Manchester Pride 2017 – championing the cause of education
Raising the creative bar in a much loved parade
To create a stand out piece to promote Manchester Pride's chosen theme for 2017: Education and Equality
A golden opportunity to make a real impact
Manchester's annual Pride parade is a late summer crowd puller that attracts huge numbers of people to the streets of Manchester during the mid-way part of this four day city centre festival celebrating the full spectrum of people within the LGBT community.
Using a lead parade piece to convey potentially complex issues around education, tolerance, ambition and aspiration is a delicate balance, particularly within a parade which has a largely celebratory disposition.
Our solution was to create a show stopping piece which exuded the flamboyance typical of a Pride parade, with an added element of visual wit and cleverly-crafted mass movement choreography.
Working with our Creative Director Candida Boyes and Choreographer Ruth Jones, we produced a high impact piece that played a key role in delivering a powerful message with humour, a touch of glamour and a strident sense of confidence. An ear-busting sound track, which included school-related hits such as Bakermat's 'Teach Me and 'Wings' by Little Mix, gave a funky, energetic beat for a lively set dance routine that helped convey additional celebratory messages around education and achievement.
Using books as a symbol for education, we encased a mobile sound system with a 'gold' leaf book, upon which we placed a statuesque figure of a forward leaning sequinned graduate. The 'learning' themes were further enhanced with larger than life stilt walkers with varsity-style striped blazers and hats made of towers of books. The trick with pieces like this is to convey a simple message through a mix of strong visual props that create a layer of related themes. This was further enhanced with part of the dance troupe wearing university gowns.
A rallying cry of 'no more fear, no more hate, we are here to educate' brought an additional agitprop dimension to the piece.
Working with our creative partners, and in close collaboration with Manchester Pride, the final ensemble was the result of a series of creative workshops and mass movement rehearsals led by Walk the Plank.
The piece was made possible with assistance from Arts Council England.