Living Up Performing Arts Centre hosts unique online fundraising gig

Living It Up
The Living It Up crew performing at Oxjam (before social distancing restrictions)

The Living It Up Performing Arts Centre at St Cuthbert’s Hall is staging a unique fundraising gig tomorrow (Thursday) which will be streamed live on social media.

The performance by The Sick Crew features band members with learning difficulties and/or autism. They have chosen the songs, play all the instruments and sing as well as designing flyers and promoting the gigs.

The show starts at 11.15am on Thursday 12 November and viewers can watch here.

“It’s really important to our learners to showcase how amazing they are and how hard they have worked,” said Living It Up’s co-founder, Claire Crawford-Smith.

“All our learners have learning disabilities and or autism and we have seen such amazing progress in the skills and confidence of the learners who attend our music projects. Our gigs are also really fun.”

The bands last performed at Esquires in March, but due to coronavirus, have adapted to create a socially distanced event, streamed live from their Performing Arts Centre in St Cuthberts Hall.

“We hope lots of people tune in tomorrow,” said Claire. “We are also asking people who watch the gig and enjoy it to donate the price of a pint to via our LocalGiving link.”

“I love it,” said G on the musicians in The Sick Crew. “We want to raise money to be able to keep doing these awesome things.”

“I’m looking forward to playing the drums and showing the world what we can do,” said J, who will also be performing.

At the Living It Up Performing Arts Centre the team provide sessions in songwriting, drama, dance, radio presenting, art, film editing, choir, karaoke and bands – of which they currently have six.

“Covid has been difficult for the people who access our services causing widespread anxiety and isolation,” explained Claire.

“As a company, myself, co-founder Fizz Heseltine and our amazing staff team and volunteers have supported all the people who access our four projects (Events, Performing Arts Centre, Gig Buddies and Gr8Mates).

“We called (and continue) calling people weekly, we broadcasted our radio show, we’ve provided zoom sessions for our PAC learners, other projects continue to run online and we have been holding monthly zoom discos.

“All projects have continued remotely and face-to-face where possible supporting over 100 people. We also have refurbished St Cuthberts Hall during all of this.

“We really appreciate help from the local community. This year has been incredibly hard financially, We are always looking for donations and people happy to fundraise for us.

“Musical instruments, art material and adults fancy dress are all really useful and gratefully received.

“We are also looking for volunteers for Gig Buddies, for our Performing Arts Centre and to run some socials on zoom for Gr8Mates. We’d also really love people to like our facebook pages and follow what we do.”

You can find out more about Living It Up at their website and at their Facebook pages, Living It Up Events, Living It Up Performing Arts Centre, Bedford Gig Buddies and Living It Up Gr8 Mates.

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