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DATES: 13th February - 2nd June 2019 (except 12th May)
OPENING: every day during the school holidays and weekends
ENTRY TIMES: 10.15, 11.15, 12.15, 13.15, 14.15, 15.15, 16.15
LOCATION: Royal Festival Hall, Exhibition Space, Level 1
RUN TIME: 45 mins

Lagooby square play

Lagooby - one of the seven Soundpits that will be installed at Southbank Centre. Learn about development of Soundpit at the National Science and Media Museum by clicking the play icon on this image...

Have you ever wondered what sound feels like? Or what music looks like?
Run your hands through the sand, or even walk across it. Play in giant sandpits illuminated by beautiful graphics, creating music with your own movements. You are the composer of your own masterpiece. Through play, children and adults can explore their individual sense of sound, vision and touch. For those interested in art and music, and those who simply enjoy sensory play, this is a fun, interactive experience.

The creation of artist Di Mainstone, developed in collaboration with musicians Architects of Rosslyn and creative technologists Wetgenes, Soundpit is expressive play for all ages.

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Hebe and William playing in Soundpit at the Salford Science Jam

Southbank Centre have brought previous iterations of Soundpit exhibited in Salford and Bradford to the Royal Festival Hall. To celebrate this installation, the team developed a new original Soundpit character called Pangra to join the Soundpit family. Inspired by Southbank Centre’s resident Gamelan (a Javanese percussion orchestra), Di and the team have created original sounds and visuals for a new soundpit - opening for Imagine Children's Festival 2019 at the Southbank Centre.
Very special thanks to:
Southbank Centre, Kate Chadwick, Andrew Lock, Dr Sophie Ransby and George Ackerley


Soundpit team Kate, George and Di get a lesson from Gamelan guru Sophie!


One half of Architects of Rosslyn - Mandy Wigby records Sophie as she plays the Gamelan. These recordings are used to develop the new Soundpit character 'Pangra'.

To develop a new Soundpit character, Di creates a unique personality, which she writes up with accompanying visuals. Musicians Mandy Wigby and Howard Jacobs (Architects of Rosslyn) then create soundscapes inspired by each personality. Sound, visuals and motion capture technology are brought together by creative technologists Shi and Kriss Blank (Wetgenes). Original Soundpit iterations were developed with Paul Miller and producer Annie Keane.

Soundpit Sketch1

One of Di's first sketches used to pitch Soundpit to the European City of Science

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Visitors playing in the Soundpit at the Salford Science Jam, European City of Science

“I was curious about the phenomena of synaesthesia which is when a sensation in one of the senses triggers a sensation in another. I wanted to see if we could create a musical machine that would allow people to see and touch sound as well as hear it. Sand seemed to be the perfect tactile interface” DI MAINSTONE

Obsessed with finding a way to make music with sand Di found a golden opportunity when she was awarded the Artist in Residence position for the European City of Science, Manchester 2016. A cross-disciplinary team was formed and Soundpit was developed in a live laboratory during Manchester's Science in the City festival, with input from musicians, coders, neuroscientists and members of the public. The final Soundpit installation was shown during Manchester Science Festival at the Salford University's Science Jam. Dr Annie Keane, Director of the European City of Science 2016 saw potential in Soundpit and has continued to be our project mentor ever since. Thank you Annie :-)


Supersenses Exhibition at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

The second version of Soundpit was developed with the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford with curator John O'Shea and producer Kate Davies as part of their Supersenses exhibition. Concepts for new Soundpit characters were developed through collaborative workshops with groups of school children, supported by Arts Council England.

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About Di Mainstone
Di Mainstone is an artist and researcher who creates interactive musical instruments and installations that combine sculpture, music, dance, technology. Di is also a filmmaker and often incorporates her sculptures into the narrative, creating her own costumes. Di's work has been exhibited and performed internationally. She is a Wired Innovation Fellow and the founder of the widely acclaimed Human Harp - a musical device that transforms suspension bridges into giant harps so that people can play them.

About The Architects of Rosslyn
The Architects Of Rosslyn are Mandy Wigby and Howard Jacobs both of whom are professional musicians, music facilitators and producers in their own right. They began working together due to a shared interest in using music in collaboration with other media and art forms. Combining their skills in
instrumental playing, sound and music production, and composition across many genres, Mandy and Howard have been able to develop their music and creative responses in a variety of situations, from film and television, to live performance.

About Shi & Kriss Blank (Wetgenes)
Long-term collaborators, the Bradford-based duo are both self-taught and fierce believers of simple, open and accessible tech. They seek to demystify and share their knowledge with those as curious.

About Paul Miller

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