Mike Oldfield’s iconic magnum opus, Tubular Bells, will be performed live at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London this summer, in a season of unique performances that are a prelude to the celebration of the masterpiece’s 50th anniversary in 2023. 

Tickets are currently on pre-sale and go on general sale tomorrow (29th).

Starting 7 August through to 15 August, Tubular Bells – Live In Concert, will feature musical direction from Oldfield’s long-time collaborator Robin A. Smith, with the album performed by an expansive live group. The show will be fully seated.

Robin A. Smith has collaborated with Mike Oldfield for three decades including the iconic performances of Tubular Bells at Edinburgh Castle in 1992, and at the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony.

The music will also be brought to life with a visual interpretation by the world-renowned Circa Contemporary Circus, who, led by Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz, have previously animated works by some of the most well-known composers in history including Stravinsky and Mozart. A bold new scenic design will be created for the production by William Reynolds.

On the special season at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, Mike Oldfield reflects: It’s amazing to think that it’s 50 years since I started writing Tubular Bells, and I am touched that my music has reached so many people, all over the world, during that time.

“I have worked with Robin A Smith for almost 30 years, since we presented Tubular Bells together at Edinburgh Castle, through lots of different performances and recordings culminating in the London Olympics in 2012. When I started thinking about reinventing Tubular Bells for live performance with dancers and acrobats—and of course live music, it was Robin who I knew could realise this vision. I am thrilled that this is finally coming to the stage and I trust no one more to reimagine my work in this way.

“I am sure that the 50th anniversary live concert experience of Tubular Bells will be spectacular, theatrical, fantastical and thrilling. I’m so excited it is premiering in 2021, marking 50 years from when I started writing the music and will be touring the world through to 2023, the 50th anniversary of the original album release.”

Robin A. Smith says: “I have been talking to Mike for years about re-inventing Tubular Bells with dramatic visual performance.

“It was 2014 when I first put the idea to him, and he loved it from the start. We’d worked together with Danny Boyle on the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony and well understand how Tubular Bells can work in a theatrical and dramatic setting. 

“It’s very important to always focus on the essence, the very heart of the work and it’s been another wonderful challenge to visualise this with Mike and see Tubular Bells emerge as a powerhouse of a show bursting with energy and magic with the soul of the music perfectly intact.” 

Yaron Lifschitz adds: “Like everyone else, I grew up listening to Tubular Bells. It is a unicorn – a truly unique and singular experience whose impact seems improbable, even magical. So, I was thrilled to be challenged with finding a way to bring it to the stage. I want to celebrate its epic yet intimate sonic universe with the power and majesty of acrobatics. It will be a show that explosively combines raw energy and hypnotic beauty, that is visceral, grungy, glamorous and ultimately transcendental.

Tubular Bells was Oldfield’s debut studio album. He was just 17 years old when he started composing the music, recorded and played almost all of the instruments on the LP. It gained worldwide acclaim when the opening theme was used for the soundtrack of the horror classic, The Exorcist.

Tickets are available at ticketmaster.co.uk / southbankcentre.co.uk