Southampton Celebrates

Celebrate the opening of NST City!

16 February, 2018 - 17 February, 2018

    Friday 16 February from 6pm

    Join the celebrations as Nuffield Southampton Theatres, City Eye and John Hansard Gallery open their new unique venues in Southampton’s city centre with over 100 performers, dance, music and fireworks.

    6pm – Build up in Guildhall Square

    6.30pm – ZoieLogic Dance Theatre presents Homegrown, the opening show celebrating Southampton as a city of makers

    6.55pm – Fireworks

    Please note: Above Bar Street will be closed on 16th February for this event


    Saturday 17 February from 11am at NST City

    The party continues for a full day of free activities for all ages in the new arts venues in Above Bar Street, Guildhall Square.

    At NST City, Southampton’s new theatre, go behind the scenes of a producing theatre, step into the stories behind the world premiere production The Shadow Factory and see the visually stunning set by 59 Productions, the Tony award winning design team behind the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

    Plus pop up performances, drop in fun and games for children, roving comedy sketches, spoken word with Inua Ellams, poetry, live music and exceptional food and drink in Tyrrells, Southampton’s new bar restaurant with views across Guildhall Square.  

    All events are FREE!

    11am – 3.30pm – Studio Theatre – Family Activities with The Wardrobe Ensemble

    Join The Wardrobe Ensemble on a journey through the stars where you take the steering wheel. The Star Seekers will be hosting an action-packed day of games, songs and crafts that are out-of-this-world!

    Suitable for under 6’s. Adults will need to accompany children throughout activities

    11am – 4pm – Main house  – The Shadow Factory Exhibition

    Step into the stories behind The Shadow Factory in this immersive installation. Featuring the visually stunning set by 59 Productions, the Tony Award winning design team behind the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.

    11.30am – 1pm – Rehearsal Studio  – Drop in Drama Club Session

    This is a fun, fast-moving session of games and drama exercises to grow skills and develop imagination!

    Suitable for ages 7 – 13

    11:30am – 3.30pm – Various Locations – Love and Information

    Members of NST’s Youth Theatre will be performing scenes from their recent production of Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information. Why not make a treasure hunt of it and find them all?

    11:30am – 5pm – Tours of the building

    Sign up on the day for a tour of NST City, led by members of staff, board members and ushers. We’ll take you through our spaces from Box Office to backstage.

    12.00pm – 3.00pm – Director’s Office – Videode

    Ever fancied being the subject of a sonnet, a hero of a haiku or an object of an ode?
    Talk to one of our performance poets, Sara Hirsch or Stewart Taylor, and they’ll compose a poem for you to video and share online.
    Come along and have an instant ode penned to yourself, a loved one, a friend or a pet! 

    Suitable for all ages

    2pm – 4pm – Rehearsal Studio  – Poetry Demystified with Inua Ellams

    A discussion-based workshop under the expert guidance of award-winning poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams. Exploring what poetry is and isn’t. Whether you’re a closet poet, or whether you’ve never written a line of poetry in your life, come, talk and give it a go.

    Suitable for ages 16-25

    2pm – 7pm – Barova Room – Music Sessions

    Want to chill out and enjoy some great music? Pop in, pull up a chair and listen to local bands performing acoustic sets.

    6pm – 7pm – Studio Theatre – Experiment

    Experiment is our scratch night of performances in development. Simmering with fresh ideas and diverse styles, it offers a range of exciting new pieces by artists testing out new ideas. Part of our Laboratory programme.

    Suitable for ages 14+


    • Keep your eyes peeled for some deadly secret improvisations around the building throughout the day!
    • We will be gathering your words to make a giant word cloud.  What words would you use to describe your new venue?

    Tyrrells open for drinks all day.

    Saturday 17 February from 11am at John Hansard Gallery

    John Hansard Gallery Chinese Lion Dance - 11.00-11.30

    A traditional celebratory performance for John Hansard Gallery and City Eye by the Waterside Lion Dance club in conjunction with the Chinese Association of Southampton.

    Tours of the building - 12.00pm–4pm

    Sign up on the day for a tour of John Hansard Gallery and City Eye, led by members of staff from both organisations. John Hansard Gallery will take you through their exhibition spaces and discuss the works on show, while City Eye will unveil their plans for a full range of film making and watching experiences in their new spaces.

    Discover JHG: Family drop in day - 12.00pm–4pm

    Drop In - Take part in Discover Arts Award embedded activities for all of the family, exploring the programme of artist works in the Gallery.


    Saturday 17 February from 11am at City Eye

    11.00am –3.00pm - Family Filmmaking Fun | The Production Lab
    Try your hand at making your own storyboard or short animation – or have a go at both!  

    11.00am – 4.00pm - City Eye Archive | City Eye Hub
    Stop by for a showcase screening of City Eye Film including our film record of events and stories relating to the Cultural Quarter and development of Studio 144.

    12.00pm – 4.00pm - Film Industry Talks | Screening Room
    A programme of film-focused talks for experienced and aspiring filmmakers. 

    12.30pm – 4.00pm - The Video Booth | Suite 4
    Tell us what you think about Studio 144 and the things you’ve seen and participated in today at NST, John Hansard Gallery and City Eye.


    Southampton Blitz to D Day: Guided walk by Southampton Tourist Guides

    FREE Mini Walks 
    Saturday 17 February 11:00am  &  2:00pm


    Throughout Half Term

    Free half term fun discovering new places and uncovering interesting facts about Southampton’s past

    Come into Southampton for our free #SpitfireTrail this half term Mon 12th – Sat 17th Feb. Take the journey around the city’s cultural quarter. Pop into places on the route to discover more about Southampton’s connection with World War 2 and the Spitfire. 

    Start at Solent Showcase Gallery, just off Guildhall Square next to the Artisan Café. You can pick up a paper copy of the trail and get involved in free activities as part of the Stand Together exhibition.

    You can also download a trail from Go Southampton website here. Why not come back and visit for Southampton Celebrates Fri 16th and Sat 17th Feb when NST City, John Hansard Gallery and City Eye open their new arts buildings.


    *Terms and conditions: One participant from the Southampton Celebrates WhatsApp group chat will be chosen at random to win two free tickets to any Nuffield Southampton Theatres Production during the Spring / Summer 2018 Season. This offer is non transferable and subject to availability. For more information please go to