Navarasa Dance Theatre’s “Encounter” will be staged at Vancouver’s York Theatre from Oct. 17 to 22.

New ‘Diwali in BC’ festival explores feminine power through theatre, dance, film

Five-week event founded by artistic director Rohit Chokhani

A new provincial initiative celebrates Diwali for a month, from Oct. 14 to Nov. 16.

The five-week Diwali in BC festival explores “feminine power through theatre, dance and film, and shines a light on works created by diverse and talented women.”

Artistic director Rohit Chokhani is the force behind the inaugural event, which in its launch year will explore the artistic theme of shakti, or feminine power.

The programming will feature works primarily created by women, including Academy Award-nominated Canadian director Deepa Mehta, Dora Award-winning playwright Pamela Mala Sinha, Dr. Aparna Sindhoor along with her pioneering South Asian Contemporary Dance Theatre company Navarasa Dance Theater, rising South Asian award-winning actress Dipti Mehta, and classical dance theatre artist Arno Kamolika.

“After the success of celebrating Diwali through my curation in Metro Vancouver over the past four years, it became clear to me that there was a province-wide demand to go beyond Metro Vancouver and a need for a new organizational structure to hold this vision for the next five years,” Chokhani stated.

“Diwali in BC is my response to that need. This year, I am thrilled and honoured to showcase the work of strong, intelligent and incredibly talented women, and hope our city and province embraces this initiative.”

None of the events are planned in Surrey for 2017, but the city is in the festival’s future plans.

This year, Navarasa Dance Theatre’s “Encounter” will be staged at Vancouver’s York Theatre from Oct. 17 to 22, followed by Dipti Mehta in “Honour: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan,”at Vancity Culture Lab from Oct. 20 to Nov. 4.

Later, Deepa Mehta’s film, “Anatomy of Violence,” will be shown on Nov. 4 at Cineplex Odeon International Village, in a co-presentation with Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

For Touchstone Theatre, Pamela Mala Sinha’s play “Happy Place” hits the stage at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre from Oct. 19 to 29, and the dance drama “Shyama” will be at the York Theatre on Nov. 16.

Elsewhere, the festival will include a “Diwali at Evergreen” event at Coquitlam’s Evergreen Cultural Centre on Nov. 5.

For more details about Diwali in BC, visit