Fremantle is thrilled to announce that our iconic drama Neighbourswill be partnering with one of the world’s most acclaimed arts, culture and social justice festivals, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, in 2019.
Fremantle and Neighbours are immensely proud to be having the program represented in the world-famous Mardi Gras Parade. Cast and crew will be marching to celebrate equality and inclusiveness, and to thank the LGBTQI community we take great pride in representing in Australia’s longest running drama. Neighbours will also have a presence at Mardi Gras’ fabulous community event, Fair Day.
In 2018 Neighbours made history with the first same-sex marriage for an Australian television drama following the landmark change to the Marriage Act when its much-loved characters Aaron (Matt Wilson) and David (Takaya Honda) took their vows. Their wedding celebrant was played by marriage equality activist and legendary comedian/actress Magda Szubanski.
The partnership between Neighbours and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is acknowledging the importance of high-profile representation of the LGBTQI community in Australian television story-telling. The Neighbours parade float will be celebrating the marriage of Aaron and David and the on-air community that embraces their union.
Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Asia Pacific, Fremantle, says: “This is such an important moment for Fremantle and Neighbours. We are elated to be a partner of Mardi Gras and to proudly share our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusiveness. We’re humbled by the opportunity to celebrate with the LGBTQI community.”
Terese Casu, CEO, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,says: “We’re absolutely thrilled to see LGBTQI representation on one of Australia’s most iconic TV shows, Neighbours. It’s so important that our community are able to see themselves in popular culture, and we’re looking forward of course to seeing the Mardi Gras Parade become a part of the Neighbours cannon.”
Jason Herbison, Executive Producer, Neighbours, says: “Everyone is welcome on Ramsay Street. We can’t wait to stand among our brothers and sisters at Mardi Gras and share our commitment to equality. Television is powerful and we’ll also be filming a storyline around the parade. Love is love and it’s here to stay on Neighbours.”
A unique and ground-breaking element of the Neighbours and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras partnership will be the opportunity for Neighbours to shoot scenes during the Parade festivities for a storyline that will feature in upcoming episodes. This will be amazing show content for Neighbours and showcase Mardi Gras to Neighbours global audience.
Neighbours introduced the first regular gay character to Ramsay Street in 2011 and have maintained diversity in the regular cast ever since, currently with three core characters from the LGBTQI community.
At Fremantle we take the responsibility of our stories reaching millions around the world very seriously. We are working hard to create storylines and characters that reflect the diversity of Australia and spark conversation about important social issues.
Fremantle is the place that creatives call home – regardless of who they are or where they come from. We know that great ideas and bold thinking can come from anywhere and anyone and we know that a diverse and representative workforce is crucial in enabling us to create irresistible entertainment for everyone. We firmly believe that this sort of creative magic flows best when diverse people work together in an inclusive environment.
For over 40 years, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have provided a creative platform for the community to celebrate its achievements and bring global attention to social justice issues. The 2019 Mardi Gras ‘Fearless’ Festival will runs from February 15 – March 3, with the Parade taking place March 2.