Cultural Olympiad celebrates the homeless who are turning their talents to music

Whilst many may think the London Olympics is solely about focussing on sport, the world’s premier multi-sport event is also offering a spotlight to charitable arts projects.

As part of the Cultural Olympiad taking place in the run-up to the games, many music groups and charities are set to put on some very special,  ground-breaking performances from across the arts.

With One Voice is an open mic showcase involving 300 performers who have experienced homelessness. Run by the charity Streetwise Opera, which uses music as a tool to help homeless people move forward with their lives, the show will be performed under the prestigious roof of the Royal Albert Hall on July 2nd.

It is the first time that the Olympics will recognise homelessness and hopes to not only raise awareness of the people who have lived on the UK’s streets, but also help them find a voice through music.

The night will be fairly informal, hosted at the Paul Hamlyn Hall and Crush Room and involving 50 performance acts and short films, which a panel selected from over 100 applications submitted by individuals and homeless organisations.

Performances from all kinds of genres and mediums are set to make up the event’s itinerary, with a hip-hop collective from Bristol called Merger, a homeless poetry group of veterans from Aldershot and former homeless pianist and singer Rudi Richardson, who went on to found the charity Streetlytes.

Richardson was born in a women’s prison and struggled with drug addiction for more than 30 years. Speaking to the Independent, he said: “The creative side helped me so much. It’s a powerful interchange of the human spirit.”

“This evening is a chance to celebrate the creativity of the homeless,” he added, explaining that music and the arts helps homeless people raise their self-esteem.

“Give them their dignity back and they will look to lift themselves up. Many homeless programmes lack this.”

Culminating the evening will be a newly-commissioned work involving all 300 performers composed by Gavin Bryars.

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