Marcus Davey: Roundhouse Diary

As I have reported in this column before, it was Arnold Wesker (now Sir Arnold) who started the Roundhouse as a centre for the arts. It was his vision, drive and passion that got performances off the ground in 1966. But if it hadn t been for the then owne

As I have reported in this column before, it was Arnold Wesker (now Sir Arnold) who started the Roundhouse as a centre for the arts.

It was his vision, drive and passion that got performances off the ground in 1966.

But if it hadn't been for the then owner of the building, Louis Mintz, certainly nothing would have happened.

It was Mintz who gave the Roundhouse to Wesker so he could set it up as a charitable trust to promote the arts.


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Mintz remained a supporter of Wesker and the Roundhouse throughout his life and his son Richard Mintz has carried on in the same vein.

We see Richard very often and when speaking to him the other day he told me a very funny story about the early days of the Roundhouse's link with the arts.

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His father had set up a board of trustees which included some of the great and the good of the day in the mid-60s.

And, as a young man, Richard met the trustees and sometimes visited them in their homes.

One trustee - and I must explain that we are now a very different organisation and we are a new trust - was Robert Maxwell.

In fact, he was the treasurer right up until the Roundhouse closed in 1983.

Richard remembers visiting his house to find the books in the hallway were just book spines and not really books at all.

Richard said this without judgment or comment. But to my mind this fact about the books said it all.

But we must remember that Maxwell supported the Roundhouse for many years both with time and money.

And this brings me on to volunteering.

As we are about to open, we need a large group of volunteers to help us on a regular basis to usher shows.

We had a great response - more than 280 enquiries - when we first announced that we needed volunteers. But there is still room for more.

The great thing about the role is that you get to see the shows and join the Roundhouse community and be the first to find out what is about to be announced.

If you would like to volunteer, visit www.roundhouse.org.uk and call either Jackie or Linda on 020-7424 6788.

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