The inspirational Street Arts Project that works with the homeless and vulnerable of Stratford is gearing up for a busy start to the new year.
First up will be Friday's release of their latest album - Wake Me Up Tomorrow - ahead of their concert at Stratford Play House this Saturday, January 15.
The album is the result of two years of workshops throughout the lockdowns and features Street Arts’s participants and professional musicians, Britpop hero Nigel Clark, Wes Finch and Jack Blackman.
The workshops are funded by Stratford Town Trust and support those attending to write lyrics, poems, a piece of music, or simply a page of thoughts, that are then crafted into songs.
This has brought a wide range of topics to the fore with the 13 songs on the album tackling themes of addiction, loneliness, boats, mental health problems, isolation - and even 19th century dentistry.
Doug Armstrong is one of the driving forces behind Street Arts and said: “We give a voice to experiences and feelings and a chance to unlock a creativity that the participants hadn't previously known how to articulate or share. Fun, at times bizarre, occasionally sad, but always real. Just like life.”
The first single is the title track, with lyrics by Jonas, originally from Lithuania but who had spent years sleeping rough in a tent.
During the lockdowns, Street Arts Project’s reworking of John Lennon’s 1970s track, Isolation, received the seal of approval when it was shared by the official John Lennon Facebook page. It featured 29 different musicians and the voices of participants - and raised a large amount of money for the project.
Street Arts' debut album - Hope - was released in 2019 to critical acclaim and was championed by BBC Radio.
Saturday's concert is free admission and doors open at 7.15 for an 8pm start.
For more information or to make donations, go to: www.streetartsproject.com