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IW College performing arts students partner with Osborne House for Mardi Gras

Performing arts students from the IW College recently visited New Carnival Company’s (NCC) Studio in Ryde to develop costumes representing Queen Victoria’s children, for June’s Biosphere Island themed Mardi Gras parade.

The group have partnered with English Heritage’s Osborne House, working closely with education visits officer, Laura Bosworth, to produce a performance celebrating 2019’s bicentennial anniversary of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s birth. Laura visited the college to discuss how to capture this concept, paying particular attention to the love story between Victoria and Albert. The students decided to set their short performance to the classical music that Albert would arrange to be played on Victoria’s birthdays. The piece will cover various themes, from Victoria’s romance and happy times with Albert, to her children and death.

IW College’s head of performing arts, Katy Edmunds, said, “The partnership with Osborne House has been fantastic for our students in terms of becoming self-employed artists because they learn to work with clients and meet a brief. They are really looking forward to Mardi Gras, to showcase their own project and perform together for the final time before graduating.”

Mardi Gras organisers NCC have ensured that every school and community group taking part has partnered with a local cultural, heritage or environmental organisation to help with research and ideas around their own specialised topics.

Laura said, “We have been delighted to partner with the IW College and I am really excited about the students performance, as it reflects English Heritage’s aim to work collaboratively with education groups and unpack the historical stories of our sites with young people in innovative and creative ways.”

Over 1000 participants will take part in Mardi Gras Biosphere Island on Saturday June 29. The theme supports IW Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s bid for the Island to receive UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, with a decision expected just days before the parade.



Notes for Editor:

The Mardi Gras is organised by the New Carnival Company (NCC), who are based in Ryde, Isle of Wight. The New Carnival Company’s 2019 Mardi Gras work is supported by IW AONB, Arts Council England,  East Wight Landscape Partnership ‘Down to the Coast’ and Ryde Town Council.

This year it takes place on Saturday 29 June. In 2018 this inclusive carnival brought together around 1000 participants from 31 schools and community groups for the spectacular Global Biosphere themed parade. The theme is always selected to compliment the National Curriculum, and the NCC work closely supporting schools, colleges and community groups in the development and lead up to the big day. Last year, chief executive of the Arts Council England, Darren Henley attended the event, recognising the IW Mardi Gras model as one of the leading UK carnivals for its school engagement, education program and promotion of creativity.


This year’s Island Biosphere themed Mardi Gras follows last year’s Global Biosphere, supporting IW Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (IW AONB) bid for the IW to become a UNESCO global biosphere in 2019. A UNESCO Biosphere is an area that promotes sustainability and is celebrated for the balanced relationship between its residents and their environment. Currently 686 reserves can be found in 122 countries, and all are exemplars of sustainable living and development. The IW bid is currently being considered and a decision is expected by 19 June 2019.


The 2019 Mardi Gras broad ‘Island Biosphere’ themes include landscape, geology, wildlife, food and farming, woodland and forest, historic environment, culture, dark skies, tourism and recreation. Under these headings, school and group projects for research include fossils, red squirrels, dairy products, The Needles, star gazing, and the IW Festival.


Organisations kindly partnering the schools and groups to provide specialist information during the research process include the National Trust, Island Rivers, Hampshire and IW Wildlife Trust, Dinosaur Isle, Wight Squirrels, iWatch Wildlife,  IW AONB, IW Natural History Society, Briddlesford Lodge Farm, The Forestry Commission, Carisbrooke Castle Museum, English Heritage, Archaeology Discovery Centre, Brading Roman Villa, The Shipwreck Centre, Dimbola Lodge Museum, Vectis Astronomical Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England, The Bat Hospital, Vectis Ventures, Arc Consulting, Cycle Wight and Classic Boat Museum.


For more information on the above, please contact Chris Slann, executive director at the New Carnival Company on 01983 716095 or chris@thenewcarnivalcompany.com


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