Emergency Exit Arts and Mandinga Arts present From Tiny Acorns, a spellbinding celebration of our country’s diversity and our strong communities as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
On Sunday 5 June 2022, under the watchful eyes of a billion viewers across the globe, London’s streets came alive in a riot of colour, music, dance and carnival as outdoor arts pioneers Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) and Mandinga Arts paraded From Tiny Acorns.
“At EEA we are renowned for staging spectacular large-scale performances that bring the nation together, and The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant is about as big as it gets. We are incredibly proud to have been chosen to create a spectacular celebration with such a diverse mix of participants whilst raising awareness about people everywhere to be free, safe, and equal. We’re creating an extravagant and exciting feast for the senses, to bring colour and joy to the streets of London.”Daniel Bernstein, EEA CEO
“From tiny acorns mighty oaks grow”, and at the heart of the parade a mighty oak tree stood tall, a symbol of stability in the face of constant storms and shifting winds. It is both a striking metaphor for Her Majesty’s 70-year reign and for the resilience and strength of all of our people including those from LGBTQIA+ communities across the globe.
16 metre-long ribbons unfurled from a spectacular maypole and revealed an image of The Queen on one side and the spectrum of rainbow colours on the other. The rainbow is a global symbol celebrating the diversity of human sexuality and gender.
More than 200 performers from across the country took part in From Tiny Acorns. The troupe of musicians, dancers, artists, and performers connected communities from all across the UK, and featured participants of all ages and a variety of ethnicities, celebrating the many cultures and experiences that make up the beauty of this country. Performers came from Blackpool, Northern Ireland, Southend, London, Preston, Milton Keynes, and many more.
The Gangsta Grans, an over 60's street dance group from Preston, opened From Tiny Acorns dressed in fabulous Baiana costumes, alongside the elder ladies from the Iberian Folk Dance Group based in South London. The group is made up of 12 over 60's, who practice Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American dances. Dressed in elaborate costumes, our performers interacted with the gathered crowds in playful performances set to the percussive beats of Rhythms of the City.
EEA and Mandinga Arts were specially commissioned by the Pageant Master, Adrian Evans, to present one of only 12 large-scale creations in Act 3 of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant Let’s Celebrate, which focuses on creativity, ingenuity, humour and community spirit to celebrate The Queen’s extraordinary life experience.
A platform to celebrate diversity 🌈
With this show we wanted to celebrate diversity and freedom across the Common Wealth. Elements such as the rainbow ribbons and the field of pansy costumes were used to champion LGBTQAI+ rights.
The inspiration for the Field of Pansies came from the Proud Interventions project theme 'sticks and stones', specifically looking at language used to reference LGBTQIA+ culture in the UK. The term 'Pansy' is used to disparage men (gay men in particular) as effeminate, weak and cowardly. As a flower symbolising love, both platonically and romantically, the pansy represents community and togetherness. The individual headpieces, combined with the size of the costume and group movement, reclaim the pansy as a tool of empowerment for the community. At the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, dancers from @east15actingschool performed in the pansy field for #FromTinyAcorns, celebrating freedom and expression.
Visit giveout.org to learn more and donate to support LGBT and queer rights around the globe.
“The Platinum Jubilee Pageant is a hugely important opportunity to celebrate and promote equality. If just one LGBTQIA+ girl, boy or non-binary child sees their community represented and feels included in the rainbow of performers on this historic occasion, knowing they will watch with a smile on their face will be worth the effort.”David Corbell, Creative Collaborator
On May 1st, Emergency Exit Arts, Mandinga Arts, and Rhythms of the City met at the iconic Woolwich Barracks for our tech rehearsal. The East 15 students joined us from Southend to practice using the ribbons and dancing around the maypole, in true May Day style.
The Oak Tree
Creating the tree, from the skeleton structure to the branches and leaves, has been an elaborate process involving a large group of artists and volunteers at EEA’s base, Rothbury Hall, and has taken over 1000 hours of work. For the past 3 months, the space has been filled with the giant branches and trunks which make up the full oak tree.
A symbol of longevity, strength, the cycle of life, and Middle England, the oak tree represents Her Majesty’s 70-year reign, as well as the resilience, strength, and growth of all communities across the globe.
In a colourful twist of traditional maypole dancing, the East 15 students will dance around the Maypole with rainbow ribbons in hand.
The rainbow is a global symbol celebrating the diversity of human sexuality and gender. The rainbow ribbons also represent the many communities that make up the UK. More than 200 performers from across the country will take part in #FromTinyAcorns. The troupe of musicians, dancers, artists, and performers will connect communities from all across the UK, featuring participants of all ages and a variety of ethnicities, celebrating the many cultures and experiences of this country. Performers are coming from Blackpool, Northern Ireland, Southend, London, Preston, Milton Keynes, and many more. Click here to find out more about our performers.
Images by Laima Arlauskaite, @tinywindowstudio
The blue ribbons which will unfurl from the 7m maypole will come together to create the iconic image of The Queen used on postage stamps.
The blue ribbons were created by the artist, Dream Safari, who used spray paint to reproduce the famous image of The Queen. As the ribbons are of such a large scale, Dream Safari created this piece in a vast, disused warehouse in Kent. The talented Sam Noble cut and sewed the long ribbons. See the process below.