UK: COMING UP FAST - Marcus Davey - The Roundhouse.

UK: COMING UP FAST - Marcus Davey - The Roundhouse. - Marcus Davey, 32, is one of those rare individuals who make the arts pay. Even as a student at Dartington Music College he was raising money for young disabled people by staging a non-stop 72-hour con

by SARAH GRACIE.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Marcus Davey, 32, is one of those rare individuals who make the arts pay. Even as a student at Dartington Music College he was raising money for young disabled people by staging a non-stop 72-hour concert.

At 21, he joined Gavin Henderson to help turn Dartington Arts Festival into one of the largest in Europe. He then moved to head the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, where he increased sponsorship by 100% and audiences by 150%. Now he is turning his attention to The Roundhouse arts venue in London.

This vast engine shed, built in 1847, was bought last year by toy manufacturer Torquil Norman on behalf of the Norman Trust, which funds projects for 'excluded' youth. He enlisted Davey to develop TV production, recording, design and dance studios in the undercroft, where professionals will teach up to 15,000 London kids a year. 'Cutting-edge gigs' will help pay the bills.

Davey's formula seems simple: 'a lot for everyone'. In the past, that has meant Serbian cathedral choirs rubbing shoulders with break dancers and classical tragedians. 'I've always had the feeling that if art was just for the middle-class, middle-aged and middle-of-the-road - why bother with it at all?' Davey says. He still has to raise £24 million to refurbish the building and establish an endowment trust. But with contacts ranging from Madonna to investment bankers, he does at least have a head start.

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