Courtney Act, Joel Creasey, Narelda Jacobs and Zoë Coombs Marr return to host this year’s history-making global event live and exclusive Saturday 6 March on SBS and NITV.
Our official broadcast partner, SBS is proud to bring to life the colour and magic of the 2021 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Graslive and exclusive on Saturday March 6.
Proving nothing – not even a pandemic – is going to rain on this parade, Mardi Gras has found a temporary new home in 2021 – the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground to ensure the safety of participants, spectators and the community at large. While the beloved celebration of pride and diversity is moving up the road from its usual location, the spirit of this important event won’t be dampened, because there ain’t no party like a Mardi Gras party.
The broadcast is being streamed live and free via SBS On Demand with the geo-block removed, making it available to watch around the world. SBS On Demand times across Australia below or tune in for the full parade 7:30pm across Australia on SBS and NITV.
NSW/VIC/TAS/ACT: 6pm AEDT
QLD: 5pm AEST
SA: 5:30pm ACDT
WA: 3pm AWST
NT: 4:30pm ACST
This year, the event is rising to new heights with the fab four – drag icon Courtney Act, comedy superstar Joel Creasey, Network 10 Presenter Narelda Jacobs and stand-up genius Zoë Coombs Marr – returning to host this year’s coverage. Mardi Gras will light up with glittering performances and stellar interviews with a cavalcade of soon-to-be announced celebrity guests, not to mention the colourful pageantry of costumes, puppetry and props. Bringing the world together each year in a celebration of diversity and inclusion, the event is also an opportunity to reflect on the history of activism and protest that started the movement in 1978.
Courtney Act said: “I can’t wait to get my heels on the pitch, wearing a lace-front in place of a baggy green, to celebrate this unique and vibrant Mardi Gras parade with my Indigenous, black, brown, trans, bisexual, asexual, intersex, lesbian, gay and queer siblings. We’re going to bring all of the fun, glamour, heart, diversity and storytelling from the SCG and shout it loud and proud across Australia and around the world.”
Joel Creasey said: “I can’t wait to be back with my Mardi Gras besties Narelda, Courtney and Zoë to be hosting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for my fifth time! It’s a wild ride hosting Mardi Gras, so many elements and moving parts have to come together live on the night to make it all work… so often we are flying by the seat of our pants (assless chaps) but I couldn’t be doing it with a better crew. And, after the year we’ve had, we truly need the love, light and bio-degradable glitter that is Mardi Gras. I’ve never been to a cricket ground before so I hope my Uber driver knows where to drop me. I cannot wait!”
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 RISE, a call to action that now is the time to rise again through love, compassion, respect and understanding, and to work to make the world a better place for all. The theme is a poignant message following the challenge and hardship of 2020.
Narelda Jacobs said: “Rise and shine! The world’s biggest party since last Mardi Gras is on March 6 and we’re asking Australia to rise to the occasion. We’re spreading our wings and love from the SCG into lounge rooms, pubs and clubs around the country. I’m thrilled to be reunited with the rainbow dream team of the ridiculously good-looking Joel Creasey, the unpredictable Zoë Coombs Marr and the queen with the highest hair Courtney Act. Together, the queer community has supported each other through the pandemic, now let’s rise like a phoenix to celebrate Mardi Gras 2021.”
Zoë Coombs Marr said: “It’s going to be a totally different Mardi Gras this year. I’m really excited to see the different ways that our community interprets the struggles and the magnitude of the past year, in ways that only our community can… with leather, cardboard, and eco-friendly glitter! And last year’s Mardi Gras was one of the last big events before certain viruses that shall not be named. The event has a special kind of energy that can only be rivalled by a sugar-free kid at a birthday party who’s just had red cordial for the first time. Magic!”
SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said: “SBS is proud to be the official broadcast partner for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the eighth year running. Mardi Gras is a celebration of diversity, inclusion and acceptance, which is at the core of what we do at SBS with our programming. This year’s history-making event promises to be like no other and will certainly be a night to remember.”
SBS will celebrate Mardi Gras across its network:
NITV will simulcast the broadcast on Saturday March 6 at 7.30pm followed by Black Divaz at 11.30pm, about the inaugural Miss First Nation pageant. In the leadup, they will celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community with a slate of special programming. Thought-provoking documentaries Killing Patient Zero, Leitis in Waiting and The Stars Will Do will also air along with an encore screening of Faboriginal Monday March 1 to Thursday March 4 at 7:30pm followed each night by the NITV premiere of Drag Heals, a documentary that follows men who have always dreamed of letting their inner drag queen out.
From Monday March 1 at 9:30pm, SBS World Movies will showcase the best of LGBTIQ+ films from around the world with Mardi Gras Week. Titles include Goodbye Mother, Tu Me Manques, A Fantastic Woman, Carol, Call Me By Your Name and The Kids Are Alright.
SBS On Demand presents Rainbow Pride, the ultimate collection of movies exploring LGBTIQ+ themes with The Kids Are Alright, Goodbye Mother and Holding the Man just some of the highlights. In addition, our very own Courtney Act will curate a special collection of TV series celebrating the spirit of Mardi Gras. Personally hand-picked, the ‘Courtney Act Guest Curates’ collection features everything from Years and Years to Faboriginal and Gaycation and will be available to view from February 25.
SBS VICELAND will air an encore of the Mardi Gras broadcast on Sunday 7 March at 10:45pm. In the leadup, there will be screenings of acclaimed documentaries such as Deep Water: The Real Story, Country Town Pride, Australiana: Island Queens, The Last Lesbian Bars and the Australian film Holding the Man among the many highlights.
In the lead-up to the big night, SBS Radio will present some deeply personal stories from LGBTIQ+ people within our multicultural communities. SBS Arabic24’s My Arab Identity season 2 features Arab-Australian migrants exploring how they’re dealing with the complexities of a mixed identity. In addition, SBS Arabic24 and SBS中文 (SBS Chinese) will report live from the SCG on Facebook Live.
SBS Voices, SBS’s platform for writers from diverse backgrounds, will be releasing a special collection of eight memoir stories from LGBTQIA+ writers, submitted as part of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition last year. This collection of personal stories brings to life the experience of growing up LGBTQIA+ in Australia.
SBS’s broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is produced by Blink TV.