The Roundhouse is a performing arts and concert venue situated at the Grade II* listed former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, London, England.
The Roundhouse is an iconic and highly versatile theatre space, used for live music, circus and cabaret, theatre, spoken word and opera. This unique cylindrical structure was built in 1847 as a railway shed by Robert Dockray for Robert Stephenson. It has existed in its current incarnation since 2006. The extensive 2004–06 redevelopment revealed much of the original building’s beauty and introduced a state-of-the-art centre for 11–25-year-olds, the Paul Hamlyn Roundhouse Studios, in the old undercroft.
The Roundhouse was originally built to service train engines of Euston station, providing 24 booths for engines and an undercroft for engineers. By the 1860s, longer engines meant the building became defunct, and from 1869 it was used by Gilbey’s Gin as a warehouse. In the 1960s, playwright Arnold Wesker launched a campaign to create an accessible cultural hub, and the Roundhouse reopened as an arts venue in 1966. In the following decades the Roundhouse hosted gigs and theatre productions by Britain’s leading bands and artists, but was forced to close in 1983 through lack of funds. It lay derelict until Torquil Norman and the Norman Trust acquired the building in 1996.
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