Electric Umbrella

Electric Umbrella Electric Umbrella

Electric Umbrella is a registered charity challenging the perception of people with learning disabilities by empowering and enriching lives through music.

Electric Umbrella is a co-creation between adults with learning disabilities and professional musicians. We work together to create, experience and perform music at weekly sessions, pub gigs, big shows, large festivals, live radio and everything in between.

Signing up to a ‘season’ of Electric Umbrella at one of our three sites in Hertfordshire includes taking part in weekly music sessions, touring and performances opportunities as well as participation at the big end of season event. All members are over the age of 18 and whilst are of extremely mixed abilities, the experiences are tailored to meet and be led by the needs of each member. Electric Umbrella works with 60 adults with learning disabilities each week.

The reach of Electric Umbrella goes way beyond the members we work with each week. Electric Umbrella has become a community for our members and their families, also encompassing the musicians we work with and hundreds of others that experience the joy of Electric Umbrella by attending our gigs and events.


Each week we get together to write and record songs, play instruments, sing karaoke, eat lunch, hang out… It’s just like being in a band! We have visiting artists and workshops and everyone gets their chance to be involved on whatever level they want to. We support each other and are a great bunch of friends.

In the weeks leading up to each big show we take Electric Umbrella on the road performing at day services, schools, festivals, local businesses and radio. We all jump in the bus and bring a whole load of yellow, music and hilarity with us wherever we go. It’s infectious, people can’t help but smile and dance and sing. We always seem to get the party started and there’s always lots of audience participation and laughter!

The big shows and festivals themselves are the product of months of hard work. It’s a gig, it’s an arts event, it’s a sensory explosion. It’s a celebration of learning disabilities. It’s loud and proud, bold and beautiful. Lights, smoke, projections, giant interactive sculptures, music, dancing, live artwork.

How it all began.

In 2012 Tom Billington and Mel Boda recognised a lack of opportunities for adults with learning disabilities; regular meaningful social interaction. So in 2013, via a few whimsical text messages, Tom and Mel decided to ‘give Electric Umbrella a go’ with absolutely no funding or support…

After delivering over 200 sessions across three regular groups, holding two successful club nights, touring and performing over 60 gigs including festivals, fundraisers, Christmas pub gigs, holding our very own summer festival Umbrellafest, and having over 50 regular members who, between them have attended 600 hours of music sessions have performed to thousands of people… We are delighted to say that as of February 2016, Electric Umbrella is an official charity!

Since then we have spent a great deal of time reviewing what Electric Umbrella is, our values and the core purpose. We learnt that our purpose is much more than delivering music sessions, our purpose is to challenge the perception of people learning disabilities by enriching and empowering lives through music.

We are incredibly privileged to now have the wonderful support of a team of trustees and a team of experts and advisors volunteering their services to enable Electric Umbrella to have an exciting and most importantly, sustainable future for our members.

Electric Umbrella is founded and directed by Tom Billington and Mel Boda who have extensive experience of both community arts, the professional world of entertainment, and adults with disabilities. They are fully equipped to work with individuals with complex needs as well as seek professional and meaningful opportunities and partnerships with other organisations.

Tom is a professional musician with vast experience of being in bands, touring and making records together with writing music for circus, TV and film, community work and education. Tom has an exceptional gift of working with young adults with complex needs and sharing the joy of music.

Melanie is a visual artist and HCPC registered art therapist with extensive experience of community arts management and working with adults with learning disabilities.

View my website http://www.electricumbrella.co.uk/

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Telephone: 07779 065 185
Email: info@electricumbrella.co.uk
Website: http://www.electricumbrella.co.uk/

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Electric Umbrella Presents...THE BIG SHOW! / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2017-05-18T00:00:00Z">Thu 18 May 2017</span>Electric Umbrella Presents...THE BIG SHOW! / Thu 18 May 2017

Everyone is invited to Electric Umbrella presents…The Big Show. Enjoy an evening of performances by incredible people who are taking to the stage t...

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About Electric Umbrella

Umbrellafest 2015Umbrellafest 2015

Inaugural festival highlights.