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Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love and Unlimited Festival

Festival of Love at Southbank CentreA multi-sensory homage to the racy fairground rides of yesteryear is part of  Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love and Unlimited Festival this August and September. Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Fri 28th June to Sun 7th September

Arts organisation Heart n Soul have been commissioned by Southbank Centre to co-create this multi-media, multi-sensory and interactive installation on the theme of love, which is brought to life with digital technology and comes complete with vibrating floors, flirty hotlines, Twister, and a soundtrack of giggles, in a cheeky wink towards the sauciest fairground ride of the twentieth (or twenty-first?) century. The company, who create work with artists and participants with learning disabilities, present this piece alongside a curated programme of performance by Heart n Soul artists, and will follow up the festival with the company’s legendary club night The Beautiful Octopus Club, which comes to Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival of work by Deaf and disabled artists in September.

Through a heart-shaped door, audiences will be invited to walk up a tunnel of Heart n Soul heartthrobs which will come alive before your eyes, before finding themselves in Club Flirt, which offers the chance to be chatted up on hotline telephones; to become a DJ of a love-song playlist (complete with cheeky sound effects); to create a love-themed souvenir video; and to see a collection of short films on the theme of love in the Kiss and Tell Cinema.

Much of the work has been created through the company’s Allsorts creative arts programme, which provides a place where adults with learning disabilities can try new art activities, meet new people and participate in a variety of workshops, ranging from music to circus skills. Artists and organisations involved in the latest season of workshops include Florence Peake, Adele Jeffs, Ben Connors, Dickie Beau, Peggy Shaw, Louis Weaver, Apples & Snakes and Upswing.

Every Wednesday, Tunnel of Love will also feature live performance from a host of Heart n Soul artists, including regular afternoon stints from Tilley, Del and Catherine, who will be on hand to offer their services as fortune-tellers, agony aunts and toilet attendants, for the midweek opening of the Piggie Powder Room. Accompanying this is an evening programme of events from 6.30 to 8pm, including music by Radar People of the Year award-winner Lizzie Emeh, surreal pop-imagery and catchy beats by three-piece band The Fish Police, (Dean Rodney, Matthew Howe and Charles Stuart) and big beats and funky drumming by new Heart n Soul additions Too Hot for Candy.

Heart n Soul’s Beautiful Octopus Club at Southbank Centre’s Unlimited Festival, on Saturday 6th September, will be curated by artists Dean Rodney, Lizzie Emeh, Tilley Hughes, Ifeoma Orjiekwe and Dele Fakoya. The artists will be working alongside Ben Connors who will be producing a 30 page comic based on their stories. In addition to live music and Heart n Soul DJs, the event, which has previously attracted audiences of more than 2000 people, will have a strong digital aspect with VJing across the space and a computer gaming zone for people to interact with.

Heart n Soul is a leading creative arts company who believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities.  Their work is about art, training, taking part and sharing. Diverse artists and participants work together towards their goal of making a more creative, fun and open world. They offer a range of opportunities for people to take part, train in a new skill or develop their artistic talents. Artists and participants share their work live, recorded or online for as many different people to enjoy as possible. The company reach over 30,000 people per year in live events, creative sessions and online.

Festival of Love, Southbank Centre’s summer 2014 festival is dedicated to the theme of love. Hundreds of artists, communities and partners will participate in creating a festival that will explore the many different facets of human love – from romantic love and the breakdown of relationships, to the harmony (or disharmony) between nations and the concept of memorials. The festival runs from 28th June to 31st August. and features  a wide-ranging programme of themed weekends, performances, talks, outdoor art installations and urban greenery across the site. One of the highlights, in celebration of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act becoming law in England and Wales this March, will be the mass wedding event for opposite sex and same-sex couples on the finale festival weekend (30 and 31 August).

Unlimited (1st to 7th September 2014), Southbank Centre’s festival of arts and culture by Deaf and disabled artists, was first presented in September 2012 to coincide with the London Paralympic Games. The Paralympics changed sport forever in terms of people’s understanding of the talent of disabled people. Unlimited provides the same platform for Deaf and disabled artists to show the extraordinary talent, range and perseverance necessary to make great work. Unlimited returns in September 2014 presenting an eclectic programme of free and ticketed events, exhibitions, workshops, participatory activities and platforms for discussion and debate. Together the events put the spotlight on Deaf and disabled artists, giving them space to present their work and share their practice.


