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‘It's not all Sequins and Bikinis? Power, Performance and Play in the Leeds and Trinidad Carnival.’

Emily Marshall

Dr Emily Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature, Leeds Beckett University

The Midnight Robber, in his black sombrero adorned with skulls and coffin-shaped shoes, is a mysterious masquerade character from the Trinidad carnival. He exemplifies many of the practices which were central to Caribbean carnival culture - resistance to officialdom, linguistic innovation and the disruptive nature of play, parody and humour.

Today, the traditional Midnight Robber is rarely found in the carnival procession. Dr Emily Marshall has questioned the extent to which contemporary Caribbean carnival practices in Leeds and Trinidad continue to provide a challenge to officialdom – or do they, paradoxically, reinstate the rules?

This event was part of the 'Leeds Cultural Conversations' series, presented by Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council. 'Leeds Cultural Conversations' are a series of monthly talks programmes by the Centre for Culture & the Arts at Leeds Beckett University. For more information on the series please visit