Getting into the carnival spirit

Pupils from Rockcliffe First School take part in a workshop last year. Picture by Iain Brown.

Pupils from Rockcliffe First School take part in a workshop last year. Picture by Iain Brown.

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Children from across Whitley Bay will be getting into the carnival spirit over the coming weeks.

A series of creative workshops are being held to produce costumes and giant structures to feature in the Whitley Bay carnival parade.

Pupils, along with their parents, grandparents and carers, from 10 schools including Rockcliffe First School and Marine Park First School will be joining in with the workshops in the lead-up to the event on Saturday, May 28.

The carnival, which was revived in 2014 by Whitley Bay Big Local after a 20-year absence, will once again bring music, dancing and colourful costumes to the streets of Whitley Bay.

This year, the carnival will have a circus theme and a full day of celebrations is planned including street performances and live music at the Spanish City Plaza, a circus arena and, for the very first time, the entertainment will continue into the evening with a Carnival Ball.

Carnival creative producer, Carol Alevroyianni, said: “The support of Arts Council England and local businesses will help us to put in place six weeks of pre-event workshops in double the number of local schools and groups as well as running weekly brass and woodwind rehearsals.

“This means that more local people than ever are able to take part.

“The carnival is something for the whole community to be part of and we are delighted that we are able to engage with even more schools and groups.”

Lindsay Ford, at Rockcliffe First School, added: “We are delighted to again be involved with the Carnival.”

“Last year, 60 pupils and their families took part in the workshops and many more have jumped at the chance again this time around.

“The children really enjoyed making their own costumes as well as walking in the parade itself and by giving everyone the opportunity to be part of both the preparations and the event on the day it really feels like a true community event that spans the generations.”

The carnival has secured financial backing from Arts Council England to help assemble a team of experienced artists, musicians and dancers headed up by international carnival artist Richard Broderick.

There has also been backing by local businesses including Di Meo’s Delaval Ices, Pantrini’s, T&D Leisure, The Whitley Whaler, East Coast Taxi’s, Tyne Idols, The Venetian, Rutherford Wilkinson Ltd and the News Guardian.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets to take part in the colourful procession which will start at Whitley Bay Metro station and finish at the Spanish City Plaza where live music and street performers including some of the region’s most exciting artists will be entertaining the crowds.

More details can be found on the Whitley Bay Community Carnival Facebook group and #whitleybaycarnival