Fifty years since opening as a groundbreaking new arts venue, London’s Roundhouse has announced plans for a major anniversary year. The building, one of the most iconic performance spaces in the world and a state-of-the-art creative centre for young people, will mark three major anniversaries in 2016. In recognition of this momentous year they have announced the intention to add to the physical footprint of the building with a brand new campus as a centre of creative excellence for young people, continuing Sir Torquil Norman’s original mission.
Beginning the landmark year with Akram Khan’s universally critically acclaimed world premiere production of Until the Lions, a brand new intimate music series In the Round and the announcement of the return of UK’s foremost festival of international contemporary circus, Circusfest in April, the venue will celebrate in multiple ways throughout this momentous year.
- ROUNDHOUSE CELEBRATES MAJOR ANNIVERSARIES: 50 YEARS SINCE OPENING AS A MAJOR ARTS CENTRE, 40 YEARS OF PUNK AND 10 YEARS SINCE REFURBISHMENT
- BRAND NEW BUILDING TO ACT AS A CENTRE FOR CREATIVE EXCELLENCE
- ANNIVERSARY YEAR KICKS OFF WITH AKRAM KHAN WORLD PREMIERE AND FIRST EVER ‘IN THE ROUND’MUSIC SERIES
- MAJOR EVENT TO BE ANNOUNCED TO CELEBRATE 50TH BIRTHDAY IN OCTOBER
- CALL OUT FOR ROUNDHOUSE MEMORIES AS PART OF ANNIVERSARY PROJECT
On the 1st June the Roundhouse recognises the 10th anniversary of reopening as a charity following a huge refurbishment. The 9th and 10th July mark 40 years since the Ramones played their seminal gig at the Roundhouse. Followed by the 50th anniversary of the Roundhouse opening as an arts centre on the 15th October, that saw the launch of the radical underground newspaper the International Times. The 50th anniversary will be celebrated with a major event, still to be announced, that will honour its historic role in the UK’s live music and performing arts scene.
Chief Executive and Artistic Director Marcus Davey said: “2016 is a landmark year for the Roundhouse, a year where we have many reasons to celebrate, and what a start to the year it has been. Nearly 50 years ago the Roundhouse opened as a bold, brave new arts venue and we’ve started our anniversary year doing what we do best, programming incredible performances involving young people and emerging artists. And we have so much more to come over the next year. We’re really excited about our future, and the next 50 years of creativity, through offering young people life changing opportunities.”
The Grade II* listed building and former railway engine shed was built in 1846, falling into disuse until reopening as a performing arts venue spearheaded by playwright Arnold Wesker. A cutting-edge arts and seminal live music venue for the next 16 years before it fell into disrepair in 1983. In September 1996 The Norman Trust, led by Sir Torquil Norman, bought the building and set up the Roundhouse Trust.
In 2006 the building reopened following a £30 million refurbishment under the Roundhouse Trust. The Roundhouse was reborn with a mission of providing creative opportunities for young people. Since reopening in 2006 nearly 30,000 young people have benefitted from the centre’s music, performing arts, circus and digital projects. Continuing this mission set out in 2006 to support artists and creatives, the new campus will enable the Roundhouse to expand its extensive work with young people with a purpose built space on the Chalk Farm site.
Since the reopening in 2006, with the electrifying Fuerzabruta, the last decade has seen the Roundhouse commission major site-specific visual art installations by artists Ron Arad, Penny Woolcock and Conrad Shawcross as well as worked on collaborations with The Royal Opera House (Orfeo, Jan 2015), Sadler’s Wells (Akram Khan, Jan 2016) and the Royal Shakespeare Company (2008, 2010/11, 2012) and played host to incredible live music from artists such as Prince, Patti Smith, FKA Twigs and Jay-Z.
As part of the Roundhouse anniversary year the institution have asked the public to get in touch with their memories, from those made at the first infamous gigs in the 1960s, to the present day, seeking stories from the gig goers to the performers and from the staff to the young people who have taken part in creative projects. This will be a central part of a project marking the anniversary year.
Share your story
Take part through social media, tagging @RoundhouseLDN using the hashtag #MyRoundhouseStory on Twitter or Instagram, leave a comment on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/RoundhouseLDN or email submissions to MyRoundhouseStory@Roundhouse.org.uk