Management at the Royal Court theatre has been holding talks with the consortium planning temporarily to relaunch the former north London rock venue as a music and arts centre later this year.

The Roundhouse is unlikely to be refitted and open full-time until mid-1995. However, from September, it could be used for a revival of the Arnold Wesker play The Kitchen, which sold out earlier this year during its six-week run at the Royal Court.

Theatre staff are keen to arrange the transfer, as the Roundhouse can provide the in-the-round setting the play requires, and because it was at the Chalk Farm venue that Wesker set up his Centre 42 project during the 1960s with the aim of broadening the audience for the arts.

Stephen Daldry, artistic director of the Royal Court, said yesterday he was optimistic that The Kitchen could be staged in the Roundhouse at the end of the summer.

The venue, built in 1847 as a locomotive shed, could be converted from bare shell to temporary theatre with relative ease. The set used for The Kitchen at the Royal Court would be brought out of storage, while seating could be quickly installed.

The Roundhouse closed 11 years ago, despite a succession of massive central and local government grants. It was briefly used as a black arts centre, but has since stood empty apart from the occasional location shoot by TV and film crews.

However the Grade II listed building is said to be in sound condition, thanks largely to considerable investment by Camden council, which spent pounds 4.5m on refurbishment.

Christopher Shaw, managing director of Shaw Corporation, which is working with the consortium, said 'constructive discussions' are taking place between the owners, potential operators and outside pro-moters on how the venue could reopen on a full-time basis.

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