Still time to get tickets to this weekend's Celebrate!!! concert in Stevenage in tribute to the late Sherma Batson

PUBLISHED: 16:45 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 26 October 2017

The Celebrate!!! concert takes place in Stevenage this weekend.

The Celebrate!!! concert takes place in Stevenage this weekend.

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Soul singer Nathan Boyce Watson, singer-songwriter Gabz and local actors who have gone on to film and stage success are to perform at Celebrate!!! at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage on Saturday in memory of Councillor Sherma Batson.

Sherma – who was a former town mayor, long-standing councillor and community activist – died suddenly in January. She had helped organise the Celebrate!!! event for many years to mark the town’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

Nathan, who performs under the name Decosta Boyce, released his second album this summer, Electrick Soul, and recently toured with 70s legends Heatwave.

Performing arts school Stagecoach Stevenage have reunited their original crew, who first performed at the show in 2008 after being inspired to take part by Mrs Batson. Many have gone on to success, winning awards and appearing in films including Fantastic Beasts.

Also returning is Stevenage popstar Gabz, who has a loyal following on YouTube where she has been viewed more than 20 million times. A former Britain’s Got Talent finalist, she is studying for a degree in music and songwriting at BIMM London.

Sherma, who died at the age of 59, was an influential figure in setting up and organising Celebrate!!! since it began in 2002.

Kate Belinis, chair of Stevenage World Forum, said: “This show is very special and poignant for us as we all come to terms with the sudden passing of Sherma. The show was her ‘babe’ and, after 15 years, we are still managing to run it with an amazing team of volunteers and performers.

“I am so proud that everyone is determined to put the show on as you can see from the strong line-up, which celebrates the diversity in our town. It’s a fitting tribute to Sherma, who did so much to bring people together. Let’s make this a truly special night, so if you haven’t done so already, buy your tickets now.”

The annual showcase of multi-cultural talent this year also features Herts of Love Gospel Choir, Punjabi Gidda dancers, Grant School of Irish Dancers, Warriorz Performing Arts Academy and singer-songwriters including Becky Phillips and Jochebel Ohene McCarthy.

Poet Yvan Tiako will give a reading, martial arts trainer Sean Lee a display, and JT Afrique will hold an authentic African wear fashion show. Young up-and-coming singer-songwriter Sophia Khoury and musician Ellie Bullen-Ryner complete the line-up.

Tickets for the show cost just £7.50. You can buy them online at www.gordon-craig.co.uk or call the box office on 01438 363200.

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