Southbank Sinfonia

Cooltan Arts

In 2013, Southbank Sinfonia held a pilot project with poets from Cooltan Arts. As part of an on-going dedication to engaging with our local community, Southbank Sinfonia had encountered this exceptional organisation run by and for adults with mental distress.

One of the most difficult and tragic effects of mental illness is the social isolation it can cause. Cooltan Arts aims to combat this by creating a supportive and vibrant community for engagement in the arts. Poetry is one of the many art forms explored in regular sessions and the results are powerfully evocative of the many challenges faced by their authors so many of which are common to us all in life.

“We had no idea what to expect, or what exactly we were going to be doing… we were absolutely blown away by the fabulous standard of the poetry the group had produced. They took us on an incredible journey through shimmering jungles, beautiful gardens and intensely personal subject matter. They shared with us a whole spectrum of emotions from elation to despair.”  Luke Russell, Southbank Sinfonia Flute 2013

Southbank Sinfonia’s players worked alongside the poets to support them in performing their works for the first time creating brilliantly vivid and moving performance pieces of words and music with tremendous power to evoke and to heal.


This year the collaboration with Cooltan Arts has expanded, with the performance pieces inspiring further works of art. From a private performance session, a group of skilled Cooltan painters have created a collection inspired by 2014′s poetry collaborations which will be exhibited in St John’s Waterloo during the Waterloo Festival.

Cooltan Poets with Southbank Sinfonia Performance
Take the opportunity to experience this extraordinary journey yourself and join us for the project’s free public performance and a viewing of the exhibition at St John’s Waterloo.

Performance: Thursday 26 June, 11.30am – 12.30pm

Exhibition: Thursday 26 June – Sunday 29 June, open daily.

Click here to download the poems written for this year’s collaboration.

Find out more about Cooltan Arts by visiting their website: