If you're out and about in Bournemouth this week look out for Paines Plough's fantastic pop-up theatre Roundabout, which will be installed on the Pavilion Dance South West terrace in the Lower Gardens.

The world's first pop-up, plug-in-and-play theatre, Roundabout will this year be part of Bournemouth's Arts By the Sea Festival between Thursday and Sunday. It will host an exciting programme of theatre and comedy for children and grown-ups, inlcuding three brand new plays from Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd Productions. A unique and intimate theatre, you’ll be seated in-the-round and close to the action on comfortable seating while Roundabout's cutting edge sound and lighting technology create an unmissable theatrical experience.

If like us you're wondering what it takes to get Roundabout up and running, here are some great facts from our friends at Paines Plough to put you in the picture ...

  • Roundabout seats 168 people.
  • It is 11.5 metres in diameter, with a 4.6 metre diameter playing space and top height of 5 metres.
  • There are three entrances which are opposite the three sets of steps into each auditorium block.
  • Roundabout can be erected in a day by six people. It does not require any specialist tools or skills to assemble. The only tool required is an Allen key. Because the roof is hand winched, there is no working at height.
  • There are no visible conventional lighting units or speakers. The theatre uses ‘plug and play’ technology. The lighting facilities consist of 627 individual LED light fittings – a mixture of colour mixing and tuneable white – installed in the roof of the theatre. This pixelated lighting has the ability to project images.
  • The sound system consists of six speakers positioned in the ceiling that are focussed onto the back-wall of the theatre and which reflect the sound back into the space. There are also three base pins situated under each seating block.
  • The roof weighs approximately two and a half tonnes. The auditorium weighs between three and four tonnes.
  • The seating is made from plywood with aluminium backs. Paines Plough tested a lot of cushions before choosing the comfiest ones!
  • Roundabout took four years of inventing, designing, head-scratching, fundraising, sanity-checking, coercing and testing to get from initial idea to launch in 2014. It now regularly tours the UK, presenting outstanding plays by some of the UK's finest writers.

Roundabout was designed by Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman in collaboration with Charcoalblue and Howard Eaton. It was built and developed by Factory Settings.


Take a look at the full programme of events for Roundabout here - and join us later this week for a truly unique and unmissable theatre experience!

Published 24 September 2018