A partnership between the city of Gloucester and the Roundhouse, the iconic London venue and charity renowned for transforming young lives through creativity, was officially launched at Gloucester Rooftop Festival last Thursday. The Music Works is one of the three partners, along with Gloucester Guildhall and Strike A Light.

Through the Gloucester Roundhouse Exchange (GRHEx), the partners are working together with the team from the Roundhouse – and with Gloucester Culture Trust, which has helped develop the partnership  –  in an exchange of ideas, talent and exceptional creative programming to help put Gloucester on the cultural map.

Over the next two years, this Exchange will enable more young people than ever before to take part in music, dance, theatre and circus in Gloucester. It will bring together creatives from both cities in inspiring partnerships, providing engagement and performance opportunities and bringing high quality new work to audiences in Gloucester. It will also develop vital ‘behind-the-scenes’ skills, such as music creation and producing, programming and arts management.

Young people will be at the heart of everything. The Exchange aims to increase young people’s skills, confidence and aspirations as the creative leaders of the future.

The collaboration will also enable strategic development of all the organisations taking part, through a process of shared learning, to ensure Gloucester’s independent creative sector goes from strength to strength. Over time, more arts organisations from Gloucester will also be involved.

The partnership is funded by a grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and via Gloucester’s Great Place project, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Activities will include:

  • Weekly classes, workshops and drop-in sessions, open to all but targeted to young people and communities who don’t currently tend to take part
  • Residencies in Gloucestershire for emerging artists to collaborate and make new work
  • Masterclasses about creative careers
  • Exchange visits between Gloucester and London
  • Summer performance seasons in Gloucester, bringing outstanding new work to audiences and 
providing platforms for young people to perform and participate

Malaki Patterson, Creative Director, The Music Works said: “This is just what we’ve been waiting for. Gloucester has always had a strong music scene across many genres, but it’s lacked support. This is changing, and it feels good to be working with all these partners, and many others across the city, who are as committed as we are to putting young people at the centre, transforming lives in actions and not just words, with work that’s really rooted in Gloucester.” 

Hollie Smith-Charles, Director, Gloucester Culture Trust said: “Investing in Gloucester’s budding creative talent is vital if our city is to thrive into the future. It’s not just about developing star performers. Creative skills can be applied in all parts of our society and economy and they will be in demand in the future. Working with the Roundhouse will help accelerate the development of Gloucester’s emerging creative scene, offering exceptional creative opportunities, both in Gloucester and London. At its heart, the Gloucester Roundhouse Exchange is a way for the young people of Gloucester to realise their ambitions for the future of the city, and to see that they have a place in it.”

Marcus Davey OBE, Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Roundhouse said: “At the Roundhouse, we passionately believe in the potential of the arts to enhance young lives. We have been a cultural venue for 50 years and a charity for over ten, and during this time we have tried and tested many ideas. We are excited to embark on this new, national partnership, not only to share what we’ve learnt, but also to learn from another city. The Gloucester Roundhouse Exchange feels like a potential game-changer for how arts organisations can work together.”

More about the partners & funders in Gloucester Roundhouse Exchange






Gloucester Culture www.gloucesterculture.org.uk

…was set up in 2016 to drive forward Gloucester’s ambitious cultural vision and strategy. We want our city to be known for its distinctive culture: innovative and excellent, quirky and edgy, diverse and community-based with a strong focus on young people. We work with partners to make Gloucester a better place to live, work and play.  gloucesterculture.org.uk

Gloucester Guildhall     www.gloucesterguildhall.co.uk.

… is the city’s home of live music, cinema, comedy, meetings, conferences and more!

The Music Works    www.themusicworks.org.uk

… is a Gloucestershire charity which transforms lives through music, working with a range of young people from young people in challenging circumstances; to some of the most hotly-tipped artists in the county. It is also a partner in Make Music Gloucestershire, the county’s music education hub.

Strike A Light   www.strikealightfestival.org.uk

…. programmes and produces festival, events and participation activities to help create a vibrant culture in Gloucester

The Roundhouse   roundhouse.org.uk

…is a hub of inspiration where artists and emerging talent create extraordinary work and where young people can grow creatively as individuals. We believe in the power of creativity to change lives. By giving young people the chance to engage with the arts through our music, media and performance projects, we inspire them to reach further, dream bigger, and achieve more.

The Rooftop Festival

… is the brainchild of Strike A Light and Gloucester Guildhall, and this year involves partners the Roundhouse, Gloucester Culture Trust, and The Music Works as part of the Gloucester-Roundhouse Exchange.

Gloucester’s Great Place project

…is one of sixteen Great Place programmes nationwide, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In March 2017, Gloucester was awarded £1,489,200 from this scheme to support a £3.1million, three-year project entitled Gloucester – a proud past: Culture at the heart of an ambitious future. Gloucester Culture Trust will be managing and delivering Great Place on behalf of the city. Launching the Gloucester Roundhouse Exchange is part of the Great Place project.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

…is an independent funder working to help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives.