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THM/271 - Round House and Open Space, theatre companies : records

Round House and Open Space, theatre companies : records

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This material is held at V&A Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271
Dates of Creation1962-1983
Name of Creator Round House Open Space
Language of Material English
Physical Description 1707 files

Scope and Content

This collection is made up of the records of the Round House, followed by the records of Open Space. The records of the Round House consist of company management, financial and administration records and the records of the management and marketing of individual productions on the Round House main stage and Downstairs, art exhibitions and other events, including photographs and plans for individual productions. The records of Open Space consist of company management, financial and administration records and records of the management and marketing of individual productions, including photographs and plans.

Administrative / Biographical History

This archive collection deals with the theatre company housed in the Roundhouse building from the late 1960s to 1983. The collection also includes material relating to another theatre company, Open Space, that had some administrative overlap with the Round House. There follows some historical details on the two companies.

The Roundhouse was built in 1847 to house the turntable at the terminus of the London and North Western Railway, however within 15 years of its completion, engines had become too long for the turntable. In the early 1860s it was converted into a good shed and in 1869 leased to W & A Gilbey Ltd as a liquor store. Arnold Wesker had founded Centre 42 in 1960, named after Resolution 42 of the 1960 Trade Union Congress, which called upon the Trade Union movement to participate more fully in the arts. Centre 42 was incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee on 4 September 1961 and it was granted Charitable Status on 6 October 1961. With the assistance of Jennie Lee (later Baroness Lee), Harold Wilson (then Leader of the Opposition), George Hoskins and Lord Harewood he attempted convert the Roundhouse into a permanent home for Centre 42. The property had been acquired by Louis Mintz and Alec Colman who were persuaded to donate the 16 year lease to Centre 42. A formal appeal was launched in July 1964 but failed, due to a lack of support from the Arts Council, the Government and the Trade Union movement and because there was no certainty of obtaining the freehold at the end of the short lease. In 1965 Hoskins advised that the Round House Trust should be formed to hold the leasehold interest in the Roundhouse and to separate the funds raised from debts incurred by Centre 42.

In November 1966 a Council of Management was formed, with Wesker as Artistic Director, Hoskins as General Administrator, Robert Maxwell as Hon. Treasurer and Mike Henshaw as Hon. Secretary. In July 1967 nearly GBP 80,000 was subscribed during a tea party at 10 Downing Street. Also negotiations had been completed with British Rail to buy the freehold of the property for GBP 27,500. From 1967 to 1968 the building was used as a studio by film companies and as a venue for rock concerts. The first theatrical event was Peter Brook's production of Themes on the Tempest in July 1968. In 1970 Wesker resigned after his play The Friends closed and Oh! Calcutta! was brought in. The Round House became a London base for several companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Cambridge Footlights, the Lindsay Kemp Company, Prospect Theatre Company, Manchester Royal Exchange and the Oxford Playhouse. Hoskins stood down in 1977 due to ill health and Thelma Holt, formerly of the Open Space Theatre Company, took over as Director. The Round House Trust went into liquidation in 1983 and the building was bought by Camden Council and the Greater London Council.

Camden Playhouse Productions Ltd, trading as the Open Space Theatre Company began in 1958 as In-Stage in the studio theatre of the British Drama League in Fitzroy Street, London. In 1968 Charles Marowitz became Artistic Director and Thelma Holt the Executive Director. The theatre was based in a disused old people's home at 32 Tottenham Court Road and used a flat at 30 Tottenham Court Road as an office. Open Space functioned as a club requiring membership to attend events. Open Space put on many of Marowitz's adaptation as well as works by August Strindberg, Howard Barker and Samuel Beckett. In 1976 the Tottenham Court Road theatre was closed as EMI were developing the whole block. The theatre moved to temporary premises on Euston Road, while EMI built them a new theatre. Holt resigned in 1977 and took over the Round House. The Euston Road venue closed in 1979 and as EMI did not honour their promise, Open Space was homeless. A final season was put on at the Round House, before the company folded in 1980.

Arrangement

These records have been arranged chronologically in the following sub-fonds, identifying each series as relating to the Round House or Open Space:

  • THM/271/1 - Round House Company Management records
  • THM/271/2 - Round House Event Management records, including production management
  • THM/271/3 - Round House Photographs
  • THM/271/4 - Round House Audio materials
  • THM/271/5 - Round House Press and Marketing records
  • THM/271/6 - Round House Buildings and Estates records
  • THM/271/7 - Open Space Company Management and Finance records
  • THM/271/8 - Open Space Production Management records
  • THM/271/9 - Open Space Photographs
  • THM/271/10 - Open Space Audio materials
  • THM/271/11 - Open Space Press and Marketing records
  • THM/271/12 - Open Space Fundraising records
  • THM/271/13 - Open Space Buildings and Estates records
  • THM/271/14 - Unidentified Photographs

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for consultation in the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance's Reading Room, which is located at Blythe House, 23 Blythe Rd, Olympia, London, W14 0QX. The Reading Room is open Tuesday to Friday between 10.15 am and 4.30 pm. Access to it is by appointment only. To request an appointment please email tmenquiries@vam.ac.uk or telephone 020 7942 2698.

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Conditions Governing Use

Archive material may not be photocopied. Arrangements can be made to photograph material in the reading room using non-flash photography.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Thelma Holt and Charles Marowitz, 2002.

Custodial History

Open Space records were given on loan to the Polytechnic of North London (now London Metropolitan University) in 1980 after the company closed. Round House records were also given on loan to the Polytechnic of North London when they closed in 1983. Due to their shared custodial history and some potential overlap in their administrative histories, these two archives have been kept together under one reference. However, each series (with the exception of the unidentified photographs) is clearly identified as being related to the Round House or Open Space.

Accruals

No further accruals expected.

Related Material

See also V&A Department of Theatre and Performance Core Collections: material relating to the Round House and Open Space may be found in several collections, including Theatre and Performance production files, company files, theatre buildings files, biographical files for related persons, and photographs. Please ask for details.

Scripts have been removed and transferred to the V&A Theatre Collections library. Programmes and flyers have been removed and transferred to the V&A Theatre Collections Core Collections.

Bibliography

  1. Schiele, Jinnie. Off-Centre Stages: Fringe Theatre at the Open Space and the Round House 1968-1983. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, The Society for Theatre Research, 2005. xvi, 240 p., ill. ISBN 1902806425.

Subjects

Theater - England - London - History - 20th century
Theater management

Personal Names

Thelma Holt
Charles Marowitz

Corporate Names

Round House Theatre Company, London
Open Space Theatre Company, London

Cataloguing Info

Title Round House and Open Space, theatre companies : records
Sub-titleCatalogue of records in the Victoria & Albert Museum: Department of Theatre and Performance
AuthorCatalogued by Vaila Holbourn
Revisions

Round House Company Management records

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1
Dates of Creation1969-1982
Physical Description 6 files

Scope and Content

Company diaries and company history file.


Round House Company Management files

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1
Dates of Creation1978-1982
Physical Description 6 files

Company diary for 1978

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/1
Dates of Creation1978
Physical Description 1 folder

Company diary for 1979

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/2
Dates of Creation1979
Physical Description 1 folder

Company diary for 1980

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/3
Dates of Creation1980
Physical Description 1 folder

Company diary for 1981

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/4
Dates of Creation1981
Physical Description 1 folder

Company diary for 1982

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/5
Dates of Creation1982
Physical Description 1 folder

File on the history of the Round House

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/1/1/6
Dates of Creation1969-1977
Physical Description 1 folder

Round House Event Management records, including production management

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2
Dates of Creation1970-1983
Physical Description 783 files

Scope and Content

Includes material on the management of productions, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, poetry readings, children's activities and other events at the Round House main stage and Downstairs.


Round House production files

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1
Dates of Creation1970-1983
Physical Description 386 files

Scope and Content

Material relating to productions and other events at the Round House main stage. Information on contracts and finances can also be found in Contracts and box office files (THM/271/2/3).


Production file for The Friends by Arnold Wesker

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/1
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Beowulf

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/2
Dates of Creation1970-1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.


Production file for Oh! Calcutta! written and directed by Kenneth Tynan

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/3
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Royal Shakespeare Company, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Richard III and Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, directed by Peter Brook, Terry Hands and Trevor Nunn

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/4
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for the Minos Volonakis Christmas show

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/5
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.


Production file for Catch My Soul written by Jack Good, directed by Michael Elliot

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/6
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for The Black Box written and directed by John Epstein

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/7
Dates of Creation1970
Physical Description 2 folders

Scope and Content

Also includes related material regarding Christmas show.


Production file for Jonathan Cape Ltd Ball

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/8
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for Rabelais written and directed by Jean-Louis Barrault

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/9
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for Confrontation in the Roman Forum written by Hans Feuls, directed by Warren Jenkins

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/10
Dates of Creation1970-1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for Maybe That's Your Problem written by Lionel Chetwynd, directed by Charles Dennis

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/11
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for Beba Lavrin exhibition

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/12
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.


Production file for Titus Andronicus written by William Shakespeare, directed by Keith Hack

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/13
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Poets' Poets and Barrow Poets

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/14
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for Pork written and directed by Andy Warhol

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/15
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Skyvers written by Barry Reckord, directed by Pam Brighton

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/16
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Daren Barnett event

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/17
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Production file for 1789 by Le Theatre du Soleil, directed by Ariane Mnouchkine

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/18
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Godspell written by Stephen Schwartx, directed by John-Michael Tebelak

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/19
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 2 folders

Production file for Prospect Theatre Company, King Lear and Love's Labour's Lost written by William Shakespeare

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/20
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.


Production file for A Voyage in Time and Space, Christmas show by Bruce Lacey

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/21
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.


Production file for Hamlet by Woodfall Ltd

Reference Number(s)GB 71 THM/271/2/1/22
Dates of Creation1971
Physical Description 1 folder

Scope and Content

This event does not appear to have happened.