Home » Exhibitions » ABBA : Super Troupers at the Southbank Centre – 14th December 2017 to 29th April 2018

ABBA : Super Troupers at the Southbank Centre – 14th December 2017 to 29th April 2018

Photo -Vic Frankowski

Southbank Centre and Entertainment Exhibitions International AB, in association with ABBA The Museum in Stockholm explores the world of chart-topping Swedish pop sensations ABBA in a brand new, immersive exhibition that charts their music, lyrics, creative process, and irrefutable influence as one of the world’s most iconic pop bands.

Photo -Vic Frankowski

Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA  launched the exhibition which has been eagerly awaited by the large fan base of the Swedish quartet.

 Photo -Vic Frankowski

ABBA: Super Troupers recreates the extraordinary rise to worldwide fame and legacy of ABBA (Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad), set against the shifting socio-economic and political conditions of the time. Transforming the  traditional exhibition experience, immersive guided tours include an audio narrative voiced by Jarvis Cocker and written by journalist and documentary maker Jude Rogers. Visitors (in groups of no more than 16) are transported on a journey through nine rooms recreating significant moments from ABBA’s heyday and containing over 120 archive objects from ABBA The Museum and private archives, many being shown for the first time in the UK.

Photo -Vic Frankowski

ABBA’s original costumes, handwritten notes and sketches, personal photographs, music and instruments, memorabilia and film are embedded into theatrical “sets” charting the success of the global pop sensation from their individual careers to their Eurovision Song Contest win and subsequent international stardom, as they topped the music charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.

Photo -Vic Frankowski

Recreations of the Brighton hotel suite where ABBA celebrated their Eurovision win, the Polar music recording studio, a Swedish forest folk park, caravans backstage at the Sydney Showgrounds during their 1977 Australian tour, a 1970s disco  and more  provide context to the evolution of their creative process and their enduring appeal. 

The exhibition goes beyond the surface to examine the serious stories behind the unforgettable lyrics and tunes, the band’s innovative multi-layered sound and their pioneering approach to music videos. 

Photo -Vic Frankowski

The exhibition begins in an early 1970s British living room typical of the era, and explores examples of their UK success, from Eurovision memorabilia and fan club merchandise to hand-notated music manuscripts used by BBC musicians for ABBA’s Top of the Pops performances and puppets of the band members created by London’s Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. 

Photo -Vic Frankowski

Other materials shown for the first time in the UK include personal memorabilia of the individual band members pre-ABBA: photographs of Frida taking singing lessons and a 13-year old Agnetha at the piano; doodles by Benny on show-notes from their early folk and cabaret days; and candid shots of them taken during their international tours. The exhibition also features some of the most iconic outfits worn by the band, designed by their long-time collaborator Owe Sandström.

On a shoestring budget, the Swedish director Lasse Hallström used a variety of directorial techniques to maintain the band’s international popularity without having to leave Stockholm, demonstrated in the exhibition by an original video reel of ‘Money, Money, Money’.

Highlights from their tour archive include a gold and white cape from ABBA’s 1977 Australian tour still bearing the marks of rain-stains from the torrential downpour that caused Frida to slip on stage.

 Visitors will also be able to interact with musical tracks in a recreation of the engine room of the ABBA sound – Polar Studios recording studio, formed in 1978 by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and ABBA’s manager Stig Anderson. Original archive includes Agnetha and Frida’s brown leather headphones (as seen in the video for ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’), Björn’s acoustic guitar, and mixing desks and recording equipment, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about the techniques used to create ABBA’s famous multi-layered sound.

A pop-up ABBA shop, courtesy of ABBA The Museum, Stockholm, is located on Level 2 of the Royal Festival Hall.

For more information , visit the Southbank Centre website here

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