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Tunnel of Love - Royal Festival Hall

HIGHLY celebrated arts organisation, Heart n Soul, have been commissioned by Southbank Centre to co-create Tunnel of Love, a 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 their 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 – 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, September 6, 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. More at: benconnors.blogspot.co.uk/.

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.

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.

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 June 28 to August 31 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 (August 30 and 31).

Unlimited (September 1 – 7, 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.

Admission: Free.

Dates and Times: Until Sunday, August 31, 2014, 10am –11pm.

Website: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/

Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX