By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler
On December 16, Lumyn8 Entertainment will be putting on their third production, Sugar & Spice: Sleigh Bells Ring, at the Harbour City Theatre on 25 Victoria Road in Nanaimo.
Sugar & Spice began in March at the Metro Lounge, originally it was more of a bar show, but it has developed into a full feature show to display talented Drag Kings, Drag Queens, Burlesque and Boylesque performers, as well as non-gender-conforming musical performers.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for some of the entertainers that society might look down on,” said Mark Swarek, founder of Lumyn8 Entertainment, originally called LaGrande Productions.
Through Sugar & Spice, Lumyn8 provides a safe space for their entertainers to learn what it takes to put on a feature production, and give them valuable experience to continue in the world of show business.
Aside from putting on the Sugar & Spice productions, Lumyn8 is partnered with the Harbor City Rainbow Community Services Association, (Harbour City RCSA.) The Harbour City RCSA was formed recently to address some of the gaps in services for the LGBTQ community in Nanaimo.
Harbour City RCSA has three main focuses: creating a social, and nutritional community for people living with HIV in Nanaimo, as well as creating social events and safe spaces for people who are non-binary gendered. They also have a peer support program, where they provide training for peer support workers who will meet with people in need of someone to talk to.
“When someone is newly diagnosed as HIV positive, there is pretty much no immediate and meaningful response to support that person,” Swarek said. “Providing that support is one of our main intentions with our peer support program.”
The peer support workers also help to guide individuals who are transitioning genders, and struggling with a variety of issues. Peer support workers have their own life experiences with similar issues that they can draw on to help others. To contact peer support workers, there is a toll free number, 1-888-588-1408 and the extension 108 for peer support.
“People in need of support services can call and leave a message,” Swarek said. “I return their call, and do an intake with them. Based on what I learn in that conversation; I match them with the peer support worker I think will be best able to help them.”
Along with the larger Sugar & Spice productions, the Harbour City RCSA hosts open mics at the Vault café on Monday nights, and provides a safe space for LGBTQ performers, and anyone who wants to share their art on stage. These are fundraiser events, and are hosted once or twice a month.
The Sugar & Spice event will be a double feature, with a performance by Vancouver Island Medium Terry Lynn Boyle. Tickets for the double feature are $42.50, tickets for the medium are $35 advance, and tickets for the Sugar & Spice event are $12.50 advance, and $15 at the door. Tickets are available online at eventbee.com/v/lumyn8/boxoffice.
Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.