Paines Plough






Howard Eaton Lighting Ltd, Charcoalblue, Factory Settings, Avolites Ltd, Universal Consolidated Group

Roundabout was made possible thanks to the belief and generous support of the following Trusts, companies and individuals: Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, John Ellerman Foundation.

Awards: Joint winner – The Stage Awards Theatre Building of the Year 2014, Best Fringe Venue 2015, Nominated for the Peter Brook Empty Space Award 2017, Represented Great Britain at the Prague Quadrennial of Theatre Architectural Design 2015 and 2019.

We designed and built Roundabout in collaboration with new writing theatre company Paines Plough. Roundabout has been touring the UK since 2014 visiting communities and enabling them to take ownership of the space alongside Paines Plough’s programme of new writing which is specially commissioned for Roundabout.

Roundabout takes six people a day to erect using no tools and requires no specialist skills, such as working at height. No building block needs more than two people to carry it. The aesthetic of the space is driven by the need for everything to flat pack down into a truck quickly and easily using resilient materials. A fully integrated lighting and sound system provides a total, immersive experience.

The auditorium is designed to be a democratic space, where the steep audience rake gives great sight-lines and the round format puts the writer at the heart of the space – there are no other distractions and scenery is intentionally kept to a minimum. We wanted it to feel like a room rather than a conventional black box theatre, and the bright colours and contemporary materials were inspired by Paines Plough’s energetic personality and their desire for a friendly and warm welcome for everyone who steps inside. We resisted the pressure to create a “multi-purpose” space and instead chose a specific round form. This has had a deep impact on the work which is made for the space, as writers have chosen to embrace the purity of the form and plays such as Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs” (which was initially commissioned for Roundabout) can thrive.

Roundabout is a testament to the power of the collective, both in the initial “call to action” of the build and the ongoing life of an evolving performance space.

photos by x y a

“Extraordinary innovators and engaged collaborators; the perfect combination”

James Grieve, Co-Artistic Director, Paines Plough