Enriching lives, connecting communities

ALEGRIA is Jumping for JOY!

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The New Carnival Company is delighted to announce that its newest project ‘Alegria’, a partnership with VIVA Carnival Club in Ryde and Embaixadores de Alegria in Rio, has been awarded a major grant from Unlimited – an arts commissioning programme that aims to embed work by disabled artists within the UK and international cultural sectors, reach new audiences and shift perceptions of disabled people.

The grant of £84,000 is to produce and showcase, nationally and internationally, a fully integrated Brazilian style samba school – Alegria. (Alegria means Joy in Portuguese). A samba school comprises of many inter-disciplinary carnival artforms including drum, dance, costume, theatre and song and is rarely fully produced in the UK.

In August of this year a team of eight people from VIVA and the NCC undertook a week long research and development visit to their project partners in Rio, to better understand the work of Embaixadores da Alegria who are undisputedly the most inclusive carnival organisation in the world. Embaixadores da Alegria regularly engage over 2000 disabled performers in a heart stopping showcase in Rio’s famous Sambadrome at carnival time. The Isle of Wight team visited Samba City, where thousands of glittering costumes are created every year, as well as taking part in a host of creative and cultural workshops laid on by their hosts. VIVA artists also led a ‘superhero’ mask making workshop in a residential home for young people with learning disabilities – the first costumes created for Embaixadores da Alegria 2018 carnival campaign.

Jo Verrent, Senior Producer for Unlimited, explained “For the first time since 2012, Unlimited is supporting a carnival project – Viva Carnival working with the New Carnival Company to produce the ‘Alegria Samba School’ for national and international touring. In the current political climate it is more important than ever that art is used to bridge the gap between peoples, between nations, between communities, providing a different view of the future, one in which equality and access are seen as vital not only to the cultural sector but to our societies as a whole. We are delighted that Unlimited International is part of actively creating that future.

Chris Slann, Executive Director for the New Carnival Company said “This is a massive boost for integrated carnival and really confirms the Islands status as national centre for inclusive best practice within the arts. We are really delighted with this grant, but we are aware that the project still has a long way to go in terms of additional funding and a very short timescale. We have to produce the Alegria Samba School and then tour the entire collaboration within one your!! Unlimited have set us challenging targets for this work. It’s going to be a very busy 12 months!”

For more information contact Chris Slann, Director, the New Carnival Company and also Secretary, VIVA CARNIVAL on 01983 716095 Email chris@thenewcarnivalcompany.com

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