While the bank’s planned activations are currently being kept under wraps, Natwest has said the partnership will give it the chance to thank customers in London with unique experiences and exclusive benefits. It added that it has plans to work with the Southbank Centre on special projects to support London communities.
The theme of the festival is ‘Gift of Giving’. To support this, the centre will launch a pop-up shop in aid of mental health charity Mind, a blanket knitting project to help vulnerable elderly people keep warm with charity Age UK and a performance of A Christmas Carol with actor and presenter Griff Rhys Jones leading the cast. More than 60 community and school choirs will perform twice a day throughout the two-month festival.
The venue will also welcome traders to sell at its inaugural Christmas market, which will feature products such as ceramic homeware from Jerusalem, sheepskin rugs and locally-sourced drinks and confectionery. It will also launch an 18-metre-high Christmas tree-shaped café that will serve a range of festive drinks, while cider brand Rekorderlig will host a Scandinavian-themed wooden lodge.
Other attractions include Intrude, an art installation of five, seven-metre-high illuminated white rabbit sculptures, a Christmas tree maze made from 200 blue spruce trees and the Southbank Centre Express Train, which will take passengers on rides along the riverfront.
Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre’s artistic director, said: "Charles Dickens believed, as we do, that no one should be excluded from winter festivities, and that Christmas should be a time when we all open our hearts and find room for charity and goodwill. In this spirit, our Winter Festival programme is bigger than ever and offers something for everyone to enjoy, share and reflect upon, from heart-warming shows to uplifting community choirs, Christmas markets and giant illuminated rabbits.
"I am delighted that Natwest is generously supporting our festival again, and hope Southbank Centre is your place of celebration."
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