Blue Touch Paper Carnival is all about disabled and non-disabled people working together to make quality Carnival. The project has been building since 2008 and is linked to the Olympic themes and values, gaining the official ‘Inspire’ mark from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG).
Sarava! St George (Hail! St George) has been created on the Isle of Wight and at Horsham in West Sussex and has links to Embaixadores da Alegria (Portuguese for ‘The Happy Ambassadors’) which is Rio de Janeiro’s no 1 disability samba school. Artist exchanges between The New Carnival Company, their IOW partners Shademakers UK and leading Brazilian carnival designers have already taken place as part of the project. The Link to Rio also ties in with Olympics as the Games are going there for 2016!
The huge international success of this project has led to its inclusion in LONDON 2012 FESTIVAL, the curated nation-wide programme of arts and culture (The Cultural Olympiad) which was launched by Lord Coe in London this week.
Visitors to The New Carnival Company’s Arts Parade on Saturday can expect to see a fabulous Rio-style presentation on the road involving over 100 disabled and non-disabled performers in amazing costumes, an integrated Samba band FROM Horsham (the bateria), Flag Bearers and Drum Queens, plus a huge Float depicting St George riding the Dragon complete with live singers and musicians.
The New Carnival Company has been working with the following groups on Isle of Wight to make this amazing spectacle: Shademakers UK – creators of the fantastic dragon float, local costume artists Jane Pearce, Emma Baxter, Sherrell Davenport and performers from Way Forward project, Phoenix group, Hot Green Bus Dance Project (disability dance) and Isle of Wight College Performing Arts students.
The Parade assembles at Simeon Street Recreation Ground from 2pm, leaves at 3pm via West Hill Road for Ryde Esplanade, Dover St, Star St, High St, Union St and return to the Park via Esplanade.
The Arts Parade also features entries from many other Island schools and community groups themed on ‘A Carnival of Festivals’. Look out for Godshill Primary School’s ‘Bali Kite Festival’, Newport CE Primary’s ‘Inca Festival of the Sun’, Cowes Primary with ‘St Patricks Day’ and a fantastic new entry from the Island’s top carnival troupe Mas Fusion – inspired by an ‘English May Day’ celebration. Frankie Goldspink, Participation and Learning Manager said “this year’s theme has really caught the imagination of groups and is a great example of how participating in carnival can encourage learning in school.”
There are also guest entries in the Parade from as far afield as Oxford (Sol Samba), Brighton (Critical Masquerade), St Leonards Festival, and after-parade entertainment in Simeon Street Recreation ground featuring Wycombe Steel Orchestra as part of the annual Carnival Network South East’s GALA show, hosted this year by The New Carnival Company. See www.thenewcarnivalcompany.com