For the first time, SBS will bring the colour and chaos of the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade LIVE to loungerooms across Australia, with a special broadcast airing on Saturday 29th February at 7.30pm. The broadcast will also stream live via SBS On Demand with the geo-block removed, making it available to watch around the world.
Joining comedian Joel Creasey and Studio 10 Presenter Narelda Jacobs is drag icon Courtney Act and comedian Zoë Coombs Marr to host coverage of the event. The broadcast will feature interviews with celebrity guests Sam Smith, Dua Lipa and Kesha as well as a special performance from Courtney Act.
Joel Creasey said: “I am equal parts thrilled and astounded that SBS are allowing me to broadcast live on the gayest night of the year (after my birthday, of course). What could possibly go wrong? All jokes aside, I could not be more excited to be hosting again alongside the sensational Narelda Jacobs. Plus Zoe Coombs-Marr is back to bring us all the color and camper-y from the streets. And, I am of course thrilled to welcome the incredible Courtney Act to our glittery team. What a treat! Dust off your hot pants and crack out the (biodegradable) confetti, it’s time to celebrate!”
Courtney Act said: “My first time hosting Mardi Gras on SBS and they raise the stakes by making it live! I promise to securely fasten all wigs and dresses to ensure there are no live TV wardrobe malfunctions (again)! Mardi Gras is a celebration for the queer community where we invite the world to come and watch our radical self expression, to share our stories, and amplify the voices of our siblings whose stories need to be heard. “
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras remains one of the world’s largest and most loved LGBTIQ+ celebrations. This year the festival is themed What Matters?, to acknowledge how far the LGBTIQ+ community have come, and how much further there is still to go.
Narelda Jacobs said: ““Mardi Gras is so much more than an incredible party. It brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate diversity and sends a message to the world that being LGBTIQ+ isn’t just normal – it’s fabulous! My first Mardi Gras experience was in 1998 as a 21 year old, who’d just come out. I was brought up in a fundamentalist Christian family where it was an accepted belief that being homosexual was a sin and gays were damned to hell. The pilgrimage to Sydney all those years ago allowed me to stand proud as a lesbian. I felt a strong sense of belonging and identity. The same arms that welcomed me over two decades ago, have welcomed countless others. This Mardi Gras,“What Matters”, is at the core of the party, and what matters most is each other. In 2020 I’m looking forward to giving all my love to this beautiful and generous community. Let’s celebrate together!”
Zoë Coombs Marr said: "I’m absolutely bloody stoked to be back onboard for another year of sideline mischief at the Mardi Gras broadcast. Last year I talked to bears and pop-stars and baby-dykes and even tourists! In face paint! Our community never ceases to delight me, so who knows what treasures this parade will hold. You bring the party poppers, and I’ll do my best to contain my excitement on the night."
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “We are delighted and honoured to be broadcasting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade LIVE across Australia and around the world on SBS On Demand. “What Matters” to SBS is giving a voice to underrepresented communities and promoting social inclusion and acceptance through our content. We can’t wait to share another amazing evening of love with our audience.”
SBS celebrates Mardi Gras across the network:
For the first time, NITV will simulcast the live broadcast on Saturday 29February at 7.30pm. Throughout the entire month of February, they will celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community with a slate of special programming including Killing Patient Zero, a documentary about the man wrongfully accused of being patient zero for the AIDS crisis, as well Black Divaz, about the inaugural Miss First Nation pageant.
In the lead-up to the big night, SBS Radio will explore ‘What Matters’ to gender diverse members of CALD communities in 2020 with deeply personal stories in over 25 languages. SBS Arabic 24 will report live from Oxford Street to Arabic-speaking audiences around Australia on Facebook Live.
From Monday 24 February, SBS World Movies will showcase the best of LGBTIQ+ films with Queer Cinema Week, including Love Is Strange starring Alfred Molina and John Lithgow and the Golden Globe© nominated Pride. SBS VICELAND will air an encore of the broadcast at on Sunday 1 March at 10.45pm.
Local series Cloudy River* will headline the Rainbow Pride movie collection on SBS On Demand. Cloudy River is a bold new series about pansexual artist Emma (Rebecca Robertson) and her musician lover, River (Rowan Davie), whose open relationship is put to the test when they move in together. Tangerine and Lovesong starring Riley Keough and Jena Malone will also feature in the collection.
Melbournians will also be able to enjoy a special live screening of the broadcast in Federation Square, kicking off at 7.30pm on Saturday 29 Feb. Regional Australians can also join in the celebration, by checking out live viewing parties of the broadcast at a variety of locations (full list in Notes to the editor).
Coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is produced by Blink TV for SBS.
Follow the conversation #SydneyMardiGras and via the website https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/pride/mardigras
The 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020 airs live and exclusively on SBS on Saturday 29 February.
*Cloudy River is an unko production. Principal production investment from Screen Australia, in association with Queer Screen.