Countdown To River Stage Begins… Starting At London’s South Bank

Five free weekends of the best and brightest entertainment from the UK’s leading arts and culture organisations once again arrives on London’s South Bank this summer; The Glory, HOME, Manchester, WOMAD, Rambert and the National Theatre each ‘take over’ the River Stage for a weekend throughout July and August.


The Glory (28 – 30 July)

On Friday night, Jonny Woo kicks off the weekend with East London super group Luxury Hell, a blazing fusion of contemporary scene legends who will rock out the riverside stage with funked-up alternative anthems. The party continues all evening, culminating in APOCALYPSTICK Party!, when a glamorous tribe of radical fairies, super queers, fashion freaks and punk queens will gather outside the National Theatre for a hell-raising riverside rave!

Saturday is a choc-full day, with highlights including Homo Histories or ‘a mince through time’ and Grizzle Go ABBA, where comedic duo John Sizzle and A Man To Pet will talk ABBA, sing ABBA… they are ABBA. The Saturday night draws to a fabulous conclusion with the glorious 80’s pop party meltdown that is 80’s ARMAGEDDON PARTY.

Sunday starts with a Drag Life Drawing masterclass – a live art class for all the family, with music, materials and special guests- and culminates in the fantastic Big Gay Songbook for the grand finale.

For the full weekend line-up, please click here.

HOME, Manchester (4 – 6 August)

Sequin-clad satirical weirdos Bourgeois & Maurice launch HOME’s takeover weekend, with Dave Haslam, who DJ-ed over 450 times at the Hacienda in Manchester through the late 1980s, taking the party on through the Friday evening.

On Saturday, Bootworks Theatre bring two beautiful 1950s Jukeboxes to life as two performers re-create classic pop music videos using props, puppets and a terrible selection of wigs in The JukeboxesThe Beat Chics will be spinning a collection of classic and rare records perfect for an afternoon on the South Bank, including tracks from The Shangri-Las, The Supremes, The Zombies, Lulu and more. In Bed With My Brother brings their show We Are Ian to River Stage: its 1989, Manchester and the year it all changed from black and white into crazy technicolour. Peppered by recordings of conversations with Ian, and scored by buzzing 80s and 90s tracks.

On Sunday, join a Vogue Workshop by House of Ghetto or sit back and enjoy Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, where New Orleans meets 90s club classics. The HOME weekend concludes with Boy Blue Entertainment, an energetic, inspiring and participatory hip hop summer party.

For the full weekend line-up, please click here.

WOMAD (11 – 13 August)

WOMAD’s Friday night begins with a set from Cardiff-based band Afro Cluster, before Mr Benn ft. Souls Liberation and Bongosan take over the decks until late.

Get involved on Saturday with a variety of workshops: Jus Dance Workshop, facilitated by Jamaican dancer and choreographer Ripton Lindsay combines a mix of his traditional Jamaican dance moves as well as reggae, calypso and creative movements; Beatboxing vocal workshop with UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage; and NIMBA workshop & performance with a focus on recounting the mythologies and history of Guinea through choreography. Gypsy Hill then takes over the stage, to effortlessly mix the traditional with a uniquely modern sound.

Amira Kheir the ‘Diva of the Sudanese desert’ (BBC World News) enchants with an experimental sound inspired by traditional music from her homeland Sudan, anchored in experimental jazz and soul on Sunday, and Soothsayers finish the weekend with their mouth-watering afrobeat and dubalicious flavours.

For the full weekend line-up, please click here.

Rambert (18 – 20 August)

A packed Friday evening sees a variety of artists taking over the River Stage, from Quicksilver, Rambert’s company for dancers aged 15 – 19 to New Creation by Patricia Okenwa, an extract of a work-in-progress from the up-and-coming choreographer and former Rambert dancer. The evening culminates in Tempus by Simone Damberg Wurtz a duet for male dancers to the accompaniment of Game On, a score by former Rambert music fellow Cheryl Frances-Hoad for live piano and a Commodore 64 computer from the 1980s.

Saturday allows audiences to get involved – a Yoga Class, Contemporary, Family and Children’s Workshops. The evening finishes with Music from Nia Lynn, a work by Ben Duke, inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone.

Sunday sees an Over 60s Workshop with a chance to learn moves from Rambert’s repertoire and a performance from R Quintessence and Mercury Movers, a dance groups for older adults in London.

For full line-up, please click here.

National Theatre (25 – 28 August)

Concrete Disco and then Hackney Colliery Band take to the River Stage for Friday evening, before London’s first Night Czar Amy Lamé takes to the decks.

On Saturday, highlights include a reading by M.G. LeonardGoblin’s Peter and the Wolf – a brand new show with music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic- followed by Goblin’s River Stage workshop, a drama and music workshop we will be looking at how different animals are represented by different sounds, movement and music. The evening finishes with Dom Search (The Next Men) a nutriblend of musical abandon – dancehall, drum’n’bass, reggae, roots, instrumental and actual hip hop, soul and soulful low-end boomp, ambient…the perfect party mix!

Sunday begins with Mrs H and the Singalong Band and their unique music for children and adults before singer songwriter Phil King entrances River Stage with his beautiful, soulful voice; deft skills at playing the guitar and the capacity to write elegantly worded and powerful songs. The day finishes with a free outdoor screening of the National Theatre’s Twelfth Night. Tamsin Greig is Malvolia in a twist on Shakespeare’s classic whirlwind comedy of mistaken identity and unrequited love.

Bank Holiday Monday’s Tea Dance calls for an afternoon spent dancing to the joyous live Ballroom Dance Band, with lessons from a professional dance instructor in various styles. Then River Stage 2017 comes to a glorious conclusion with Nerija, a collective of up and coming musicians playing exciting music inspired by Jazz, Hip Hop, Afrobeat and South African Township, nominated for Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year 2016.

For full line-up, please click here.


About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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