Richmond, BC / January 12, 2022 — A new and memorable way of celebrating Lunar New Year is set to appear in Richmond at Gateway Theatre with Into the Light [在燈光之中] coming February 18 – 20, 2022. Into the Light is an all-ages, immersive, walk-through experience, bringing a unique approach to Lunar New Year, a holiday celebrated by many in the community. Several of the rituals and customs practiced today during Lunar New Year, such as wearing the colour red, are said to have originated in the ancient tale of the sea-monster Nian (年). According to this legend, on the eve of Lunar New Year, Nian came out of hiding, terrorizing villages for food, and the villagers worked together to ward off the monster and the darkness with lanterns, loud noises, and bright light.
“We wanted to explore why we still celebrate and participate in these customs today and highlight the mythology behind rituals, amplify the Richmond community, and emphasize togetherness.” says Jasmine Chen, Gateway Theatre’s Artistic and Community Producer. “Into the Light offers a unique way of engaging with and learning about Chinese cultural traditions for everyone, no matter their cultural background.”
Created by Hong-Kong-born, Vancouver-based multidisciplinary artist, Stephanie Wong, and award-winning Richmond-based artist, Marina Szijarto, Into the Light invites audiences to step inside the tale of Nian and embark on a journey that will take them through the darkness, into celebration and light. Inside the immersive experience, audiences will be guided by illuminated lanterns and bursts of sound, colour and light, learning how certain Lunar New Year rituals became a tradition we still celebrate today. As audiences exit the immersive experience and step into the light inside Gateway Theatre’s lobby, they will be able to participate in the lantern-making tradition and proudly hang them on the community display for all to see. The paper lantern kits can also be taken home where the assembled lantern is believed to bring good luck into the home. At the end of the experience, audiences are encouraged to visit a shrine and post their wishes for a prosperous new year.
Into the Light is an accessible way for all audiences to gain a deeper understanding about the origins and significance of Lunar New Year celebrations, to understand why these traditions are still valuable today, and to pass down this important cultural knowledge to future generations.
Into the Light is safe for patrons to enjoy as it is primarily a contactless experience with timed entry, restricting the number of patrons inside. Patrons are encouraged to get tickets early as a limited number of tickets per time slot are available. As required by the Provincial Health Order, patrons aged 12 and over must show proof of full vaccination, along with picture ID upon entering the venue. Masks must also be worn all times unless patrons are under the age of five or have a physical or medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.
Tickets are on sale January 17, 2022 at http://www.gatewaytheatre.com/into-the-light
Into the Light is proudly sponsored by Kwantlen Polytechnic University.