Calling all culture vultures of Richmond

National Culture Days event runs Friday to Sunday, including backstage tours and costume sales at the Gateway Theatre

If the arts is at all your thing, then this weekend will be heaven for all enthusiasts in Richmond.

From Friday to Sunday, the nationwide Culture Days takes centre stage across the city for the annual, free celebration of arts and heritage with the goal of encouraging public participation and recognition of Canada’s “diverse artistic and cultural mosaic.”

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Over the three days, Richmond residents will be treated to a multitude of free, hands-on activities hosted by local artists, historians and cultural organizations.

Highlights in Richmond including trying on and/or buying costumes and backstage tours at the Gateway Theatre, Chinese calligraphy, Steveston Museum Historical Walking Tours, Filipino-Canadian 150 Dance and Music Workshop and a Community Drum Circle.

“Culture Days is a Canada-wide initiative and grassroots movement that aims to build a greater understanding and deepen relationships between the arts and every neighbourhood and community,” said BC Culture Days task force vice-chair Howard Jang.

“This is a unique opportunity for the public to form connections and immerse themselves in the arts.”

Richmond Culture Days offers free events at 28 locations across the city, including the aforementioned Gateway Theatre between noon and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The theatre is hosting a series of behind-the-scenes events including a one-time costume and props sale; not a bad idea ahead of Halloween next month.

According to Gateway, it has amassed hundreds of “extraordinary, hand-crafted pieces from the wonderful plays it has produced over the past 20 years.”

Backstage tours at 1, 2 and 4 p.m, will also be on offer and will be animated “through discussion of Gateway’s vision and specifics of the upcoming signature series” are scheduled. Pre-registration online at GatewayTheatre.com is required for the tour.

A photo booth and contest will be available, along with costumes and props to try-on and have your photo taken in. At the end of the day, a costume designer will award one lucky team a prize for best photo. 

A costume design station and “discussion with a costume designer” will also be available for participants.

Away from the theatre, the Richmond Cultural Centre will likely be a central focus for Culture Days with food trucks accompanying non-stop activities.

In and around the centre over the weekend will be “Step into the limelight with 3 Piece Band” with artwork incorporated into an open stage for musicians and performing artists, as well as scheduled performances between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Meet published author Nilofar Shidmehr to kick off Richmond’s 2017 Writer-in-Residence program on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at Brighouse Branch Library.

You can also take a tour back in time as both the Richmond Art Gallery and Museum will offer free tours of their exhibitions in English and Mandarin on Sunday at noon, 1 and 2 p.m.

In Steveston, history buffs are invited to take a costumed historical tour of the village in English to learn about the events and people that shaped Steveston at 1 and 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Also in Steveston, you can “Rediscover Tram Car 1220” and celebrate the City of Richmond’s largest heritage artefact, with a formal ceremony, live music and conversations about the restoration at the Steveston Interurban Tram Building on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Culture Days was launched in September 2010 in every province and territory in Canada.

For more information and an up-to-date schedule of Culture Day activities on offer in Richmond, visit CultureDays.ca/Richmond.

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