Construction work at the Mardi Gras workshop in Erskineville got off to a late start for the 2003 parade. But workshop manager Bernadett Butson (pictured) remains pretty calm for someone in her position. (Either that or she’s doing a good job of masking her nerves.)

It’s always a push toward the end, no matter how organised you are. But we’re looking pretty healthy at this stage, she says.

This year’s workshop is being run on the proverbial oily rag, it would seem.

There’s a core crew of four us, so it’s very tight, she says. We’re trying to do it as cheaply and effectively as we can.

Butson says she took careful consideration in choosing her four core workshop staffers, opting for people who were multi-skilled: professionals who could sew, sculpt, design and -“ importantly -“ deal with volunteers.

It’s not just a case of having volunteers come in here and put some glitter on and that’s it, she explains. They’re learning skills and taking it a step up.

There is a level of excitement in here and there are a lot of new faces coming on board, Butson says. We’ve had old workshop managers and old crew come in and say it’s like a different place, just the whole attitude has changed. There’s a real excitement.

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