I have to start by saying this is the best exhibitions i’ve been to in a long time and not what I expected at all! I had just assumed it was going to be a guided tour of some of the artwork from the original books, but turns out it’s a completely immersive experience. I won’t give a blow by blow account as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t been yet.
Our expedition leader, Chloe, took as on a journey to find the moomins. The tour moves through several set pieces, interweaving both the imaginary land of Moomin Valley and real life places, like her studio, to chronologically reveal how the Moomins evolved from a frightening story Tove’s father told her, to the loveable hippo-shaped creatures she ended up writing about.
Each room shows a different part of Tove’s life and our tour guide (expedition leader) told us how Tove’s relationships, and historic events like the war, influenced the Moomin books – whilst creating our own story of travelling through the Finnish forests to find the Moomins. Original artwork is used throughout the tour to highlight key parts of the story, as well as some original animation and video footage.
Our tour was led by the brilliant Chloe, who clearly has a great enthusiasm for the topic and a talented storyteller. Certain parts of the exhibition are also narrated by Sandy Toksvig, who’s just the perfect choice for these stories.
It’s been a long time since I read the books, so you don’t need to be familiar with the stories to enjoy the exhibition, but awareness of the characters will help you enjoy it more.
- It lasts 50 minutes in total – You must be on time as you can’t get in after it starts, you’ll see why once you’re on the tour
- Some of the sets are quite small, so one to think about if small spaces make you uncomfortable
- There’s no filming or photos allowed (hence why there aren’t any in the blog!)
- Recommend you book tickets in advance as was sold out on the original date we wanted to go
- You can find out more and buy tickets on the Southbank Centre website
- If you’re not familiar with the Southbank Centre, it’s just a five minute walk from Waterloo Station, the exhibition is on level 1