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© Annique DelphineColdplay at the iTunes Music Festival 2011

Time Out says

This brick behemoth is a place to soak up Camden's radical past and present

This aptly-named Camden landmark has decades of radical theatre and music history behind it: its round brick walls have been rocked by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors, and it staged theatre critic Kenneth Tynan's scandalous nude revue 'Oh Calcutta' in 1969. These days things are a little more sedate, but it still plays host to an eclectic range of big-name music acts from Alex G and Stereolab to Pavement. 

Constructed in 1846 as a turntable shed for the London and Birmingham railway, the Roundhouse – a Grade II-listed building – has a long and illustrious history, including spells as a liquor warehouse and long periods of disuse. But it came into its own as a legendary music venue in the '60s/'70s, when it hosted radical happenings of every flavour. Work on the extensive overhaul/refurbishment began in 2004 and it reopened in 2006 as a modern arts and mixed-media performance space with strong community bias. The main room benefits from a high domed ceiling and Victorian metal 'ribs', and a flexible auditorium that can house seated audiences for theatre or cabaret shows, or standing crowds for gigs. 


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What’s on

In the Round at the Roundhouse

  • Festivals

Camden’s iconic circular arts venue The Roundhouse is once again hosting a varied selection of excellent music artists across the seventh edition of its ‘In the Round’ festival. Originally built as a railway turntable back in the 19th century, it turned out the shape of Chalk Farm’s cylindrical brick building gave it pretty stunning acoustics, and this ten-day fest uses its tubular shape to full effect, staging a unique line-up of bespoke shows, one-off collaborations and surprise gigs designed to immerse you in eclectic sounds and get you closer to your favourite artists. Artists on the programme include Tirzah, Lucy Rose, Samara Joy and The Songs of Joni Mitchell featuring Emeli Sandé, Eska, Kate Stables (This Is The Kit), Lail Arad, Sam Amidon, and Vashti Bunyan, hosted by Cerys Matthew. 

The Last Word Festival

  • Literary events

Due to take over north London’s iconic Roundhouse throughout June, The Last Word Festival is back for its brilliant eleventh edition. The fest is one of the best in the UK for championing exciting voices and emerging talent in the world of spoken word, and what better live venue could there be to host it? This year, there’ll be poetry slam heats, where 18-25 year olds can compete for a cash prize, and a session called ‘redacted’ where poems are created by removing words from articles, chapters or magazines, plus much, much more.

Fuerza Bruta: Aven

  • Experimental

After a decade or so away, cult Argentine physical spectacular Fuerza Bruta returns to London in a new guise. Following the brooding machismo of its previous incarnation, ‘Aven’ is, apparently, an upbeat burst of sunshine and light: ‘we abandoned any note of darkness, we got rid of every trace of intellectual or aggressive strife. And we decided to create the happiest show we have ever done’, quoth artistic director Diqui James. Exactly what this looks like we’ll find out in the summer of 2024 when it returns to the Roundhouse; but regardless of the new, sunnier vibes, ‘Aven’ will surely be a visually stunning tour de force.

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