The Carnival of the Animals was a long time in the creation. It was part of a Great British Carnival event which involved collaboration with other leading Carnival companies and cultural initiatives to provide a day long event culminating in a finale show which would be conceived, curated and organised by Shademakers UK. With Costume from Mandinga Arts, Mahogany and Shademakers and Squibbers from Bridgewater Guy Fawkes Carnival.

The event took part at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stamford, London.

Performed at OLYMPIC PARK 27th JULY 2014

“We must imagine the park as a huge savannah surrounded by sea in all directions. The creatures of the savannah have been living their own private lives in troupes, bands, swarms, parliaments, gaggles and flocks since time began. They each have their own way of doing things.  There are occasional squabbles, but generally they are a happy bunch and see no reason to make a fuss. Sometimes, different creatures meet one another, by chance and this becomes an opportunity for great celebration. Judging by the way one another’s appearance surprises the other as the have not seen such alike before, they are bound to show off and perform.

The only way they can tell whether the other creature is a friend or not, is to make a sound or a movement gesture, this can take a while, until they become familiar. It is quite literally ‘a song and dance’ routine. This situation pops up now and again, but the full picture of life on the savannah is never fully understood.

One day, a strange sight is seen on the ocean to the North of the land…. at about 11oclock (on the map).

By 12o’clock the strange floating object had moved. The animals and creatures decided to follow the strange vessel. The journey led them to an area where all other creatures were gathered. (repeated for the other semi circle)

When everyone had gathered where they all held together, they noticed the cheeky monkeys were already way ahead of all the other creatures of the savannah, and were already making a song and dance.

Monkeys could plan things in advance, which was an advantage over all of the other creatures, but they were also respected above all others because they were wise and quick to learn. It was sometimes a big mistake to trust them, because these tricksters would rub monkey poo in your fur if you were not watching, so you had to be careful.

Anyway, as the monkeys were so far ahead, everybody else decided they should follow them. It was an easy path because the monkeys had left a trail, but, where were they were going???

The monkeys were aiming directly to a structure that nobody had ever seen before, directly at the centre of their earth, so it felt special.

All the while, a gentle, pastoral sound was heard all around, but it was clear that the beat was steadily increasing. It was as though the pulsating sound created a feeling in all the creatures that the chase had started, just like when the lions were waking. However, this sound was very different, it had a rhythm, which excited all the creatures.

For the first time creatures with big wings and a variety of beautiful colours in their dress had gathered and began to move in rhythm with the music.

Eight very large figures moved slowly toward the structure as though they were drawn to the towers like beasts to water. The monkeys had realized by this time that the tower at the centre of their world was something sacred and it was important for everybody else to gather around. The monkeys knew by this time their job was done and left the scene to pester the chickens and the gathered crowds needed to be careful in case one of them was mistaken for fowl.

As if by magic, the eight large figures could fit onto the frame of the tower structure and with a little help from some of the creatures were helped into place. By this time the musical rhythm had become a powerful pulse of energy. Those gathered around the structure were compelled to move around the structure to see all sides and angles. This movement created an energy not unlike electricity, which, of course, nobody knew existed as yet, but they could sense the feeling anyway.

It also became clear that these large figures weren’t animals at all but, were comet stars. They had dropped onto the land many years ago and had been unable to leave. Later they were to be known as angels by a specie of creature called humans who knew everything and nothing all at once. They were to be known by the the humans as messengers from the heavens and fallen angels and they carried with them DNA which was to be important for all those creatures that had been and were yet to come. In fact we all have a little bit of the comet angels in us right now. As all the creatures looked towards the heavens a communal gnosis was apparent, with the most beautiful crescendo of music reaching its final stage being heard, as the Angels began rising skywards, cheering and chanting was heard.  As this point of no return was reached, the creatures were gyrating in a wild frenzy and some had been so enchanted they were in a breakaway trance, just like in some of the major carnivals of the world.

This was a ceremony after all, and to help the comets on their journey, special magicians from a far west land had sailed with their floating vessel, and brought their new fangled invention, called ‘fire’. They set to work to and the smoke rose to the heavens and all those gathered could see the fire worked until the fire went out and all was done.” Paul McLaren

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