The Big House announce revival of urban musical The Realness

The Big House is to produce the first remounting of the urban musical The Realness since its sold-out debut at Hackney Downs Studios in 2014.

The musical, which is co-written by Maureen Chadwick (co-creator of Bad Girls, Footballers’ Wives & Waterloo Road), will run at the theatre charity’s Islington venue from 15 November – 9 December.

The Realness is a story about second chances and overcoming the odds featuring an upbeat score ranging from rap to reggae, gospel to grime.

When some people won’t believe you’ve changed, and others don’t want to let you change, it isn’t easy to make a new start.

Jay Johnson is fresh out of prison and determined never to go back, but for all his efforts to stay on track, he finds himself making a detour back in the wrong direction. Finally he’s faced with the hardest choice of his life and only then does he understand what he has to do to change things for real.

The reloaded production will be performed by an ensemble of care-leavers and at-risk young people who go through a 12-week programme which first shares essential life skills before rehearsing and performing to London audiences.

The Big House is a charity transforming the lives of care-leavers, using drama and long-term support. The Big House’s work offers training, workshops and long-term pastoral support for young people to unleash their creativity and build their aspirations whilst giving them a platform to speak about issues affecting them.

The reloaded production, which will be directed by The Big House’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Maggie Norris, features a book co-written by Maureen Chadwick and David Watson, music and lyrics by Kath Gotts, set design by Emmy Award-nominated Tina Torbey, assistant direction by The Big House Associate Director Chris Neels, produced by The Big House’s Finance and Operations Director Sarah Stallwood-Hall, video design by Tony Award-winner Mic Pool, sound design by Julian Starr, musical direction by Joey Hickman, costume design by Bertie Taylor-Smith and choreography by Fi Silverthorn.

Maureen Chadwick and Kath Gotts said of the upcoming production, “We’re thrilled that The Realness is coming back for another run this Autumn. The Big House provides such amazing opportunities for its members and we can’t wait to see this exciting new cast of young people in action.”

For more information and tickets, visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


Follow us