This year’s Mardi Gras will air on SBS on March 6, hosted by drag queen Courtney Act, comedian, actor and presenter Joel Creasey, Channel 10 Presenter Narelda Jacobs and stand-up comedian and actor Zoë Coombs Marr.
This year Mardi Gras will be hosted by the Sydney Cricket Ground, a change from the usual parade down Oxford and Flinders Street, to ensure COVID-19 safety for the whole community. For those watching the iconic celebrations from home, Mardi Gras will be streamed on SBS On Demand from 6pm AEDT, and the full parade will be broadcast at 7.30pm on SBS and NITV.
Mardi Gras has been the staple of Sydney’s LGBTIQ+ scene since 1978, and this year’s event is an important opportunity to look back at this history of activism and protests that form such an essential part of the celebrations.
The theme of the 2021 festival is RISE, a call to action for everyone to rise together through love, compassion, respect, and understanding.
Zoë Coombs Marr said, “It’s going to be a totally different Mardi Gras this year. I’m really excited to see the different ways that our community interprets the struggles and the magnitude of the past year, in ways that only our community can… with leather, cardboard, and eco-friendly glitter!”
The event will feature soon to be announced celebrity guests, as well as an array of eye-catching costumes, puppetry, and props.
Courtney Act said, “I can’t wait to get my heels on the pitch, wearing a lace-front in place of a baggy green, to celebrate this unique and vibrant Mardi Gras parade with my Indigenous, black, brown, trans, bisexual, asexual, intersex, lesbian, gay and queer siblings.
We’re going to bring all of the fun, glamour, heart, diversity, and storytelling from the SCG and shout it loud and proud across Australia and around the world.”
After the broadcast of Mardi Gras, NITV will show Black Divaz at 11.30pm, a film about the inaugural Miss First Nation pageant. In the lead up to Mardi Gras, they will showcase a range of LGBTIQ+ content, including documentaries such as The Stars Will Do and Drag Heals, as well as film Faboriginal.
SBS World Movies will program LGBTIQ+ films from around the world in Mardi Gras week, including A Fantastic Woman, Tu Me Manques and Carol. SBS On Demand are presenting Rainbow Pride, a collection of movies exploring LGBTIQ+ themes including The Kids Are Alright, Goodbye Mother, Holding the Man, and more.
In addition, Courtney Act will curate a special collection of TV series celebrating the spirit of Mardi Gra in Courtney Act Guest Curates.
SBS VICELAND will air an encore of the Mardi Gras broadcast on Sunday 7 March at 10:45pm. In the leadup, there will be screenings of acclaimed documentaries such as Deep Water: The Real Story, Country Town Pride, Australiana: Island Queens and The Last Lesbian Bars.
SBS Radio will share the personal stories of LGBTIQ+ people across Australia’s multicultural communities and SBS Voices will release a collection of eight memoir stories from LGBTQIA+ writers.
SBS’s broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is produced by Blink TV.
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