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Simon Callow to direct Shakespeare anniversary gala at Southbank Centre

Simon Callow will both direct and perform in the concert at the Southbank Centre. Photo: Piers Allardyce
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Simon Callow is to direct a gala concert at the Southbank Centre to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, as part of the centre’s new classical music season.

The concert will feature “leading actors” performing readings from Shakespeare’s plays, with one from Callow himself. The other actors involved have not yet been confirmed.

Taking place in the Royal Festival Hall on April 23, the gala will be set to music inspired by the playwright’s texts from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The line-up for the 2015/16 season was announced by the Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly, who revealed a new festival at the London venue that promises to explore the link between artists’ creativity and mental health.

Altered Minds: Arts, Health, and Mental States will take place at the centre in February, and follows the launch of the Arts and Minds initiative last year, which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in the entertainment sector.

Elsewhere, Opera North will bring their production of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle to the centre for the first time, running over four nights from June 28 to July 3.

Speaking about the new season, Kelly said: “We constantly seek to reinvent the notion of what a concert hall should be and do, whether that means providing a platform to discuss mental health…or presenting stunning dramatic performances of opera in a way that speaks directly to audiences.”

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