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31 December 2014, 06:00
Newcastle's New Year's Eve celebrations will begin a year of Rugby with a stunning Winter Carnival celebrating the Game.
Rugby World Cup 2015 will see Newcastle take its moment in the sporting spotlight after the spectacle of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Glasgow's proud role as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
To mark this special occasion, the destination's annual New Year's Eve Winter Carnival will use Rugby as the inspiration for an early evening of music, dance, performance and a dazzling firework display, which this year will culminate on the Newcastle quayside.
A landmark sign promoting Rugby World Cup 2015 in Newcastle will be officially unveiled as part of the carnival festivities. Taking pride of place on the iconic Tyne Bridge, the Rugby World Cup 2015 sign will celebrate Newcastle's role as official Host City of Rugby's biggest event.
Produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and outdoor arts organisation Walk the Plank, in partnership with Newcastle City Council Arts Team, this year's event also welcomes the talents of creative director, Jeanefer Jean-Charles.
Choreographer, mass movement director and creative consultant; Jeanefer has played a key role in some of the country's biggest cultural events including the Rugby League Cup Opening Ceremony and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Jeanefer, along with Newcastle City Council Arts Team, will work with community groups to develop the Rugby-themed carnival that will celebrate the cultures and traditions of the Game, and those of the visiting teams to Newcastle, including South Africa, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Scotland.
A highlight of this year's carnival will be a participatory dance that spectators can learn and perform on the night.
The World Haka - inspired by the ancient Maori war dance - is a new piece of choreography by Jeanefer Jean-Charles that celebrates Newcastle's visiting Rugby nations through dance.
Carol Bell, head of culture and major events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said:
"Rugby World Cup 2015 is the biggest sporting event taking place in the country next year and we wanted to reflect the excitement and anticipation in the city ahead of the Tournament.
This year we'll be looking to visiting rugby fans for inspiration as we prepare to welcome people from all over the world to NewcastleGateshead. People can expect lots of colour, costumes, dancing and some amazing local music, not to mention a beautiful early evening firework display that will move from its traditional position at Newcastle Civic Centre to the Newcastle quayside.
We're delighted to be working with community groups and volunteers from across the city on the parade. Their enthusiasm and excitement will be infectious on the day making the Carnival a really special event for all the family to enjoy."
Starting at Monument in Newcastle city centre, the New Year's Eve Winter Carnival parade invites people to sway, stomp and dance their way down to the Quayside where the party really gets started. The carnival will culminate in another spectacular firework display using the River Tyne as its backdrop.
Approximate timings for the New Year's Eve Winter Carnival parade are:
16:00: Music and carnival performance around Monument
17:15: The parade leaves Monument, down Grey Street/Dean Street for the Newcastle Quayside
18:00: Fireworks at the quayside
Spectators can share their pictures and tweets from the New Year's Eve Winter Carnival using #NYECarnival.
There's an extra treat for revellers celebrating midnight in attractions, restaurants and bars on the quayside this year. Thanks to funding from Newcastle City Council and financial support from 15 businesses along the NewcastleGateshead quayside, a midnight firework display will mark the arrival of 2015.