literature & poetry

City Central: An Express Tour of Europe

This event has been rescheduled as we are currently closed due to the coronavirus crisis: all tickets are valid for the new date.

All aboard for an exhilarating whistle-stop tour of unseen Europe in its premiere performance, using music and words, images and film to light up the continent in all its diversity.

Sheffield’s once-glorious industrial past, the gritty urban high rises of contemporary Amsterdam, the Afropean music of Brussels and Lisbon’s vibrant black community hidden from tourists: City Central stops at surprising calling points.

Author of Afropean Johny Pitts is joined by Benin City’s poet Joshua Idehen and musicians Tom Leaper and Shanaz Dorsett as your tour guides along the way.

This multi-genre journey starts with a rare screening from the iconic BBC documentary series Arena of Mizike Mama, a film about pioneering all-female band Zap Mama, whose frontwoman Marie Daulne coined the term 'Afropean' with David Byrne.

City Central provides a fascinating insight into multicultural Europe from the 1990s to today.

Johny Pitts is the author of the non-fiction book Afropean: Journeys in Black Europe. Called a revelation by Owen Jones, it’s an on-the-ground documentary of areas where Europeans of African descent are juggling their multiple allegiances and forging new identities.

Tagged as ‘one to watch’ by The Guardian, Benin City are the acclaimed band named after a Nigerian capital, who are known for their genre-bending musicality. They are about to release their third album.

A Speaking Volumes Production in collaboration with Southbank Centre funded by Arts Council England.

Dates & times

9 Mar 2021
Approximate run time: 150 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Purcell Room


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 16+

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.

Event information
Film duration: 1.05 hours (including introduction)
Live show duration: 1 hour