Soaring voices filled an enchanting venue at a fundraising concert in aid of the Prior's Court Performing Arts Centre appeal.

Reading Phoenix Choir put on a full-length concert at the picturesque St John's Church in Newbury on Saturday, 17 July.

At the Music for a Midsummer Evening concert, guests were treated to performances from a broad range of songs from composers across the centuries, with contemporary artists such as Dua Lipa and David Bowie also on the setlist.

Before the concert and during the interval, guests could also enjoy refreshments, including delicious baked treats from the Prior's Court bakery which supports autistic young people with complex needs to learn baking skills. A raffle was also held with the winner taking home a selection of goodies.

Overall, the evening's event raised £1,200 for our Performing Arts Centre appeal, which will feature adapted facilities to support autistic young people with complex needs to access opportunities in music, dance and drama and the life-enriching benefits this provides.

Prior's Court Chief Executive Officer Ryan Campbell speaks at the Music for a Midsummer Evening concert

Autistic individuals face many barriers to accessing the arts – from light and noise sensitivities to understanding of social rules – and one aim of the centre is to mimic theatre environments to prepare young people to access arts venues in the community successfully. This is in addition to having the opportunity day-to-day to express themselves creatively in a dedicated, bespoke space.

Natalie Norris, our Fundraising Manager, said:

Reading Phoenix Choir were an absolute delight to listen to and we are so grateful to them for their role in this event.

A huge thank you to all of the guests who came along to the concert and showed their support for autistic young people with complex needs and our work in ensuring they are empowered to access the transformational power of the performing arts.

One young adult at Prior's Court was able to attend this event with her parents which was fantastic. But our aim with the Performing Arts Centre is to empower all the autistic young people we support to negotiate the barriers - such as sensory difficulties - that so many arts performance venues can pose and give more families incredible arts experiences.

Find out more about the Performing Arts Centre appeal