Hanger Farm Arts Centre’s online music gigs have proven to be a real hit with audiences thanks to the high-tech wizardry of a Southampton video company.

The arts centre has been live streaming Friday night music performances on Facebook to thousands of fans over the summer, with more gigs planned throughout the autumn.

The multi-camera, high definition stream is being provided to the charity-run theatre by Inline AV, a video company that specialises in live streaming and producing live video for events big and small.

The 20 gigs this year have included local acts such as Liam White, Mike Vaughan, Nat and Ryan, and Ben Townsend.

Audiences have been donating as they watch, raising more than £1,000 for learning disability charity Minstead Trust while it is unable to run live shows with audiences at the arts centre, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Hanger Farm Arts Centre is run by Minstead Trust to help people with learning disabilities gain work experience working in the arts centre’s café as well as running an inclusive community theatre group.

In return for their support, Inline AV has been admitted to Minstead Trust’s Business Club as a Platinum Member. The club is a group of more than a dozen businesses who support the Trust’s work and receive exposure and invites to exclusive events in return.

Billy Jameson from Inline AV, said: ‘From our background in working in theatre and the arts, a big part of what we enjoy is to provide entertainment and to enrich other people’s lives.

‘Hanger Farm being part of Minstead Trust provides us with a great opportunity to feel as if we can give back to other people in our local community and help out a very worthy cause. The Trust provides an amazing service to lots of people and it brings us great privilege to be able to support them in what they do.’

Kyle Maxwell, Hanger Farm Arts Centre manager, said: ‘It has been a very difficult year for us, we have had to postpone dozens of shows, events and weddings and we remain unsure when we will be able to fully open again.

‘Our weekly virtual gigs have been fantastic, raising money for the arts centre while keeping our loyal audience entertained while we can’t welcome them in person. The generous support of Inline AV means we can produce really high quality streams, we are incredibly grateful to them for their support.’

The coronavirus crisis has been hugely challenging for the Trust, with its income vastly reduced as its social enterprises closed for several months. The Trust runs Furzey Gardens in Minstead, Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton and Minstead Lodge hospitality and events venue. These enterprises also offer work experience for people with learning disabilities to work towards employment.

This means the support given to the charity by its Business Club members is hugely important during these difficult times. Members are encouraged to develop long-lasting meaningful relationships with Minstead Trust, attending events, volunteering and encouraging staff members to fundraise.

Watch the virtual gigs and donate to support people with learning disabilities at www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/virtual-stage

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