The Kitchen Carnival

The 2023 Kitchen Carnival performance of Pierrot Grenades was released on 17 September 2023 to coincide with Hackney Carnival Roadshow

Photo taken outdoors of a performer dressed in a robe made from a bin liner, silver foil and kitchen paper, with a silver foil cap, dark glasses, a white surgical mask and white vinyl gloves.The Kitchen Carnival celebrates the ‘Old Mas’ traditions of Trinidad and Tobago, using recycled household materials and performing in our own kitchens. You can enjoy all of the Kitchen Carnival activities from home using things from your kitchen, scissors and a glue stick. We also explore the history of Carnival as a response by enslaved African peoples to the elaborate balls held by slave owners, making costumes from whatever they could find, and mocking the behaviour of the wealthy.

In 2023 we are celebrating the tradition of Pierrot Grenade, who is the Carnival jester and satirises the French character Pierrot. Pierrot Grenade is a popular figure in the Carnivals of Trinidad and Tobago, but originates from Grenada, an island to the north-west. 

  • Traditionally, Pierrot Grenades wear costumes made from attaching strips of recycled materials or rags, and small tins or boxes filled with stones that rattle, to a long-sleeved full-length robe that is often made from sacking.
  • Traditional Pierrot Grenades disguised their faces with wire masks, and/or wore old hats with shrubbery attached.
  • Today, Pierrot Grenades may make their costumes from new strips of fabric, often brightly coloured satins, and attach strings of buttons to make sounds. They wear hoods and paint their faces to disguise themselves, and usually wear gloves.
  • Pierrot Grenades also work with words and storytelling, often splitting up a word and creating a story from the individual syllables – they may carry dictionaries and thesauruses as part of their costumes. When Pierrot Grenades meet, they battle to see who is the best wordsmith.
  • You can watch some modern Pierrot Grenades on YouTube herehere, and here.
  • Pierrot Grenades use allegory within their story telling, which allows controversial topics to be addressed symbolically. You can find out more about allegories here, here and here.
  • You can find out how to make a Kitchen Carnival Pierrot Grenade costume here.

In 2022 we celebrated Fancy Sailors, and in 2021 we celebrated Bats – you can still find all of the resources needed to make your own costumes on the linked pages. You can also create your own percussion instruments from things you have in your kitchen.

Kitchen Carnival Designs by ju90