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You are invited to join us in celebrating the Festival of Light and Colour through a series of creative online workshops

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. The festival will be delivered by ARC and is taking place online with a series of activities and opportunities for people of all ages to take part.

Throughout the day, a range of events will be taking place aimed at schoolchildren. 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 email [email protected] for further information.

Throughout 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, listen to the story of Diwali, as well as watch a show-stopping performance from a from a local Teesside 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 sweet and savoury dishes. A list of required ingredients and utensils will be made available here 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 Teesside company.

About Diwali

The Festival of Lights is known as Deepavali (deep – lamp, vali – array). This is the name of the festival in Southern India and is how the festival is referred to in other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. In Northern India, it is more commonly known as Diwali, but they are essentially the same celebration.

In these countries and for Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains around the world, the celebration revolves around the triumph of good over evil, purity over impurity, light over darkness. It is one of the most important Hindu festivals.

Sessions and running order for the day:

Welcome & Introduction – 9.30am

The Story of Diwali – 9.35am
Local writer, director, and theatre maker Umar Butt will tell the story of Diwali, the inspiration behind the Festival of Light and Colour.

Poetry Activity Introduced – 9.45am
Newcastle based poet Nihal has set a series of activity sheets and prompts for pupils to follow to guide them in creating their own poetry inspired by the festival of Diwali.

Bollywood Dancing – 10am
A 45-minute workshop teaching basics of Bollywood Dancing, working through a short, choreographed piece.

Diya Painting – 11am
Aradhana will provide a short video detailing the traditions of Diya painting, and demonstrating some simple designs. The participants can follow the designs, or using the techniques, create their own!


Music & Singing – 1pm 
Aradhana will provide lyrics and guide participants through learning and singing a traditional Diwali song.

Lantern Making – 2pm
Local artist Polly Abbott has created a lantern design for pupils to follow, as well as an instructional video, activity sheets will be provided to support this activity. We can supply a limited number of battery powered tea lights to support this session.

Recap and Thank You – 3pm

Evening Festival

Cookery Workshop with Umar, Simi and Aradhana – 4pm

ARC’s own Umar and Simi present a cookery workshop from ARC’s No 60 kitchen. You’ll learn to make a host of sweet and savoury dishes. Check back here a week before the event to find out the ingredients you’ll need.

The Story of Diwali – 7pm

Settle in with Umar as he tells the story of Diwali.

After the story of Diwali, the evening will culminate with a spectacular, celebratory dance performance from a local Teesside company.

We’d also love everyone to get involved on social media sharing what you’re doing to take part. You can post with the hashtag #FOLCStockton