New Mardi Gras will employ a creative director, rewrite its parade entry requirements and revive its workshops as part of its commitment to breathe new life into the gay pride parade.

MC Julie McCrossin told the packed It’s Your Parade forum at Paddington RSL that the consultation had received 98 formal submissions, 156 Facebook posts and a video submission, authored by a mix of Mardi Gras members and members of the wider GLBTI community.

“[What] came out of the consultation were a whole lot of views on artistic standards, a whole lot of views on who should be in the parade and who the parade is for, and stuff about funding and sponsorship,” McCrossin said.

Newly appointed parade associate producer Victor Petrov said a creative director would be employed from this year to help thread the parade together, while greater resources would go towards revitalising the workshops so community members could network and share skills.

New Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik told the room Petrov’s appointment nine months out from the 2011 parade was part of a long-term strategy to start planning earlier so a better result could be achieved.

Conversations around who should be in the parade dealt with both standards of entry and political relevance. Of those who took part in the consultation nearly two thirds wanted entries to be more GLBTI rights focused, while only 34 percent wanted non-GLBTI issue groups included.

New Mardi Gras has committed to a rewrite of the parade’s entry criteria to make these more understandable and will design a new entry form.

New Mardi Gras will also improve its communication to float entries in terms of being accepted or rejected from the event.

A principal who organised a 2008 entry spotlighting GLBTI youth suicide, which was to contain a symbolic effigy of a student who had hung themselves, spoke of the disappointment of being told just days out from the parade the entry would require significant modifications.

New Mardi Gras’ Danielle Harvey said concerns a depiction of suicide could play an instructive role for at-risk persons had been raised late in the process and the organisation regretted the late notice.

Another audience member asked why entries featuring full nudity were excluded.

New Mardi Gras co-chair Steph Sands explained this was against the law and that City of Sydney had only given permission for this year’s Spencer Tunick photography event because it was held at 5am when few people were around.

New Mardi Gras also committed to funding additional port-a-loos at the parade starting area in 2011.

info: A full list of the ideas that Mardi Gras will implement or investigate further will be published on the New Mardi Gras website – www.mardigras.org.au

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