Arts world celebrates as work finally starts to revive the Roundhouse

The venue made famous by seminal performances by Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd is to be resurrected, 21 years after closing its doors.

Work started yesterday on a £28m regeneration of the Roundhouse in Camden, north London, which hosted the Doors' only UK gig.

Juliet Stevenson, the actress; Nick Mason of Pink Floyd; Suggs of Madness and the film director Terry Gilliam - all with strong north London ties - wore hard hats to get the building under way. The aim is to create a state-of-the-art centre to train stars of the future and present today's big names.

The central auditorium - where Anthony Hopkins and Marianne Faithfull once appeared in Tony Richardson's Hamlet and where the police raided the show Oh! Calcutta! to investigate the nudity - will again play host to circuses and physical theatre companies such as Complicite.

Up to 10,000 13- to 25-year-olds will get the chance each year to develop their own creative skills in fully-equipped TV and radio studios and rehearsal rooms.

The rescue plans have been years in development. Stevenson, who first went to the Roundhouse when she was a student at Rada, said she had long "lived in terror that someone would get their hands on it and turn it into a shopping mall".

Instead, after years of ambitious schemes that never got off the ground, the Roundhouse was bought in 1996 for about £3m by Torquil Norman, a wealthy toy manufacturer.

He developed a dual-purpose vision for the building to incorporate an educational element. It was based partly on his concern that modern schooling was sacrificing creativity for success in examinations. "It seemed a quixotic voyage in the beginning," he admitted yesterday.

Nick Mason, who performed there with Pink Floyd in 1966, said: "With Torquil it has a long-term future and [it] is probably the best thing that could happen." Stevenson hopes to perform there when the work is done and the venue - with new bars, restaurants and a studio theatre - reopens next year.

But she said it was the "visionary" space for young people that made it more than just another conventional arts centre. "We know the world is full of new young talent, but there aren't a lot of places for that talent to be focused and directed," she said.

Whether it can ever recapture its glory days remains to be seen. Certainly everyone who could remember its heyday grew misty-eyed yesterday.

Terry Gilliam recalled that some of his fondest memories were Roundhouse shows when he first arrived from America in the 1960s. Suggs, who lived in Camden from the age of 12, saw Ian Dury at the Roundhouse and met his wife there.

The Roundhouse was built as a steam-engine repair shed in 1846. It is now Grade II* listed and the restoration plans are supported by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. A further £4m is needed to complete the project.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world