THE theme for next year’s Mardi Gras in Ryde has been revealed as Reflections of India — helping to mark 70 years of Indian independence.
For our 2017 Mardi Gras theme, we shall be celebrating 70 years since the Independence of India. The Official theme was unveiled at a special reception and launch event held at Ryde Academy Theatre last Tuesday. 65 teachers and community group leaders from all over the Island attended, alongside special guests who will be supporting the Mardi Gras education programme including Shelley Kimber, Education Officer for English Heritage at Osborne House, Kath Page from the IW Schools Music Hub and Geeta Pandear from the professional Indian arts collective T-HOP who are based in Oxfordshire.
Reflections of India will align with National celebrations planned for next year as part of the UK-India: Year of Culture, being led by the British Council.
The theme has a special resonance for local heritage and history buffs through links between Queen Victoria, Empress of India and Osborne House. In her later years the Queen was mostly resident on the Island, effectively running the British Empire from Osborne, and employed scores of Indian servants in the Royal Household. Abdul Karim, the most famous of these who became her personal friend, teacher and confidant, is the subject of a new film ‘Victoria and Abdul’ starring Judi Dench, which was recently shot on location here.
The Mardi Gras Parade, which will take place on Saturday 1 July next year, will depict 25 scenes from Classical India, Imperial India and Modern India. Artistic Director Frankie Goldspink said “we are challenging perceptions of India and aim to shift awareness of stereotypical scenes and stories to a contemporary understanding of diasporic contributions to everyday life”.
Schools and groups have been eager to sign up and present sections of the narrative, which journeys from ‘The Taj Mahal’ to ‘The East India Company’ to ‘Bollywood’ and to ‘The software capital of the World’. 10 of the sections relate entirely to our local heritage through Queen Victoria’s days at Osborne