Carnivals up and down the country are working together to bring a celebration full of camaraderie, vibrancy and exuberance, to every child and young person this summer. The new National Children’s Carnival Week, 12-18th July 2021, is the brainchild of the UK Centre for Carnival Arts based in Luton, and aims to get schoolteachers, children and their families everywhere involved in a remarkable upbeat finale to what has been such a challenging academic year.

The idea has proved so popular that carnival partners in Hastings, Isle of Wight, London, Bridgwater, Bristol, Norwich, Northampton, Luton, Manchester and Derby have pledged to support the project, which went live in April.

Clary Salandy, Artistic Director of UKCCA, explains: “We recognise that teachers have been under enormous pressure to keep children learning during the pandemic, so we are offering a range of carnival activities that can link to the summer curriculum. Our dream is to have all children in the UK celebrate carnival together in their schools.”

Fantastic Fox book cart by Radiator Arts

The programme will provide online teaching resources and ‘make carnival at home’ videos that can be shared and delivered in all kinds of settings, in and out of school, for everyone to get involved. During National Children’s Carnival Week in July, there will be mini carnivals ‘popping up’ all over the place, in the safety of school playgrounds, on sports fields and in secure outdoor community spaces.

Over the last 13 months, carnival parades, outdoor arts and events have all been severely hit. With cancellations being announced once again, the professional carnival sector felt the need to act. All partners’ own events have been badly affected, which has impacted on the thousands of children and young people who take part each year, making costumes and choreography at school or at clubs and presenting them ‘live’ on the streets.

Mandy Curtis, Director of 18 Hours Events which produces St Leonards Festival and Hastings Storytelling Festival, both of which had their schools’ parades cancelled during the pandemic, says: “We usually run a children’s parade during the summer as part of St Leonards Festival. Many teachers have told us they’re disappointed not to be taking part in 2020 and 2021. So, to make up for this, we have joined the National Children’s Carnival Week programme for 2021. We are encouraging all Hastings and St Leonards schools to take part.”

Schools and groups are being asked to record their projects and their own carnival celebrations and share them onto the national page and onto St Leonards Festival social media pages. National Children’s Carnival Week (#kids4carnival) will promote opportunities to participate in all carnival artforms, including steel band, samba drum, and calypso (lyric) composition. There is even a national children’s carnival song, This is our Carnival which is being shared and taught across participating schools and aspires to be the world’s greatest live sing-out, with half a million young voices taking part.

For more information about National Children’s Carnival Week visit carnivalarts.org.uk or 18hours.org.uk/childrens-carnival-week/527 

For specific information contact local carnival partner Mandy Curtis, 18 Hours by phone 01424 733132 or email [email protected]


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