London’s Roundhouse celebrates 5th anniversary
This June, the Roundhouse celebrates the fifth anniversary of its transformation into one of London’s most vibrant centres for the arts and young people.
Deborah joined the board of the Roundhous in 2009 as a trustee. In the past five years, more than 1.2 million people have seen performances by outstanding artists and companies – from the phenomenal Fuertzabruta, which marked the reopening of the building in 2006 to, more recently, Bob Dylan, Shirley Bassey, the RSC and David Byrne’s installation Playing the Building. There have also been ground-breaking festivals: CircusFest, presenting the cream of the contemporary circus world; Reverb, offering a new approach to classical music; Roundhouse Rising, an explosion of emerging music; and Turning Point, curated entirely by under 25s.
"The born-again Roundhouse is still just a baby. Only five years old. But, what it has achieved in that short space of time would make any established theatre weep with envy" Terry Gilliam.
Built in 1846 by Robert Stephenson as a railway engine repair shed, the building re-opened on 1 June 2006 in a design by John McAslan & Partners. It was the vision of local businessman, Sir Torquil Norman – who set up the Roundhouse Trust – to put young people at the very heart of the organisation and so the redevelopment includes a creative centre offering 11-25s access to state-of-the-art facilities, including TV, radio and music production studios, media suites and rehearsal rooms.
Each year the Roundhouse works with over 3,000 11-25s – many of whom have been excluded, marginalised or disadvantaged by society. Some have experienced extreme difficulty, while others are just passionate about the arts, but all are offered a chance to fulfill ambitions, find their way back into education, gain confidence or, in some cases, truly transform their lives.
Young people are on the Main Board of Trustees and they help plan and perform at events. It’s the interaction between artists and young people that makes the Roundhouse unique – they’ve interviewed Paul McCartney for Roundhouse Radio, filmed a documentary on NoFit State circus, and worked with Apple to deliver live streaming of events.
Marcus Davey, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, says:
‘It’s been a remarkable five years for the Roundhouse and we’re now looking forward to the next five. In particular, we want to increase the number of Roundhouse-produced shows, and we’re having conversations about how we widen our reach online and work with other organisations around the world who share our ambitions for the arts and young people. With 11-25s increasingly integrated into everything we do, this really is an exciting time for young people to get involved.’