The Big House was founded in 2013 and Anne Currell is currently the head of the Board of Trustees for this amazing charity. The Big House works with young care leavers, creating powerful productions about issues that the young people feel need to be aired. Most of the cast have had no formal acting training and there are no auditions. Their latest production, Bullet Tongue, looks at the issue of County Lines drug dealing, where young and vulnerable people are recruited by drug dealers and gangs to run drugs from cities into the suburbs and countryside. The production opened on 14 November to sell out evenings and rave reviews. The production has just been extended until 15 December.

We met with two members of the Bullet Tongue cast, Shonagh and Jermaine, at The Big House’s new home in Islington, to find out more.

“Big House, it’s for the young people,” says Shonagh, who plays Bumper in Bullet Tongue. “Whatever you need, they listen. Other theatres, they have great stuff for young people too, and great programmes, but here it’s just different, it’s so about the young people.” Shonagh has been with The Big House for two years and also appeared in their 2017 production, Brixton Rock. For Jermaine, who plays Julian, this is his first The Big House production. He tells me how the cast had four weeks to rehearse, a tight lead time for an ambitious promenade production like this one. Not least because they were rehearsing the production before the company had moved into their new permanent home. “We moved around a lot,” adds The Big House Engagement Manager, Sophie Becker “We were rehearsing in community centers, pubs.”

You’d never guess it. The production is slick and professional, leading the audience through multiple sets over two floors. The feeling is immersive and, at times, intense. The performances by Shonagh, Jermaine, and the rest of the cast are phenomenal, made all the more amazing by the fact many of the cast members lacked confidence when they first started at The Big House. “Some people wouldn’t even talk when they first came here,” says Shonagh. “And some people, they didn’t think they wanted to act, then they discovered this incredible talent.”

But The Big House is more than just a theatre company. What’s really on offer is a whole host of new opportunities, skills and ways to build confidence. “I first came to the drop in’s here. I did a drama workshop, then they asked if I wanted to get involved with the latest project and I just thought… ok!” says Jermaine. The Big House offers a range of classes and workshops from money management to first aid, since many young care leavers haven’t been able to learn the same life skills as their peers.

“It can be hard being a care leaver, it can be lonely,” says Shonagh “but coming here, you just feel so much better about things. And it’s not just when there’s a production on, they’re always here, it’s like a family, that’s what it’s about.”

Bullet Tongue runs at The Big House, Englefield Road, until 15 December. Book tickets HERE (while you still can)


Islington may be the second smallest borough in London – but there’s plenty going on, especially this April. Take a look at our pick of the upcoming events this month to fill your diary:

Portrait Painting at Candid Arts

Feeling creative? Candid Arts on Torren Street (next to Angel Underground station) are running their popular portrait painting course on 7th April (and throughout May). The class is suitable for all levels, so beginners are welcome, and the course includes plenty of demonstration and one-to-one tuition.

Find out more and book here.

The Writer at the Almeida Theatre

Running from 14th April – 26th May is The Writer, a powerful new production from director Blanche McIntyre. The story focuses on a young writer looking to challenge the status quo, who discovers that creative gain comes at a personal cost.

Find out more and book here.

St George’s Dinner at Harry’s Bar

The newly refurbished Harry’s Bar & Brasserie on Ironmonger Lane is holding a St George’s Day Q&A session with boxer Frank Warren. Tickets are £75, to include a four course meal, tea or coffee, a pairing wine, and a donation to Frank Warren’s chosen charities. These are Debra, that supports individuals and families affected by the skin condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), and Nordoff Robbins, a music therapy charity.

Contact Claire Hooper on 020 7600 0300 to book.

Plastic at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Plastic is an emotional new drama showing throughout April at the Red Lion Theatre on St John Street. The play is about time, memory and escape by BAFTA nominated playwright Kenneth Emson and directed by 2017 JMK Award winner Josh Roche.

Book tickets and get more information here.

