The New Carnival Company’s annual Mardi Gras Parade will return to the streets of Ryde on Saturday 9th July after a 2 year absence due to the pandemic.

The 2022 launch event, held at Quay Arts on January 25, brought together more than 50 people, including councillors, teachers, artists and community volunteers, all eager to hear more on this year’s theme – Our World, Our Future.

The New Carnival Company (NCC) presented its artistic vision for the parade and explained how the different themes of the theme were suggested by the children and young people themselves.

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Hannah Ray, NCC Learning Officer, explained:

“For the first time, we invited young people to write the storyboard for the show. We talked to them about the issues and problems affecting the world and they had a surprisingly good understanding of the concept of “sustainable development”. We looked at the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and prioritized the goals and realized how interdependent they are. They gave us lots of ideas for positive action and this show will demonstrate that optimism and determination.

Our World, Our Future will consist of 20 sections divided into four categories: People, Planet, Places and Peace. There will be carnival costumes and roadside presentations depicting topics such as ‘End Global Warming’ and ‘Reduce Waste’, We Want ‘Clean Energy’ and ‘Freedom and Justice’. Hannah explained how each participating school and group will actively commit to doing something together to leave a positive legacy – like planting trees, walking to school or donating to food banks.

The NCC itself is committed to removing all gasoline and diesel vehicles from its parade and introducing new ways of creating sound, both live and recorded. Much more emphasis will be placed on costume presentation and choreography, with New Carnival Company offering an extensive program of supportive workshops and dedicated online resources.

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The highlights of the evening were 2 musical presentations on the theme, performed by children from Wroxall Primary School and students from IW College Performing Arts. They sang calypsos they had written earlier in a workshop led by London’s Alexander D Great, one of the country’s leading carnival music experts.

Alexander explained the creation of a song for the parade and spoke about National Children’s Carnival Week, July 9-15, of which Mardi Gras in Ryde is part of the national opening celebrations.

Councilor Debbie Andre, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, attended the event. She said:

“Mardi Gras is a fabulous activity that creatively engages our Island children and youth through Carnival, and both supports and enriches the educational offering on the Island. It is completely inclusive and gives a voice to groups that would otherwise not have the opportunity to fully express themselves, such as those with physical challenges and neurodiverse. This year’s themes, chosen to represent the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, will showcase our ambition as a Biosphere Reserve to encourage our young people to lead the way to a sustainable future for our island. I strongly encourage everyone to get involved in “Our World, Our Future” and I would add “Our Youth, Our Future”.

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