Our Story

For more than 13 years, The Brick Box’s projects straddled live art, regeneration, placemaking, meanwhile use, spatial practice, creative entrepreneurialism, community empowerment, and culture driven economies. The company was always an admirer and supporter of ‘outsider’ and marginalised artists, and worked to democratise the production of art for more than a decade. Championed as industry pioneers by funders, commissioners and peers alike, The Brick Box innovated, collaborated and even sometimes agitated. Using a unique brand of charming absurdity – always mixed with meticulous intent – they built audiences, authentically connected with communities, and instigated change.

Eleanor Barrett and Rosie Freeman began working together in 2010 when Eleanor founded The Brick Box CIC. Rosie joined as Co-Director in 2013 to share legal responsibility for the company. Eleanor and Rosie had met some years before, while working at the Shunt Lounge in London Bridge and immediately established a creative spark. Discovering shared values and a potent complementary skill set they soon became a dynamic duo. Alongside an incredible production team they grafted hard to deliver the weekly metamorphosis of the space, hosting hundreds of live art performances and transforming 70,000 square feet of underground vaults into a magical playground for thousands of audience members. Eleanor and Rosie took their learnings from adventures in Shunt and beyond to create The Brick Box.

Initially setting up in Brixton Village with a cafe and events programme led by local people, they ignited the space (sometimes literally) and soon won major funding from the Greater London Authority to set up a second offer in Tooting market.  After a gritty two years of implementing innovative solutions to the challenges of ailing markets they forged ahead, wrestling with derelict buildings, taking over docks and flyovers, producing people led festivals, immersing themselves in council estates and running riot in theatres.

In 2016, The Brick Box moved up to Bradford (Eleanor’s home town) to open a new cultural venue – The Brick Box Rooms. The physical space, and creative community which coalesced around it, built confidence in the district and in 2018 The Brick Box started working on Bradford’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. Projects such as The Bubble Up, The Wild Woods and The Mills Are Alive in Manningham all contributed to the district’s capacity and ambition which won the title of UK City of Culture 2025.

Many brilliant team members have joined the Brick Box gang over the years including most recently Kate Wellham (digital wizard) and Harry Jelley (heritage and arts producer) but there really are too many to mention.

Eleanor left the company in 2021 to pursue her freelance career as an artist, and Harry went on to work as a producer for Bradford 2025 team in the autumn of 2023. Kate continues to sail the world in search of 360 dome experiences and Rosie closed the company in February 2024 in order to develop new creative projects.

Here’s to the wonderful memories and exciting new chapters ahead!

"I started volunteering with The Brick Box when they began a project in my area. I was made to feel very welcome, had the opportunity to get involved in lots of different projects and meet such interesting people. Having gained skills and been inspired, I now run my own arts hub."

Betiel Mahari, owner of Art Nouveau Brixton.