NCC learning and participation manager, Hannah Ray, demonstrating mask-making online


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The New Carnival Company (NCC) has launched a new, free digital carnival club for families with children stuck at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

Called the Virtual Carnival Club, it delivers an online weekly class or tutorial showing how to make simple yet colourful costumes, create percussion music and enjoy carnival dancing, in your own space. You can find it here:

The move came following the cancellation of this year’s Mardi Gras parade, the company’s flagship event, which was due to take place on 27th June. Over 30 schools and community groups were expected to take part and for hundreds of now disappointed children the planning was well underway.

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Frankie Goldspink, creative director of NCC said:

“We wanted to keep that energy alive by providing some fun, creative activities around carnival that people could try at home. This is very much a Blue Peter style club, using whatever is lying around like recycled plastic containers, empty crisp packets and upcycled jumble. We want to show that anyone can make and do carnival!”

Virtual Carnival Club kickstarts on Tuesday 21st April at 10:00 with a practical workshop led by NCC’s lead artist Gina Dyer on making festival flags and wavers. Over a series of 10 weekly sessions, families can create their own outfits and learn easy dance moves, working alongside NCCs creative team.

Gina said:

“Virtual Carnival Club provides us with a platform to explore creating great carnival in an eco-friendly way. By using everyday recycled, repurposed, and reusable materials we can ensure that carnival in the future is a more sustainable practice which is accessible to everyone. This is very much in line with NCCs environmental sustainability action plan and with young people’s rising concerns around climate change and saving the planet”.

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The New Carnival Company plans to organise a Let Loose parade in Ryde when restrictions on social gatherings are lifted. The call to action will be swift and people may have less than a week to prepare, but what an occasion that promises to be. Everyone will be invited to bring along what they have made at home and to celebrate on the streets together.

Regular Mardi Gras programmes will resume for 2021 when the theme ‘The Story of Carnival’ will be presented in Ryde on Saturday 26th June.

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