Southampton is host to a series of cultural events this summer in order to celebrate 50 years of city status.

From 2nd-17th August, the city is transforming into a summer festival – 16 days of poetry, theatre, film, music, visual art and dance as the Nuffield presents us with the Art at the Heart festival.

The festival will feature work by some of the city’s most exciting arts organisations including the three arts venues based at the University of Southampton (The Nuffield, Turner Sims and John Hansard Gallery) along with The Mayflower Theatre, Apples and Snakes, City Eye and Art Asia.

The Turner Sims will present the early music group Red Priest (3 August) and Fapy Lafertin, the most celebrated gypsy guitarist of the last 30 years (10 August), while John Hansard Gallery will present Õkeanos Cycle No 1, a sound piece by artist David Ward that brings the sounds of the sea into the centre of the city.

The Art at the Heart festival will take place at Nuffield’s unique pop-up venue, Nuffield Playing Field, found in the Guildhall Square at the heart of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter.

The festival not only takes place to commemorate 50 years of Southampton’s city status, but also the 50th anniversary of the Nuffield Theatre and is a precursor to the opening of the new arts complex in 2016.


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Furthermore, specialist tours of Southampton’s landmarks are taking place throughout August in order to commemorate the city’s 50th anniversary.

Each day will follow a different theme. Mondays will explore Southampton during the Second World War, Tuesdays will delve into ‘Perils and Plots’, Wednesdays will be looking at a selection of Southampton’s vaults, Thursdays at Parkland Promenade and Fridays will tour round Medieval Churches and the Friary.

Moreover, Saturdays will explore The Spa Period and the novelist Jane Austen, who was a resident in Southampton, while Sundays are reserved for the Walls and Vaults Walk.

Other focal points will include touring Castle Vault, The Undercroft and Catchcold Tower and learning about the history of the city’s Glaswegian heritage steamship the SS Shieldhall.

Each daily schedule of walks will start at the Bargate at 11am. The tours last 90 minutes each, and cost £4, but under 16s go free.

For more information visit: stga.org.uk or book online here. 

In September 1958 the County Borough of Southampton petitioned the Queen for the town to be raised to the status of a city. Southampton was sucessfully granted city status by royal charter on 24th February 1964.

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