Southampton is a multi-cultural city and is a thriving hub of arts, live music and performance. It is set to become the cultural destination in the South.
A picture paints a thousand words
Art is at the heart of Southampton’s cultural life and the city is proud of its superb collection of works of art. City Art Gallery, an internationally renowned regional art gallery, which provides a broad programme of exhibitions and stunning collections ranging from 14th century works to the present day. The new arts complex, Studio 144 will open in Spring 2017 providing a new visitor attraction in the heart of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. It will feature The John Hansard Gallery, which will showcase today’s most innovative artists and display world-class contemporary art. It will also be home to Southampton’s leading theatre company Nuffield Theatres and organisers of Southampton Film Week, City Eye.
Many of the venues across the city also showcase local artists and exhibitions providing a unique and intimate way to experience art in the city. Combine art with performance and a community cafe, and you’ve got The Art House Gallery and Cafe in Above Bar which features a range of work by local artists with regular workshops and events. K6 Gallery is an exhibition space in the centre of Southampton that makes use of a pair of iconic grade II, listed red phone boxes, which were designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935. The gallery runs a diverse program of four exhibitions a year, engaging audiences by showcasing both local and national artists with a focus on contemporary and conceptual art. Showcase Gallery is a contemporary gallery space in Southampton offering meaningful educational experiences and encounters with visual arts and design to everyone, both in the gallery and the community.
If you are looking for more artistic inspirations…
> HA HA Gallery on Cold Northam Road is a contemporary art space bringing the newest and wildest art talents to an artist-run space.
> Live graffiti at The Art of Heritage Arts festival in St. Deny’s (8-10th September)
> God’s House Tower will re-open as a new arts and heritage venue in 2018.
If you want to get creative and involved…
> Have a go at Red Hot Press fine art print making workshops www.redhotpress.org.uk
> Attend a Storytelling celebration night with Touch in coffee shops, bars, restaurants and interesting and sociable places!
Prepared to be stage struck
For theatrical lovers Southampton offers a range of large and small stages where a variety of traditional, contemporary and musical theatre, dance, comedy and the spoken word. The Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre in Southern England and regularly hosts West End shows, musicals and national opera and ballet companies.
NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres is one of the country’s leading producing theatre companies, creating bold, fresh and vital experiences through theatre. NST will open a brand new venue in the city centre (NST City) in autumn 2017. Expect standing ovations at theatres across the city which also include The Hub at Southampton City College, The Stage Door, The Berry Theatre in Hedge End as well theatre production companies such as the Maskers Theatre Company. If you love dance and performance art, there are plenty of opportunities to both watch and take part, whether it be to try something new or develop your existing appreciation. Just outside the city in Eastleigh, The Point is a regional powerhouse for contemporary dance, theatre and combined arts; presenting bold, innovative nd inspirational work. Look out for regular street theatre with the Sarah Siddons Fan Club for performances promoting the history of the city and the many colourful characters!
Exploring the Cultural Quarter
If you’re visiting Southampton with culture on your agenda, then here’s an itinerary for making the most of your time and for getting your cultural-fix!
>> Start your day by visiting SeaCity Museum and discover Southampton’s maritime heritage. For a refreshment stop, head to The Art House Cafe for bite to eat, tea, coffee and a laid-back vibe.
>> Once refuelled, cross the road and visit Showcase Gallery, part of Solent University and then head to the City Art Gallery where eight centuries of western art from the Renaissance to the present day can be enjoyed.
>> For lunch or dinner, Guildhall Square offers a variety of restaurants such as Tapas Barcelona, Nandos, Neighbourhood, The Stable or Artisan Cafe where you can refuel whilst watching city life across the unique public space.
>> Make time in the afternoon to visit The John Hansard Gallery in Studio 144 (opens spring 2017) to see the latest contemporary art exhibition.
>> In the evening you have plenty of choice in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter from the large scale productions at The Mayflower Theatre to The Stage Door, Southampton’s finest fringe theatre showing cabaret, stand-up comedy, musicals and plays.
>> If you are looking to end your day with music, you can expect big name musicians, bands and performers at O2 Guildhall Southampton or listen to local bands at Mettricks Guildhall or The Art House Cafe.
>> After a day taking in Southampton’s cultural scene, you can end the day with cocktails in Turtle Bay whilst watching the hustle and bustle of Southampton’s nightlife.