Southbank Centre’s Being a Man festival returns, exploring the changing nature of masculinity

Southbank Centre’s BAM – Being a Man festival, supported this year by Gillette, returns in November to explore the challenges and pressures of masculine identity in the 21st Century. Taking over Southbank Centre’s site from Friday 24 – Sunday 26 November, the festival sees a packed weekend of vibrant talks, debates, comedy, performances, interactive workshops and free events. The festival will offer a lively and candid space to share stories, discussions and new ideas and hear the stories of real men who share wide-ranging life stories from personal perspectives.

Robert Webb, Simon Amstell, Alan Hollinghurst, Kevin Powell, Antonythasan Jesuthasan and Slincraze bring a star line up to the festival, which aims to challenge the stigma that can make it more difficult for men to discuss issues in their life, and takes a frank, funny look at inherited ideas of masculinity and how these are changing in 2017.

With something for all ages, audiences can take part in the Build a Dad session with the LEGO Group, immerse themselves in a Nordic shouting masterclass with the Finnish Screaming Men’s Choir Huutajat, enjoy irreverent stand-up comedy, retreat to pop-up Men in Sheds workshops, take in cutting-edge film screenings and join in powerful debates on hard-hitting topics such as mental health, fatherhood, body image, pornography, trans identity, masculinity in the Middle East, paternity leave, and men in the media.

Free activities include the BAM mindfulness run, a 5km group run around Central London with mindfulness stops along the way and lively interactive workshops including the Craft a Man workshop and the Living Library, which offers an opportunity to ‘borrow’ a man and be inspired by the stories of those who have taken action to make change. The weekend also sees a mass ‘Big Shout’ and pop-up dance performances across the site.

Festival highlights include:
Award-winning comedian and author Robert Webb takes a funny, irreverent look at modern masculinity and discusses his new book How Not To Be A Boy (Saturday 25 November)
​ Comedian, writer and award winner Simon Amstell muses on modern masculinity and his new book Help (Saturday 25 November)
Man Booker Prize winning author Alan Hollinghurst discusses his sixth novel The Sparsholt Affair, which explores the changing attitudes towards gay men from the 1940s to the present day (Sunday 26 November)
Hands-on workshops for all the family at the Build a Dad: Fatherhood and Play LEGO® Workshop, reflecting on the role that 'play' has in fatherhood (Saturday 25 November)
In a special film screening and discussion event, actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan reflects on his extraordinary journey from fighting in Sri Lanka’s civil war as a teenage soldier to starring in Jacques Audiard’s 2016 Palme d’Or winning Dheepan (Saturday 25 November)
American political activist and author Kevin Powell discusses his latest book, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood (Friday 24 November)
A screening of critically-acclaimed documentary Arctic Superstar, followed by a talk from its star Nils Rune Utsi, also known as Slincraze, one of the only rappers from the Sami community (Saturday 25 November)
A night of stand-up comedy as leading comedians take an irreverent look at what being a man means today with Mawaan Rizwan, Kae Kurd, Daliso Chaponda and Prince Abdi (Saturday 25 November)

2017 panel discussions highlights include:
More Than Talking - comedian & CALM campaigner Jack Rooke and Edinburgh comedy performer Richard Gadd explore men and mental health (Friday 24 November)
Grime to Classical: Men and Music - a panel discussion exploring the role that music plays in shaping male identity with Jeffrey Boayke, author of Hold Tight: Black Masculinity, Millennials and the Meaning of Grime and rapper Slincraze (Friday 24 November)
From Trump to Trudeau: Masculinity in Power - from ‘strong-men’ politicians like Trump and Putin to a new wave of male politicians such as Macron and Trudeau, a panel of politicians, authors and experts discuss the role of masculinity in power (Sunday 26 November)
Beyond the Headlines: Masculinity in the Middle East - a panel of Middle Eastern men from the diaspora, journalists and experts discuss what it means to be a man in the Middle East today, with speakers including Gulwali Passarlay, an Afghan political refugee and author (Sunday 26 November)
Manhood: Body Image - Laura Dodsworth, author of Manhood: The Bare Reality and poet Andrew McMillan discuss male body image (Saturday 25 November)
More than Male: Sex, Identity and Masculinity - a panel discussion celebrating the pluralities of masculinity and exploring what it means to be a gay, bisexual or transgender man today (Sunday 26 November)

BAM - Being a Man festival was launched in 2014 and ties in with International Men's Day (Sunday 19 November 2017). Themes of the festival also tie in with Southbank Centre's year-long programme exploring Nordic arts and culture, Nordic Matters.

Ted Hodgkinson, Lead Programmer for BAM - Being a Man festival, Southbank Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to present a line-up of incredible authors, comedians, artists and activists for the fourth edition of Being a Man festival. Since its launch in 2014, the festival has led on changing everyday narratives for men for the better, and we’ve seen this mirrored in the media and beyond. This year promises to break new ground, and be a thought-provoking, inspiring and fun weekend, exploring the things that make a man and the things we inherit, believe and learn along the way. It’s a global journey that stretches from the UK, across the Nordic countries, to the Middle East and beyond.”


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