Recently appointed head of performing arts at the Roundhouse in London, Malú Ansaldo tells Giverny Masso about the venue’s summer season and her work to improve representation for Latin American people in theatre…
What does your role at the Roundhouse involve?
It’s a newly created role. I have a team of six people, including producers and programme managers. With the artistic director and the programmes director, I oversee the programming and the producing of performing arts in all our spaces. The work that I really want to develop at the Roundhouse is actually already happening – we’re just articulating it in a different way and being a bit more strategic. I feel like the Roundhouse is truly a home for everyone, and a lot of people who have no representation, have nowhere to go, or have no voice can find it here.
What is coming up in the summer season?
Barber Shop Chronicles is coming to our main space, and we have a season of work exploring race, gender and identity around it. That show already talks about multiculturalism and the African diaspora, but the entire season will question race and identity – even the politics of black hair, for example. Femmes of Colour’s Hive City Legacy is coming back this year and also going on a UK tour. Then we’re taking it to Rio de Janeiro to develop it for a residency at a festival there.
Are you working on anything apart from your role at the Roundhouse?
I’m doing a lot of work with the Latin American community in the performing arts, because we don’t have any representation and there’s no diversity data about us. I’ve hosted the first meeting of the Latin American community in the performing arts here at the Roundhouse a few weeks ago. That’s kind of the work I’m doing on the side, and the Roundhouse is really supportive.
How did you get into theatre?
I’m originally from Argentina, and I got into theatre through writing. When I was really young, my brother had a writers group with his friends and he took me to it. After that, I started taking acting classes. All of this was happening outside school, because my school didn’t provide many artistic outlets. That’s one of the things that really excites me about the Roundhouse: we do so much work with young people, and I think: “Oh my God, if I’d had a place like this when I was growing up, I would have loved it.” I studied theatre at university, then I did intensive writing workshops with lots of famous Argentinian playwrights.
Tell me about a career highlight.
I moved to the UK in 2011 to be the producer for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, then after that I went on to Shakespeare’s Globe. That was a game-changer for me. Producing the Globe to Globe Festival for the Cultural Olympiad was insane. We had 37 different companies working in different languages, and we had a show opening every night for six weeks. After that, producing the Globe to Globe Hamlet tour to every country was the sort of thing that everyone says is not possible, but we felt it was and made it happen.
Training: BA in theatre studies, Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires (2001-05); master’s in performing arts management, Universidad de Buenos Aires (2007-08)
First professional role: Extra in operas at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires (2003)
For further details of the Roundhouse’s summer season, see: roundhouse.org.uk