Manchester Pride. Cinderella gets a top of the range carriage
The team at Manchester Pride came to us with a relatively last minute creative challenge to create the official Manchester Pride entry for the big Saturday parade through Manchester.
The chosen theme 'Once upon a time' gave us the perfect opportunity to maximise the dramatic possibilities of the brief to create a showstopper front of parade piece that would resonate with people of all ages: Cinderella's carriage.
Everyone loves a good story, so the classic fairy tale of Cinderella was given an audaciously camp reworking with the main lead for parade dressed in drag and accompanied by an entourage of dance troopers bringing an added element of theatrical animation.
The centerpiece to our front of parade spectacle was Cinderella's carriage which played the dual role of housing a massive tune-belting sound system that provided the musical cues to both Cinderalla and her troupe of dancers.
Our experience from creating other parades in Manchester, Newcastle, Paisley and Exeter has taught us that crowds love structures that are fantastical and larger than life. Parades, after all, are about celebrating the extraordinary against the wide open canvas of a city centre - so it's important to create something with an element of theatricality and scale.
A vision of white and purple, our front of parade piece paved the way for one of the biggest Pride parades in the UK, nearly a mile long, representing LGBT community groups and causes from across Manchester and the North West. Our aim was to create a piece that was humorous, celebratory, a visual show-stopper - and created excitement and anticipation for the mass of parade entrants following behind.
Designed by Candida Boyes, Artistic Director for Manchester Day, with choreography by Ruth Jones (who also worked on Manchester Day this year) the end result was a crowd-pleasing piece of linear pantomime fun with a dream-come-true carriage (pulled in true panto tradition by two costumed horses) with added story-telling created by the music, dance, costumes and theatrical masks.
This was our first foray into applying our outdoor arts skills to a Pride parade and we're looking forward to working with Manchester Pride in 2017 on further developing the creative possibilities of this event.
I think a great deal was achieved in a very small time frame and I look forward to seeing how we can build on this in the future.
Having our own parade entry added to the magic of the parade for us in this special year where it was led by our very own Lord Mayor in his custom pink robes!
Thank you all for your hard work and commitment to this project