Suitable for All ages – family friendly

Company Information: Artistic Director Mark Williams, Art Director Adele Jeffs, Sound Designer/Production Manager Tom Slater, Visual/Digital designer Hannah Mason, Lighting Designer Ian Scott

Listings information
Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Sat 29 Jun – Sun 31 Aug 2014, 10am –11pm

Tilley & Del the Pig and Catherine Dunne | Piggie Powder Room
Every Weds, 2 Jul – 27 Aug, 2 – 8pm
Heart n Soul artists Tilley & Del the Pig and Catherine Dunne will be on hand in the Piggie Powder Room as fortune tellers/agony aunts/toilet attendants, providing make up and love advice, all with a pig twist.

Heart n Soul DJs – LAUNCH PARTY
Weds 2 Jul, 6.30pm – 8pm
It’s a chance for all those who know Heart n Soul to come and explore the Tunnel of Love. There will also be Heart n Soul DJs on the night playing in Club Flirt.

The Radical Raccoons
Weds 9 Jul, 6.30pm – 8pm
The Radical Raccoons make epic musical adventures inspired by pop, jazz, rock and soul. The group started playing together at Heart n Soul’s Do Your Own Thing sessions and developed a unique sound and explosive performance style that aims to capture the true spirit of punk.

Lizzie Emeh
Weds 16 Jul, 6.30pm – 8pm
Describing her sound as a mix of ‘R&B, jazz and a lot of soul’, Lizzie Emeh first made history in October 2009, as the first solo artist with a learning disability to release an album to the general public. In 2010 she won her first national award at the Radar People of the Year awards for her achievements in music and the arts, before going on to win the Champion of the Year award at the AMI’s (Ability Media International awards), in 2011.

Weds 23 Jul, 6.30pm – 8pm
SoundLab is Heart n Soul’s new innovative digital music making project, which explores ways of using technology to encourage people with learning disabilities to create sound and music experiences. It was first tested at The Beautiful Octopus Club in 2013, where audiences were offered the chance to take part in a live music jam using iPads.  On the night audiences will get the chance to try out some of the latest music apps and new technologies and will have the chance to create their own music tracks.

Art Zone with Ben & Lfeoma
Weds 30 Jul, 6.30pm – 8pm
Artists Ben & Ifeoma will be hosting the Tunnel of Love Art Zone where the audience can come and create their own love-inspired pieces of art.

Too Hot For Candy
Weds 6 August, 6.30pm – 8pm
Singer-songwriter Kali Perkins, musician Arthur Lea and drummer Isaac Palm bring you a sound they describe as ‘way funky’. Inspired by Prince, Sly and the Family Stone, featuring big beats and funky drumming.

The Fish Police
Weds 13 August, 6.30pm – 8pm
The Fish Police, made up of Dean Rodney (singer, rapper, songwriter), Matthew Howe (guitar) and Charles Stuart (keys, co-songwriter, background vocals), aim to create their own unique blend of upbeat surreal pop imagery, electronic future funk, pop and hip hop. The group met through Heart n Soul’s old young people’s group, Heart n Soul Youth, and have been involved in some of the company’s biggest projects and events to date, including the Dean Rodney Singers and The Beautiful Octopus Club at London’s Royal Festival Hall. In 2012, they performed at the 2012 London Paralympic Games opening ceremony. In April 2014 they embarked on their first UK tour performing across 7 venues in 8 nights to integrated audiences. www.thefishpolice.com

The Chat Up #2
Weds 20 August, 6.30pm – 8pm
Featuring special guests to be confirmed, The Chat-Up is an informal space where guest artists and invited experts can share their passion, inspirations and ideas, and where audiences are encouraged to take part and share their thoughts too.

Heart n Soul DJs and Open Mic
Weds 27 August, 6.30pm – 8pm
Heart n Soul DJs will be playing the best beats in London and there will be a chance for the audience to come and sing a love song of their choice with a live band on the open mic.


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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