Enriching lives, connecting communities

Head of Arts Council England to visit Isle of Wight for Mardi Gras

Chief Executive of the Arts Council, Darren Henley, will be visiting the Isle of Wight later this month for the New Carnival Company’s annual Mardi Gras in Ryde which showcases the very best of children and young people’s carnival.

The New Carnival Company is one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations – the collection of leading arts and cultural organisations that receive regular funding from the Arts Council, and form the backbone of the funder and development agency’s work. 

The Mardi Gras which takes place on Saturday 30 June is a fantastic themed parade featuring around 800 children and young people from 31 schools across the Island. Community organisations take part every year, alongside samba bands and other arts organisations with some visiting carnival groups. Audiences can expect spectacular costume, colour, and choreography.

The New Carnival Company has been working closely with schools, academies, Platform One Music College, the Isle of Wight Music Hub and two Caribbean music artists to compose and produce the Mardi Gras anthem which will provide the musical backdrop for the event.

Underpinning the Mardi Gras is an extensive education programme that runs throughout the year. The parade has an overarching theme which is chosen to fit within the national curriculum and topical areas of study, often in line with National celebrations or anniversaries. This year’s theme is Global Biospheres. The theme is a collaboration with Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who are presently leading on a bid for the Island to become the third English UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve by 2020.

This theme of cultural education is close to Henley’s heart, being the author of two independent government reviews into music and cultural education and a number of books on the arts. His visit to the Island comes just days after the publication of his new book: Creativity which focuses on the way in which creativity impacts on our daily lives and our communities, and how it is vital in education and for our economy.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “I am delighted to be visiting the Isle of Wight for this special and much-loved annual event. The Mardi Gras is creativity in action, a dynamic, living example of the benefits of creativity in education and in everyday life.

“I believe that by equipping children with the creativity to make the best use of their talents, and providing them with expert teachers who can nurture those abilities, the next generation will have the skills necessary to invent tomorrow. And I’m pleased to see the New Carnival Company collaborating with Island schools and partners to put creativity at the heart of the education system.”

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