If you know of the ROUNDHOUSE, you might know it as an iconic music and arts venue in Camden, North London. Since the 1960s, the ROUNDHOUSE has opened up space for creativity to empower people and communities day in, night out. From legendary nights with David Bowie and Jimmy Hendrix to the punk explosion in the 70s with Patti Smith and The Ramones, we’ve been at the heart of counter-culture for nearly 60 years.
To this day, we still host world-famous musicians and iconic events but we also create and curate our own shows in a pioneering programme of live music, theatre, spoken word and circus which includes our flagship arts festivals, Roundhouse Rising, The Last Word and In the Round.
Alongside live events, harnessing the creativity of young people and new artists is built into our DNA. Through our ambitious youth programme, 11-30 year-olds can take part in creative opportunities or use affordable studio space that can ignite a passion, develop skills or help them turn their creativity into a career.
For over 20 years, we have equipped young people with the skills to succeed in the creative industries, working with tens of thousands of young creatives. Plus, we count an Oscar winner, Mercury Prize winner, and a British Podcast Award winner in our alumni. Of course we can’t take all the credit for their success but what they all tell us is how the ROUNDHOUSE gave them confidence, the space to create, develop their skills and grow their creative community.
This is an exciting year as we’re about to dramatically expand our work at a time when young people need us more than ever. Alongside the Roundhouse Studios, which are home to 24 state-of-the-art studios underneath the main auditorium, we have just launched ROUNDHOUSE WORKS, a new creative centre for young people at the heart of our creative campus. ROUNDHOUSE WORKS provides space and facilities to support young people to turn their creativity into a career, something that’s needed by young people and the creative sector itself.
The creative industries are booming, contributing £109bn to the economy in 2021*, rebounding strongly after the pandemic. However, the industry is crying out for diverse talent, with a shortage of workers expected in many industries. Despite the need for creative talent, the challenges blocking young people from making a career have become increasingly acute, including the cost-of-living crisis.
*Arts and the creative industries: A case for strategy, December 2022 (https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/arts-and-creative-industries-the-case-for-a-strategy/)
ROUNDHOUSE WORKS is responding to these challenges by offering young creatives aged 18-30, affordable membership alongside financial assistance with other costs such as travel or childcare, as well as holistic support from our in-house youth workers. We also connect young creatives with professionals across the creative industries to provide mentoring, helping young people to gain skills and experience, whilst also forming industry partnerships to aid progression routes into the sector.
As well as developing well-known talent and creative leaders, we support young people to develop creative skills that benefit them in all walks of life – helping to improve their confidence, communication skills and self-esteem. 70 percent of our alumni said that their time with us had improved their transferable skills and they overwhelmingly attribute their time at the Roundhouse with supporting them into education, training or employment with 91% saying it helped them take that next step**.
ROUNDHOUSE WORKS will double the number of 11-30 year-olds we currently work with each year to 15,000. The new building houses a bespoke large music studio, a triple height studio for circus and performance, a large multiuse studio for workshops, and a dedicated podcast studio run by Transmission Roundhouse.
It also includes the Inflexion Workspace, an affordable workspace for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Members of ROUNDHOUSE WORKS will be provided with one-to-one mentorship with industry experts and have access to a series of networking events and workshops which have been piloted over the past three years with partners including international law firm Taylor Wessing.
ROUNDHOUSE WORKS is designed by Patrick Dillon architect, with Allies and Morrison and Reed Watts architects. It has also achieved the highly sought-after BREEAM ʻExcellentʼ sustainability accreditation which will put its environmental performance in the top 10 percent of all new non-domestic buildings in the UK.
ROUNDHOUSE WORKS has been funded by private trusts, individuals and corporate donations with principal support from the Inflexion Foundation and Simon Turner with the generous donation of the land from the Norman Trust.
Like us, our funders believe that only by investing in young people can we ensure that the UK reaches its creative potential and ROUNDHOUSE WORKS is a huge step-change for us to achieve this. As our local MP, Sir Keir Starmer, said when he helped us launch the building, “ROUNDHOUSE WORKS is a great example of the level of ambition we need across the country to equip the next generation with the skills and support they need to succeed in the arts.”
**Roundhouse Creating Futures report, November 2020 (https://roundhouse-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/File/16153.pdf)