Hattie Lloyd 20/05/23
You never know what’s just around the corner…
…so your safest bet is probably to stay in the Roundhouse.
Though you never quite know what’s round the corner here, either – a vast, quirky performance venue on the fringes of Camden Market, it’s made a name for itself as a home to big names, alternative festivals and avant-garde theatre.
Housed in a former train depot where carriages could be rotated and sent off on different tracks, the Roundhouse was transformed from a glorified shed to Camden’s home of culture and performance back in 1966. The opening night hosted a launch party for a radical independent newspaper, with a poster that promised strip, trips and a drag ball, and live performances from some crazy young fellas who called themselves Pink Floyd. It set the tone for the venue’s whole ethos – the sixties were awash with iconic bands like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who; the seventies home to trippy circus, Shakespeare and ‘the nudest show on earth’; and today, following their 50th anniversary, the programme is just as eclectic.
The main performance space is a spacious yet intimate-feeling circular arena that still sports the original cast iron pillars from its industrial days. Tucked around the peripheries of the hall itself are several bars and cafés to keep you fed and watered pre- and post-show, with a pop up kitchen run by Sessions, the people behind Neighbourhood in Islington. They’re all about giving up-and-coming chefs a platform, and right now they’ve installed Little Bao Boy at the Roundhouse to showcase his mouthwateringly fluffy buns.
The live gig programme is a refreshing mix of impressive headliners, hand-picked up and coming artists, and niche bands with cult followings. Recently the stage has hosted a collaboration between Sting & Shaggy (I’ll be watching you… but it wasn’t me); the return of disco queens Sister Sledge; Imogen Heap; Gary Newman and even falsetto glam rockers The Darkness.
The Roundhouse is, er, kicking off 2023 with a couple of big hitters – don’t miss the spoken word festival, The Last Word, or this summer’s inaugural Roundhouse Comedy Festival, with sets from big names like Katherine Ryan, Dylan Moran, Sophie Duker and many others.
Should be a laugh.
NOTE: The Roundhouse bars and cafés are open daily from 9.30am, with performances on most evenings. You can find out what’s coming up, and book, on their website HERE.
Roundhouse | Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
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Chalk Farm Road, Camden, North London, NW1 8EH
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