London Art Fair

The 31st annual London Art Fair is returning to the Business Design Centre in Angel. Bringing together more than 100 galleries with sculptures, paintings, photographs, ceramics and more, the event showcases contemporary artwork from the 20th century to today. As well as the main fair, there are also two smaller, specially curated exhibitions showcasing less established galleries with new works and contemporary photography.

Find out more here.

Comedy at the Union Chapel

West Yorkshire comedian Daniel Kitson hosts April’s edition of Live at the Union Chapel on 7th April, with some special guests to get your ribs aching. These include 8 out of 10 Cats and Taskmaster guest Sara Pascoe, five times Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee James Acaster, sketch trio Gein’s Family Giftshop and Tom Parry of the three-man comedy act Pappy’s.

Book tickets here.

The Singing Mermaid at The Little Angel Theatre

The Little Angel Theatre’s puppet show adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture book, The Singing Mermaid, is sure to keep the kids entertained this April – and maybe the grown ups too! Running until the 22nd April, the show follows a singing mermaid who is tempted away from all of her sea creature friends to join a travelling circus.

Book tickets and find out more here.

16 brave members of Currell staff took on the very tough (but only a bit muddy) Tough Mudder challenge at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford on Saturday.

Sporting our very own Currell branded T-shirts, we climbed, crawled, ran, and carried each other through 10 grueling obstacles. Thankfully, we got in there bright and early at 8:45am when the weather was still dry, so we remained relatively unscathed by the mud.

The atmosphere was really positive, with everyone lending a hand to get each other over the obstacles and helping other non-Currell participants too. It was certainly an amazing team building exercise – nothing brings colleagues closer together than pushing them up and over a 10ft wall!

All in all, it was a huge amount of fun and we managed to raise over £1,300 for Help for Heroes. Well done to everyone who took part and a big thank you to everyone who donated!

This morning we had the pleasure of attending Islington Giving‘s ‘100 Women for Islington Giving’ event in honour of International Women’s Day.

The event was truly inspiring, with talks from Islington Giving, The Parent House, the Middle Eastern Women Society and Organisation, and The Guardian Foundation. We were particularly moved by one of the parents from The Parent House, who left us with the words “behind every strong woman… is herself”, which was met by a huge cheer and applause! 

Even though we know Islington to be a fantastic borough with plenty of arts venues, independent shops and restaurants, and a wonderful community – there are still many people struggling who need support. The work that these charities do truly help those who are most in need, so do take a look at their websites to find out more about how you can donate or get involved.

Last Thursday, Group Chairman Chris Currell, along with Director of New Homes Matt Cobb, attended the BOLD magazine event to celebrate their 9th issue.

BOLD magazine is an annual publication that highlights the work of regeneration organisations within the London borough of Barking and Dagenham, as well as celebrating its culture and history.

The event brought together a diverse mix of attendees from various housing developers and local organisations. Special guest speakers included photographer David Bailey CBE, Robert Wilkinson from Countryside Properties, Max Farrell of Farrells, and captain of West Ham United FC, Mark Noble.

“At the moment we are seeing an exciting time in the history of Barking and Dagenham, with an ambitious target to provide housing of all tenures throughout the borough,” said Chris Currell. “The event was a great opportunity to meet and engage with major stakeholders as well as other members of the wider community.”

The latest issue of the magazine includes a feature on Eastbury Manor House, the rich feminist history of Barking and Dagenham, the borough’s film heritage, sporting heroes and more.

To get a free copy of the magazine, click here.


Last night saw the first of two private views of some of the Currell Collection’s photographic works. The Currell Collection is the personal art collection of Currell’s founders, Anne and Chris Currell.

The doors of our Islington office on Upper Street opened last night for a showcase of some excellent photography. Jack Latham, who had works on display from both of his photobooks, Sugar Paper Theories and A Pink Flamingo, gave a truly gripping talk about the inspiration behind his latest collection.

