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Being a Man Festival

25 November 2016 - 27 November 2016

£15 - £35


Sir Roger Moore, Ashley Walters, Kele Okereke, Professor Green, The Last Poets, Aaron Gillies, Scottee, Jon Holmes, Robert Olen Butler, Timothy Watson, and more

Friday 25 November – Sunday 27 November 2016



Southbank Centre’s BAM – Being a Man festival, which launched in 2014, returns to explore the challenges and pressures of masculine identity in the 21st century. Taking place a week after International Men’s Day (19 November), the festival features a 3-day programme of talks & debates, performances and workshops with contributions from over 150 speakers and performers, including Sir Roger Moore (James Bond, The Saint), Ashley Walters (Bullet Boy, Top Boy, So Solid Crew), Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), entertainer Scottee, spoken word artists Last Poets, author and vlogger Jonny Benjamin, comedian John Holmes and Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler. The panels and workshops cover such key issues as shared parental leave, depression, video games, education, and of course dad dancing.


Highlights include:

    • Sir Roger Moore, the James Bond star, talks candidly about playing the hero and the gap between our fantasy of masculinity and reality (Sunday 27 November)
    • So Solid Crew rapper and on-screen star Ashley Walters aka Asher D (Top Boy, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’) speaks on a multi-art form career, becoming a father, and inspiring the next generation (Friday 25 November)
    • Rare acoustic set and in-conversation with Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke speaking on his career, balancing songwriting with becoming a dad, and the often limiting expectations on artists in the music industry (Saturday 26 November)


  • In a frank discussion, Professor Green reflects on his life and music as well as challenges that men face, and how to overcome them (Sunday 27 November)


  • Fathers of hip-hop The Last Poets speak to Ashley Walters, poet Anthony Anaxagorou before performing a live set in the Royal Festival Hall (Saturday 26 November)
  • Debate on domestic abuse featuring actor Timothy Watson, from the Radio 4 series The Archers, on playing the controversial, domestically abusive character Rob Titchener and Mark Brooks, chairman of the domestic abuse charity ManKind Initiative (Sunday 27 November)
  • A long table discussion with entertainer and artist Scottee on the emasculation and fetishisation of the ‘fat bloke’ (Sunday 27 November)
  • To close BAM, the London Gay Men’s Chorus (LGMC) presents UGotMale?, a thought-provoking and uplifting show that explores, celebrates and challenges masculinity, and commemorates the 25th anniversary of the chorus (Sunday 27 November)
  • Using recorded footage, animation and spoken word, the award-winning show The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family offers a warts-and-all journey through actor Ben Norris’ own family history as he attempts to better know his father (Friday 25 November)
  • Fashion Undressed offers a day of activity featuring an interactive catwalk showcase with designer collections from emerging and established menswear designers, a series of talks looking at body image and black male bodies in fashion and film, and workshops on crafting clothing accessories (Saturday 26 November)
  • Free Friday lunchtime and evening Tonic concerts from British saxophonist and composer Will Gibson and acoustic songwriter Joseph Lofthouse (Friday 25 November)


Lead Programmer for BAM, Ted Hodgkinson said ‘Masculinity today is often divisive if not downright dated, but beyond the limitations we’ve inherited, there’s a world of possibility we have only just begun to explore. At a festival like BAM we’ve created a space to celebrate and interrogate masculinity in all its variety and hidden depths, and the only prerequisite to attend should be an open mind.


A central thread of the festival explores how self-imposed constraints on mens’ emotional lives plays out across many levels of life. It promises to be a joyful and revelatory three days, packed with insight, laughter and dad dancing.’



  • Panel highlights include:
    • The Paternity Debate – a panel examining why only 4% of new fathers take shared parental leave (Friday 25 November)
    • Language Police: Can Men Say What They’re Thinking? – a discussion led by author and BBC presenter Tim Samuels on how men can navigate the minefield of language without causing offence (Friday 25 November)
    • Shy Guys ­ a guided tour through the hidden world of shyness in a world where male confidence is celebrated, hosted by Joe Moran, social/cultural historian (Saturday 26 November)
    • Bad Education: Are Boys Falling Behind? – a discussion on why boys are drastically falling behind in the classroom and what can be done to address the growing disparity (Friday 25 November)
    • Mandown: How To Reduce the Male Suicide Rate a panel of speakers with first-hand experience of male suicide debate the issue, including Jonny Benjamin, author and vlogger, who launched a social media campaign ‘Find Mike’, Aaron Gillies, a comedian and author also known as @TechnicallyRon and Jane Powell, founder of CALM (Friday 25 November)
    • Prejudice Behind Bars: Muslim Men in Prison – a look at how the number of Muslims in prison has doubled in the past twelve years, with only a handful of convictions linked to terrorism (Friday 25 November)
    • Northern Souls a discussion that opens with a specially commissioned short documentary by designer and filmmaker Ian Thompson, offering an insight into the music and culture of Northern Soul (Friday 25 November)
    • Am I A Man Yet? – a panel including BAFTA-winning writer and comedian Jon Holmes and Vice journalist Jack Urwin take a look at how modern men now prove their manhood. (Saturday 26 November)
    • Shall We Take This OutsideNational poetry slam champion Adam Kammerling teams up members of Parkour Dance to explore the effect of fictional hero behaviour on real-world attitudes to violence (Saturday 26 November)
    • Game Boy: Obsession with Gaming – A panel of gaming experts, designers and writers discuss the male obsession with video games, including Simon Parkin, journalist and author of Death by Video Game: Tales of Obsession from the Virtual Frontline (Sunday 27 November)
    • Men at Arms – A panel of veterans, writers and experts with first-hand experience of the frontline including authors Harry Parker, Matthew Green, and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler discuss the challenges soldiers face both on the battlefield and once they return home (Sunday 27 November)

Alongside the panels and performances will be an abundance of free activity including: a BAM Marketplace; relaxed Speed Mentoring sessions on a variety of topics; interactive workshops with boys (or men of the future) in How To Be A Superman; singing for men of all experience and ages in BAM Big Sing and Beyond The Bassline; and even an opportunity for dads to show their moves in a Dad Dancing workshop. Throughout the weekend BAM-goers are also encouraged to try their hand at developing new skills in free workshops at Southbank Centre’s pop-up Men’s Shed.


For further press information please contact:

Hugo Mintz, Press Manager: hugo.mintz@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 7921 0917

Sasha Haughan, Press Officer: sasha.haughan@southbankcentre.co.uk / 020 79210992

Listings information

BAM – Being A Man festival

Friday 25 –Sunday 27 November 2016

Southbank Centre

Tickets: £15 (day pass Friday/Saturday/Sunday), £35 (three day pass)

Certain events are not included in the day pass but require a separate ticket

www.southbankcentre.co.uk/bam / 0844 847 9944

Notes to editors:

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 Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy, more information can be found here: letthelightin.southbankcentre.co.uk.



25 November 2016
27 November 2016
£15 - £35


Southbank Centre
Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road
London, SE1 8XX United Kingdom
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