The Roundhouse in The British Guide to Showing Off
Date posted: 01.11.2011
From the acclaimed production scheme Film London Microwave, the feature-length documentary was directed by Jes Benstock and produced by Dorigen Hammond. Released in cinemas across the UK from 11 November, there are special dress-up previews on Sunday 6 November.
The Alternative Miss World Show was first staged by Logan in 1972 and became renowned as a celebration of art, fashion, music and performance. The British Guide to Showing Off captures the magic of the anarchic, utterly outrageous and spectacular costume pageant which has spanned 40 years and is described by Logan as his most important artwork to date.
In exploring Logan's life history, the film uses newly discovered archive footage, Benstock's dazzling animation and contributions range from musician Brian Eno to the late visionary film-maker Derek Jarman. Central to the film's climax is the staging of the latest Alternative Miss World Show, which took place on 2 May 2009 at London's historic Roundhouse.
Hosted by Logan alongside comedienne Ruby Wax, the Show's celebrity judges included fahionista Zandra Rhodes, Time Out publisher Tony Elliott, Rocky Horror Show creator Richard O'Brien and performance artist Jonny Woo.
The production of the show was managed by Drive Productions, who hired the venue for a 36-hour period. Benstock and his crew had unparalleled access gaining a unique insight into one of the world's most iconic shows.
With 20 contestants and their teams, a cast of performers, judges, presenters and the production team, the film crew had to work around over 200 people, plus the large and raucous audience.
With so many elements to the Show and its un-rehearsed 'anything goes' philosophy, the film crew had to be sure they were well positioned to capture events as they unfolded. Producer Hammond explains that "the challenge when filming a live event is enormous - nothing is guaranteed on or off camera!"
Director Benstock recalled "we filmed in pretty much every space in the building - from the evocative tunnels of the undercroft to the expanse of the roof terrace". The crew also took advantage of the height of the auditorium, which allowed them to use a large crane while the wide gangways saw use of additional cameras including steadicamss.
Hammond praised the venue saying "the Roundhouse team bent over backwards to support the performing artists and crazy irreverent crowd it attracts, and helped accommodate all our filming requests".
The venue was also able to accommodate the more unusual requests from the contestants, including from Miss Fancy Chance, the eventual winner, who wanted to be suspended from the ceiling by her hair as part of her performance.
A former railway engine shed in Chalk Farm, the Roundhouse is Grade II listed, and has been transformed into a performing arts and concert venue. Originally built in 1847 as a circular building containing a railway turntable, it was only used for railway purposes for approximately a decade. 25 years later, it re-opened as a performing arts venue, when the playwright Arnold Wesker established the Centre 42 Theatre Company and adopted the building as a theatre.
Since then, it has built up a reputation for hosting and presenting cutting edge performance from the counter culture movement of the past including the Living Theatre, Peter Brook and Andy Warhol. Lucy Atkinson, producer at the Roundhouse said that hosting the Alternative Miss World Show in 2009 "allowed us to honour and celebrate this irreverent past".
Now running as a non-profit organisation, the Roundhouse holds one off events and is available for private hire and filming. All the income generated by corporate and private events goes directly towards supporting their creative programme for 11-25s.
For filming enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 424 6771.