Award-winning Artistic Director of Diwali in B.C., Rohit Chokhani is pleased to announce the 2018 programming for Diwali in B.C. – a provincial initiative aimed at making Diwali celebrations province-wide over the next five years.

Launched in 2017 with the artistic theme of Shakti – feminine power – Diwali in B.C. saw huge success with presentations such as Navarasa Dance Theatre’s Encounter, Dipti Mehta’s Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesanand Pamela Mala Sinha’s Happy Place, to name a few.

The artistic theme for the 2018 celebrations, which take place October 3 to November 17, is ‘New Horizons’ and features programming in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Vernon, Maple Ridge, and Nanaimo.

“In our second bold and ambitious year, we respond artistically to racial tensions and gender abuse that continues to threaten the safety of the world in which we live, with the theme of New Horizons,” says Chokhani. “In A Vancouver Guldasta, we have fresh conversations around trauma and healing through the lens of a Punjabi-Sikh family living with a Vietnamese refugee in Vancouver. In The Believers Are But Brothers we take a deeper look at toxic masculinity, and with Shyama we explore different colours of love, the price of desire, forgiveness, and morality through one of India’s most celebrated playwrights – Rabindranath Tagore.

Chokhani adds, “We are also excited to expand our Diwali programming to three new cities while we continue to grow and evolve in the existing cities.”

Here is a look at the 2018 Diwali in B.C. programming:

A Vancouver Guldasta

October 2-21 at Vancity Culture Lab | Presented with The Cultch
A Vancouver Guldasta focuses on a Punjabi family in Vancouver in the early 1980s as they navigate through the experience of trauma and violence occurring in Punjab, and their daughter’s complicated friendship with a Vietnamese refugee teen who lives in their basement. The story takes place during the Indian government’s armed invasion of the ‘Golden Temple’ — the holiest shrine of the Sikhs —in the epicentre of the Sikh diaspora, South Vancouver, B.C. A Vancouver Guldasta is an examination of common experience, identifying home, and processing trauma.



Diwali in B.C., Vernon

October 9-13 at various locations in Vernon, including the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre This inaugural event is presented with the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre and will culminate in a multicultural showcase of diverse artists from different backgrounds. Activities throughout the week will include workshops, discussions, dance performances, musical performances, cultural activities, and crafts. The festival’s final performance, featuring headliner Shiamak Vancouver, takes place at the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre on Saturday, October 13 at 7:00pm.


October 27 at the York Theatre


Co-presented with Vancouver Tagore Society and in community partnership with Mandala Arts &Culture Society, with support from BC Arts Council. A Bharatanatyam interpretation of Tagore’sepic Bengali dance drama Shyama with original choreography by Jai Govinda. This dance theatre piece is a tribute to the first non-European Nobel-laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore and his magically visual poetry and music of love. Dance artist Arno Kamolika has been collaborating with musician Shankhanaad Mallick and with director Rohit Chokhani for over two years on this production, and Diwali in B.C. will debut their most current version of this poetic, deep philosophical story that will be performed on stage with other Bharatanatyam dancers in B.C.:

Grihalakshmi Soundarapandian, Jaylakshmi Ravindra , Malavika Santhosh, and Vidya Kotamraju.


The Believers Are But Brothers

October 30-November 10 at Vancity Culture Lab | Presented with The Cultch
Written and performed by Javaad Alipoor, and co-directed by Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley, The Believers Are But Brothers is an electronic maze of fantasists, meme culture, 4chan, the alt-right, and ISIS. Old orders are collapsing, from the postcolonial nation states of the Middle East to the European Union and to the American election. Through it all, tech-savvy and extremist groups rip up political certainties. Amidst this, a generation of young men find themselves burning with resentment and without the money, power, and sex they think they deserve. This bold one-man show explores the smoke and mirrors world of online extremism, anonymity, and hate speech.

Diwali in B.C., Maple Ridge

November 10 at The ACT Arts Centre
This inaugural event is presented with The ACT Arts Centre. The evening celebrates South Asian culture with classical and contemporary dance as well as live music performances, and a special performance by Shiamak Vancouver.

Diwali in B.C., Coquitlam

November 11 at Evergreen Cultural Centre
Diwali at Evergreen is in its second year and is presented by the Evergreen Cultural Centre. The South Asian themed evening features live music as well as classical and contemporary dance performances, including a special performance by Arno Kamolika.


Details and further Diwali in B.C. programming announcements for Nanaimo to be made soon.
Download images at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e6yan3zotbhcfi8/AAB2n0WwsNUHI_6gTaidKchCa?dl=0For interview requests and additional images, please contact Teresa Trovato at teresatrovatopr@nullgmail.com. For more information on Diwali in B.C., visit www.diwalibc.ca.

About Diwali in B.C.


Diwali in B.C. is honoured to have its home on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people of the xwməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and Səlí̓ lwətaɬ Nations. Diwali in B.C., which falls under the Raghupriya Arts and Culture Society, is a new initiative founded and produced by Rohit Chokhani. After producing and curating numerous Diwali celebrations throughout Metro Vancouver for the last four years, culminating in a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award, Rohit is embarking on this new, bold, and ambitious initiative to make the Diwali celebrations province-wide over the next five years. This initiative was founded in 2017 in Metro Vancouver. Diwali in B.C. is an annual multicultural, multi- disciplinary, inclusive festival which aims to showcase artists from diverse backgrounds and different abilities to celebrate the festival of lights during the annual Indian New Year. www.diwalibc.ca

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