A luminous event shedding light across the province

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Théâtre des Petites Lanternes is proud to announce the 6th annual Rivers of Light from September 25-27. This year’s special edition festival incorporates the new province-wide event, Light Up Quebec, coinciding with the first weekend of Journées de la Culture. Rivers of Light is the annual lantern festival in Sherbrooke, Quebec that marks the beginning of autumn, when the city is illuminated by hundreds of handmade lanterns. Kristelle Holliday, Executive and Co-Artistic Director of Théâtre des Petites Lanternes, is looking forward to now spreading the enchantment across Quebec. Four different videos on the company’s website offer instructions on how to make one’s own special lantern, from easy to advanced. Inspired lanterns may also win a prize! Rivers of Light is the 2019 Winner of the Conseil de la Culture de l’Estrie Cultural Development Award.

For the past 5 years people have been taking to the streets, creating a magical parade. This fall’s Festival, impacted by COVID-19, offers a different take on things. “Faced with the impossible, we have decided to seize the opportunity and create something which stays true to our vision, with a few slight tweaks. Together we want to create a wave of lanterns that brings hope and happiness,” said Holliday. “Thanks to a first-time collaboration with Destination Sherbrooke, we get to share a little spark with everyone, a new idea to light up all of Quebec, together.”

Rather than gathering in the street, people are invited to place their crafted lanterns inside or outside their door or window. Organizers are hoping the magic of the lanterns dancing in the twilight will defy and beautify the current situation. In these exceptional times it’s important to find ways to be together, even if ‘together’ takes a different shape. Festival directors are eager to see the various forms these lanterns will take and the stories they will tell.

Having spent 7 years on the board of directors and the executive committee of Quebec’s English language Arts Network (ELAN), Holliday is keen on how the arts can develop links between the francophone and anglophone artistic communities. As such, Théâtre des Petites Lanternes has partnered with ELAN’s Art Education team to create a lantern-making video with Lisa Kimberly Glickman, an artist from the Montreal region. Glickman’s video joins artists Flavia Nascimento, Chloé Holliday and Simon Durocher-Gosselin. Said Holliday, “We had some great projects with the local English-speaking community in Rivers of Light last year and we’re thrilled that new partners such as the Foreman Arts Gallery and Fine Arts Department at Bishops’ University, Champlain College and Literacy in Action have already signed on to the Light Up Quebec initiative this year. They’ll be sharing the lantern message throughout their campuses and organisations. We’re excited to see how the project can develop further links across the province”.

Create a lantern and win a prize

Thanks to partners Destination Sherbrooke and La Fabrique Culturelle there’s an opportunity to win some great prizes over the next couple of weeks. People can upload a photo of their lantern onto social media networks with the hashtags #illuminonslequebec and #lightupquebec for a chance to win a stay at a four-star hotel in Sherbrooke as well as a plethora of other goodies. They can also take part in the Lantern-Making Recipe Book Competition by sending in a photo of their completed lantern along with a step-by-step guide on how to make it. Cash awards will be given out for the winning ‘recipes’.

Individuals, groups and organisations are encouraged to sign up for Light Up Quebec’s free registration. There is a smorgasbord of information on the website in order to get creative lantern-making underway, including a toolkit full of ideas on how to spread the word and get their area all lit up. People are also invited to send in the name of their road/town and get a little virtual lantern to pop up on the interactive map on the website. Quebec is lighting up more and more every day!

In Sherbrooke, The Fisherman and his Lanterns of Happiness is a 3-day Rivers of Light event taking people on a large-scale hunt around the downtown area for the Fisherman and his lanterns. Théâtre des Petites Lanternes has collaborated with Commerce Sherbrooke, empty shops and some extraordinary artists to bring the strange, mysterious and wonderful universe of The Fisherman to life. The event ends with Secret Sunday (only accessible to spectators present at one of the first 2 days).

Let’s turn 2020 into light, lanterns and magic

Please visit www.english.rivieresdelumieres.org  for details

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