a rollicking, rousing performance.


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


Slava’s Snowshow in photos! One week to go!

It’s only one week until Slava’s Snowshow returns to Royal Festival Hall by popular demand. Here’s a sneak peek of the snowstorm set to take over Southbank Centre this Christmas!


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Catch Slava’s Snowshow at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London,  from 17 December – 7 January 2012. Get tickets 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. 

Rolf Harris in a rare performance at Royal Festival Hall

Tickets went on sale this week to An Evening with Rolf Harris – a rare performance from the 82-year-old artist, musician, singer and TV presenter. You’ll get the chance to hear his classic songs accompanied by his seven-piece band, wobble board and possibly the world’s largest didgeridoo. Plus Rolf will be painting a special portrait live on stage.

The nation’s favourite Aussie, who in 2010 made his sixth appearing at Glastonbury before a record breaking 130,000 audience, will appear for one night only in February 2013. Snap up your tickets before they’re gone!

Rolf Harris

Catch Rolf Harris at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Friday 8 February 2013. Get tickets here. 

Photos: London International Mime Festival 2013

Circle of Eleven, photo: Andy Phillipson

Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt

Compagnie 111/ Aurélien Bory , photo: Aglae Bory

My!Laika, photo: Mona


Circle of Eleven, photo: Heiko Kalmbach


Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt


Compagnie 111/ Aurélien Bory, photo: Aglae Bory


Wolfe Bowart in Letter's End, photo: David Wyatt


Circle of Eleven, photo: Heiko Kalmbach


Southbank Centre is proud to be a venue for the 2013 London International Mime Festival, 12 – 27 January. Get tickets here.


Fitzrovia Radio Hour

Recreating the unique spirit of 1940s radio plays and brilliantly evoking a dinner-jacketed age of casual imperialism and stiff upper lips, the Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s brand new show comes fresh from three critically acclaimed London residencies, and two sell-out years at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Here’s Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s guide to Red Cross Week 2012. Spiffing, what what!


Catch Fitzrovia Radio Hour at Priceless London Wonderground at Southbank Centre on Saturday 29 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.