Jack Latham’s Sugar Paper Theories won the Bar Tur Photobook Award in 2016 and was co-published by The Photographers’ Gallery and Here Press. It is a mixture of original photographs and archival photography/other documentary materials that explores the fundamental nature of photography. It questions photography’s defining principles of truth and objectivity in light of the Gudmundur and Geirfinnur case, one of Iceland’s most prolific and controversial murder cases. Find out more about the collection (and the case) here.

David Gwinnutt, senior valuer for Currell Residential, also had some work on display – three portraits from his 1980s archives. David is renowned for documenting the rising stars of London’s queer scene in the 80s, and was voted 16th on the Independent’s Pink List of the top 100 most influential gay people in Britain today after he created the Pink Jack – a symbol of modern Britain and gay pride.

Brett Rogers OBE, the Director of The Photographers’ Gallery since 2005, also gave a talk about the institution. The Photographers’ Gallery is widely recognised as being instrumental in establishing photography as a leading art form in the UK.

To see more work in the Currell Collection, take a look at the website here, or pop into our Islington office to see the photographic works.

This weekend, we were delighted to host The Hackney Society’s ‘50 Photographs of Hackney’ exhibition at one of our new homes developments in London Fields, Quadra.

The exhibition was a huge success, and because of this the exhibition will run for a further week to meet demand. It will be available to view from Tuesday-Friday this week at 91 Lansdowne Drive, E8 3HD.

The collection features images of day-to-day life around the borough – with the people and places that make Hackney so great. Limited edition prints will be on sale, with all proceeds going towards the funding of the Hackney Society’s work.

The Hackney Society is a membership organisation of Hackney residents and friends that was formed in 1967 to involve and support local people in the conservation and regeneration of Hackney’s built environment and public spaces.

For more information on Quadra and Currell see our website. More information about The Hackney Society can be found here.

This Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August from 10am-5pm, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, The Hackney Society will be showcasing their ’50 Photographs of Hackney’ exhibition. This will complement Hackney: Portrait of a Community 1967-2017, which is to be published soon.

The exhibition will be taking place at one of our latest new homes developments, Quadra, at 91 Lansdowne Drive, E8 3HD. This exclusive collection of over 55s apartments is adjacent to London Fields. All apartments have views across the park.

Limited edition prints will be on sale, with proceeds going towards the funding of the Hackney Society’s work.

Last night, Currell held a fantastic wine tasting evening in our Islington branch. The event was hosted by local wine connoisseur and author of Essential Wine Tasting, Michael Schuster.

The event was such a success, guests were still enjoying themselves past midnight, with delicious food and a selection of eight wines to sample. Sarah Curtis, Assistant Manager at Currell Islington, said:

Michael Schuster was very informative & the selection of wines we tasted were very interesting. The committee catered for the evening and the food was delicious.”

In total, a terrific £1,688 was raised. All proceeds will go towards the vital work that the NSPCC does for children. To find out more, see their website.

Last night, Highbury Grove School and Samuel Rhodes School celebrated their fifth annual Art Exhibition.

This event started five years ago, with the introduction of the Currell Art Award. This award is for GCSE level students to assist with their ‘aim high’ standards. The top three winners received £100, £50, and £25 worth of art vouchers.

1st prize winner from Highbury Grove, Aamnah Nehim, with her work

Last year, Cowling & Wilcox, local art suppliers based on Holloway Road, stepped in to support the schools and to provide a large art prize for the top winner.

Three years ago, Samuel Rhodes School, a special needs school adjacent to Highbury Grove, also got involved. James Neilson, the manager at our Islington branch, said:

“Currell are now in the fifth year and the standard of artwork just seems to get better and better each year. It is a pleasure to see the pupils cuddling the trophy and the big smiles.

The standard of the work was certainly very high – we were very impressed, and wish all the pupils the best of luck with their future projects.

The winners from Samuel Rhodes School

2nd place winner Poppy Rawlings’ striking piece

3rd place winner Alfie Gunter accepting his prize