UK Office of China Initiatives partners with Kentucky Theatre for Chinese New Year celebration


Staff file photo

The Kentucky Theatre (TKT) marquee is lit on July 17, 2020. TKT and the UK Office of China Initiatives will be hosting a Chinese New Year celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.

Laurel Swanz, Staff Reporter

The UK Office of China Initiatives and the Kentucky Theatre (TKT) are partnering to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a presentation of traditional Chinese dance and a modern Chinese film on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. 

Admission is free for the first 100 students or faculty to present a valid UK ID at the box office. After that, tickets are $6.50 for those with a UK ID. Admission is $12 for the public.

The dance will be performed by Shuling Studio.

According to TKT’s website, the studio aims to “promote Chinese dance and culture and to help individuals build confidence and awareness.”

Promoting Chinese culture is the goal of the UK Office of China Initiatives as well, according to assistant director Madelyn Higdon.

“I’m really excited for (students) to see the Chinese dance from Shuling Studio and experience what that looks like,” Higdon said. “We’re trying to create global-minded citizens at UK as much as we can, and we hope that that kind of influences them to learn more about the cultures and just open up their minds a little bit.”

The film playing is the critically acclaimed “Long Day’s Journey in Night” by Chinese director Bi Gan.

“Long Day’s Journey in Night” follows Luo Hongwu’s journey for lost love upon returning to his hometown of Kaili 12 years after fleeing. 

“Past and present, reality and dream interweave in Bi Gan’s stunningly beautiful and highly innovative film noir,” TKT’s website said.

TKT director Hayward Wilkirson said he is excited about the opportunity to screen “Long Day’s Journey in Night.”

“It’s gonna be a great film. It’s a challenging film, but it’s a really important film that otherwise is very unlikely to be screened here in Lexington,” Wilkirson said. “It’s a unique opportunity to see a unique film.”

The collaboration between TKT and UK’s Office of China Initiatives is a part of UK’s Office of China Initiatives’s Lunar New Year Celebration Week. 

Other events China Initiatives is putting on this week include karaoke and a talent show. 

“We knew we wanted to do a series of events this week for Lunar New Year. We knew that it’d be great if we could get the community involved, and the Kentucky Theatre has always been on our list,” Higdon said. 

Higdon said she hopes UK students will watch the film to explore the art of another culture.

“I really hope that they get an appreciation for cinema that’s not just U.S.-centric or Western-centric, and open their minds to cinema from east Asia or outside the country,” Higdon said.

Wilkirson said the collaboration benefits TKT creatively, as the theatre enjoys pairing different art forms together for a unique experience for the audience.

He also said the event helps promote TKT to a younger audience.

“We need to cultivate that next generation of filmgoer, and we’re always anxious to reach out to campus and get more UK students down here and introduce them to the theater,” Wilkirson said. “Anything we can do to make students from UK to feel welcome here, to help them discover what is really just a wonderful, wonderful place to see film and to have a great time, we’re eager to do that, so we were thrilled to partner with UK on this event.”