Gateway Theatre in Richmond is introducing a new and memorable way of celebrating Lunar New Year. Into the Light running February 18 – 20 is an all-ages, immersive, walk-through experience, bringing a unique approach to Lunar New Year.
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 (?). 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 a safe and 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 runs February 18-20, 2022 at Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond. Timed-entry tickets go on sale Monday, January 17th online at gatewaytheatre.com/into-the-light
Designed with covid protocols in mind, Into the Light is enjoyed as a primarily a contactless experience with timed entry limited to just 10 patrons in each time slot. 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.