Illustrated by Keely O’Brien with an accompanying Halloween-themed play, Gateway Theatre's DIY paper theatre kits take inspiration from those sold at concession stands at opera houses, playhouses, and vaudeville theatres in early 19th century Europe.
Illustrated by Keely O’Brien with an accompanying Halloween-themed play, Gateway Theatre's DIY paper theatre kits take inspiration from those sold at concession stands at opera houses, playhouses, and vaudeville theatres in early 19th century Europe.

If the idea of returning to the theatre is a scary proposition right now, Richmond’s Gateway Theatre might have the next best thing with its Hallows’ Eve DIY paper theatre kits, where you can create and host your own theatre experience from the comfort and safety of your home.

Illustrated by local interdisciplinary artist Keely O’Brien, the kits take inspiration from those sold at concession stands at opera houses, playhouses, and vaudeville theatres in early 19th century Europe.

“I hope everyone who orders Hallows’ Eve will find as much delight in assembling and playing with the theatre as I did in making it, and that you will let your own imagination and creativity shine as you build and activate this enchanted little world,” says O’Brien.

The limited-edition kits come with a ready to assemble theatre, characters and set pieces. Printed on cardstock and assembly instructions in English and Chinese, the only tools required are scissors and glue. An online instructional video has also been created to help with the creation process.

To complete your in-home theatrical experience, Gateway’s artistic and community producer Jasmine Chen wrote Hallows’ Eve, a Halloween-themed play to perform inside the paper theatre.

“While we’re waiting to return to our beloved theatre venues and artistic spaces, I wanted to capture the feeling of escaping into another world, which is my favourite part of experiencing theatre,” says Chen. “Although digital performances are exciting, we wanted to turn the focus back on the infinite possibilities of one’s own creativity.”

Gateway encourages the sharing of completed creations by posting photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #MyGTPaperTheatreKit.

To ensure delivery before Halloween, orders must be received by October 26. Visit gatewaytheatre.com for pricing and more information.