Enjoy a brilliantly varied range of Diwali-inspired events from the comfort of your home…

The Festival of Light and Colour is Stockton’s annual celebration to mark the festival of Diwali and is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. This year the festival will be delivered by ARC and is taking place online on Wednesday 11th November with a series of activities and opportunities for people of all ages to take part.

Throughout the day there will be a livestream that schools are actively being encouraged to participate in. Activities will include lantern making, poetry, and music and dance workshops. In the evening there will be a live stream of entertainment where online attendees will be able to join in with cooking demonstrations of traditional recipes, and listen to a new story inspired by Diwali. Audiences will also be able to watch a show stopping performance of traditional Indian dance from a local dance company.

From 4pm ARC’s very own Umar Butt and Simi Kumar will be live from ARC’s No. 60 kitchen as they demonstrate how to make a range of savoury dishes. A list of required ingredients and utensils will be made available on ARC’s website a week before the event.

At 7pm, Umar will invite all to settle in and hear him tell the story of Diwali. Umar is an engaging and enthusiastic storyteller who has delivered a number of theatre shows at ARC over recent years and most recently led storytelling sessions for Middlesbrough’s Mela.

After the story of Diwali, the evening will culminate with a spectacular, celebratory dance performance from a local dance company – all set to incredible music.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture, says, “The Festival of Light and Colour has always been an incredibly popular and important event in the Borough’s calendar and although this year’s event will be different than usual, we’re pleased that with ARC we can bring a virtual festival to you, wherever you are. We hope that everyone who would have come to the event in person will be able to enjoy a brilliantly varied range of Diwali-inspired events from the comfort of their homes.”

As well as the evening festival, ARC and Stockton Borough Council will also be running a range of online events aimed at schools throughout the day. These include a storytelling session from Umar Butt; a poetry writing workshop with Newcastle based poet Nihal; a workshop teaching the basics of Bollywood Dancing, working through a short, choreographed piece; a singing session with Aradhana teaching a traditional Diwali song; a Diya painting workshop demonstrating some simple and fun designs; and local artist Polly Abbott will be running a lantern making craft session.

The daytime sessions have been created with Stockton schoolchildren in mind, but will be freely available to all. Interested schools are invited to contact ARC’s Box Office on 01642 525199 or box.office@arconline.co.uk for further information.

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