Concrete Dreams: the swinging '60s at London's Southbank Centre

The refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall at London's Southbank Centre Credit: Morley Von Sternberg
'Concrete Dreams', an exciting new immersive audio-visual backstage journey, has opened at the Southbank Centre.

The exhibition tells the story of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room and celebrates their reopening after two years of extensive, National Lottery-funded restoration and redesign. 

'Concrete Dreams' enables visitors to embark on an intimate tour which transforms them into the artist.  Entering through the Queen Elizabeth Hall artists’ entrance, audiences follow in the footsteps of legendary performers at the start of their careers.  The journey starts in the swinging 1960s, with a soundscape roll call from Pink Floyd to Cleo Laine and Daniel Barenboim.

Unique archives sit alongside a flow of voices from the past and present. Highlights include: 1960s and early 1970s archives of live performance footage; poetry recordings; and print materials from stars such as Deep Purple, London Sinfonietta, Imrat Khan, David Bowie and dancer Celeste Dandeker, founder of Candoco Dance Company.

“From Bowie to Brutalism, this exhibition, funded by National Lottery players, celebrates a triumphant age of post-war ambition for a new tomorrow… writ large!”Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “From Bowie to Brutalism, this exhibition, funded by National Lottery players, celebrates a triumphant age of post-war ambition for a new tomorrow… writ large! Truly, a festival building as pioneering as the musicians it inspired. And Southbank Centre is just that; a gloriously confident concrete jewel for us all to savour.”

Rachel Harris, Creative Producer Southbank Centre, added: “Concrete Dreams is a celebration of the vision of these unique buildings that were at once ground-breaking and pragmatic, emerging from the idea that the artists and audiences were a living part of the architecture.”

'Concrete Dreams' opens to the public on Tuesday 10 April and the Concrete Dreams Weekend runs from Friday 27 - Sunday 29 April. Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room reopened to the public on Monday 9 April.

Back to top of page