Birmingham Hippodrome and Bullring & Grand Central have announced details for Sharing the Light – Welcome Diwali, a large-scale outdoor participatory performance event taking place across Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October at Bullring & Grand Central, co-produced by Sonia Sabri Company and German Puppeteers Dundu – The Giants of Light.

From 6.30pm on Friday 21 October and Saturday 22 October, visitors to Bullring & Grand Central will be greeted by dhol drummers and dance performances and will have their first interactive introduction to Dundu’s breath-taking light puppets at St Martin’s Square. Processing to and from Rotunda Square, via a colourful installation of hundreds of Diwali lanterns created by local school groups, they will be joined by community groups for a mass dance event – a short dance routine created by Sonia Sabri Dance Company, inspired by South Asian Dance forms, which will be digitally distributed in advance so that participants on the night can learn the dance in advance and join in. The event will culminate with a firework finale to welcome the annual Diwali celebrations.

Both evening performances will be audio described and BSL interpreted.

In addition to the evening performances, on Saturday 22 October from 1-5pm, visitors to Bullring & Grand Central can enjoy lantern making workshops, the creation of a giant Rangoli as well as dance workshops, led by Sonia Sabri Dance Company, all inside Bullring & Grand Central – near The Entertainer.

Leading up to the event, there will be a series of free workshops in eight local schools across the city and with community groups at Saathi House.

Danielle Bozward, Marketing Manager at Bullring & Grand Central, commented: “Sharing the Light – Welcome Diwali will be a real highlight in our events programme produced in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome and we are delighted so many local community and school groups are part of the celebration. The unique opportunity for people to learn Sonia Sabri Company’s dance moves and truly be part of the event will be particularly special.”

Graham Callister, Director of Festivals at Birmingham Hippodrome, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the annual global Diwali celebrations to Birmingham through a mix of free, high quality local South Asian led and international arts, performances, installations and workshops that engage the city’s communities, schools and families.”

Sonia Sabri, Artistic Director for Sonia Sabri Company said: This is an amazing opportunity for community groups to come together with the professional team of dance artists and musicians of Sonia Sabri Company and perform a brand-new work especially created for the outdoors at sunset. ‘Sharing The Light’ will be an exuberant event celebrating the city of Birmingham through an eclectic composition of dance and music and visuals by a very special guest!”

Sharing the Light – Welcome Diwali is supported by Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham Hippodrome, Arts Council England and Global Streets.  Global Streets is a national network that co-creates & presents international outdoor performances in places which are underserved by the arts, delivering free, accessible and inclusive events that enables local communities to engage with and feel invested in their neighbourhoods, high streets and city centres.