Student Music & Arts Scene

Students in Southampton enjoy all the facilities of a major city: libraries, theatres, cinemas, museums and art galleries.


As the regional capital for culture, Southampton is home to the best quality performing and visual arts.

The Mayflower Theatre is a major touring venue for opera, ballet, musicals and plays, as well as for comedy performers. The Nuffield Theatre also hosts touring theatre productions of classical and contemporary plays and audiences are often treated to British and world premieres.

There are three cinemas in Southampton – the 13 screen Odeon at Leisureworld, Cineworld down at Ocean Village on Southampton waterfront and the Harbour Lights Picture House, also at Ocean Village. The Harbour Lights Picture House is an essential venue for any film fan, as it offers a diverse range of alternative film entertainment, including Bollywood movies and special theme seasons.


Music lovers are well catered for, with Southampton Guildhall hosting gigs by some of the biggest names in music. Recent headliners include Supergrass, Sugarbabes, Groove Armada, Orbital and Beverley Knight. You can also find some of the best up and coming bands appearing at the Joiners, with established acts regularly playing at the Brook.

The City Art Gallery, Art Asia and the John Hansard Gallery, all house a variety of art, design and media exhibitions and make the city one of the top cities in the UK for art gallery provision.

Southampton is a cultural city with outstanding art galleries, magnificent theatre, live music venues, festivals and art-based events.

Art Galleries

  • Southampton City Art Gallery  is an internationally renowned regional gallery run by Southampton City Council and home to one of the best publicly-owned collections in the UK outside London. The gallery provides a broad programme of exhibitions and activities throughout the year.
  • The John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton is one of the best places to view contemporary and visual art.
  • Solent Showcase is a gallery and exhibition space at Southampton Solent University, featuring contemporary visual art that encourages engagement, discussion and participation with the whole community.
  • Smaller venues such the Art House Gallery and Cafe in Above Bar or the Brompton Gallery in Old Northam feature a range of work by local artists along with workshops and events.


  • The Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre in Southern England, regularly showing West End Shows, musicals, opera and ballet.
  • The Nuffield Theatre at the University of Southampton is equally renowned for the quality and varied programme hosting Shakespeare to contemporary drama.
  • The Hub at Southampton City College offers first class drama by leading companies mixed with raw talent.
  • The Berry Theatre in Hedge End opened in 2011 and offers an innovative programme to the local community from drama to film.
  • The Point in Eastleigh is the region’s venue for contemporary dance and performance including theatre, film and live music.

Music Venues

  • Southampton Guildhall is a multi purpose venue staging major rock, contemporary and classical music events by national touring acts.
  • Turner Sims Concert Hall at the University of Southampton has a reputation for hosting a varied programme including classical, world music and jazz.
  • The Brook in Portswood is an intimate venue where you can get up close an personal with the bands and sing along to classics from the tribute bands.
  • The Joiners in St Marys hosts performances from some big names in rock, punk and metal scenes.
  • Talking Heads in Portswood is known for its open mic nights, comedy and eclectic mix of music.
  • The Cellar in West Marlands Road is the place for Northern Soul, fusion and jazz funk acts.

A number of restaurants and bars host live music nights.

Film Fanatics

If film is your passion, then we recommend the multi-screen Odeon cinema at Leisureworld, or Cineworld cinema at Ocean Village for a brand new blockbuster. For a more intimate cinema experience, visit Harbour Lights Picturehouse cinema which overlooks Ocean Village marina. As well as a select few of the latest blockbusters, you will find a handful of independent and European films to enjoy.

Use the What’s On pages to find out about the latest gigs, exhibitions, performances and leisure activities in the city.


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