Marcus Davey: the Roundhouse exists for - and because of - the young

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Marcus Davey: the Roundhouse exists for - and because of - the young
13th November 2014

Marcus Davey, OBE, is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The Roundhouse. 

He became Chief Executive in 1999 and landed his appointment as Artistic Director in 2008. 

When Marcus joined, the Roundhouse had a complement of only four staff, which he has built to one hundred and twenty.

A shortage of staff wasn’t the only problem: the building, which began life as a Victorian steam-engine repair shed and spent a while as a gin distillery, was in need of complete refurbishment. 

Under his tenure, the Roundhouse has established itself as one of London’s premier live music venues. It stages theatre, baller, dance, circus, installations and new media and does so as a charity. It is well loved by locals and beyond - so much so, it was unaffected during the London riots, despite surrounding buildings being burned, trashed and looted. 

Marcus is a keen advocate for young people and has overseen a young creatives programme which supports under-25s. 

In 2010, he was appointed to the London Council of Arts Council England. In 2011, he received his OBE in recognition of his services to the Arts.

Marcus begins by detailing the history of the Roundhouse, and the important work it presently undertakes to involve and aid those from underpriviledged backgrounds. He gives examples of the kind of work the 3000-capacity venue hosts, including a screening of There Will Be Blood, which took four years to prep and boasted a live orchestra performing not only the musical score, but the entire soundscape. 



The Roundhouse ethos, says Marcus, is “if you’re not actively engaging people, you’re actively disengaging them”, which is why every year a hundred and fifty tonnes of sand are lifted onto the roof of the Roundhouse to create a beach which draws crowds who would not otherwise visit an arts centre. Marcus explains the positive influence the Roundhouse can have once people are involved with the Roundhouse.



Young people are thoroughly involved almost every aspect of the Roundhouse. Marcus explains how one quiet conversation with one person led to a show, a tour and a refreshed perspective on LGBT rights. 



Marcus was offered the role at only 31. Given the daunting task, and the great many challenges which presented themselves, many would have likely shied away from the role. Marcus tells Amol what attracted him to the role, why he was immediately enamoured by it and the artistic vision he had for the Roundhouse. 



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