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OCTOBER 17 – 26, 2019

CHINA D LL Written & Directed by

Marjorie Chan

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MainStage • OCTOBER 17 - 26, 2019


Manami Hara Donna Soares Jovanni Sy Jennifer Tong

Poa-Poa Ma-Ma/Ming Merchant Li Su-Ling


Marjorie Chan Heipo Leung Amy McDougall Mishelle Cuttler Chengyan Boon CHIMERIK Yvonne Yip Vanka Salim Jenny Kim Lisa Goebel Johnny Wu Sarah Jane Pelzer John Allan

Playwright/Director Set Designer Costume Designer Sound Designer Lighting Designer Projection Design Team Stage Manager Assistant Set Designer Assistant Stage Manager Intimacy Director Surtitle Translator Surtitle Creator Technical Director

Robin Richardson Victoria Ip Kyle Haak Teresa Leung Pachiel Smith Laura Fukumoto *

Head Stage Head Electrician Head Sound Surtitle Operator Head Wardrobe Wardrobe Maintenance Setup & Strike


*Additional crew dispatched by IATSE loc.118


Monica Emme Kim Tymkow Grant Windsor Byron Morrison Hannah Meyers Eden Cooke

Props Master Cutter/Sewer Head Scenic Carpenter Scenic Carpenter Head Scenic Painter Scenic Painter

Running time is approximately 2 hours (including 20-minute intermission). Setting ACT 1: Shanghai, China 1904-1918, returning occasionally in the past to a nearby village ACT 2: Fall of 1918 at the Chen compound, Shanghai China Doll is staged by arrangement with Ian Arnold, Catalyst TCM INC. Photography, videotaping or other audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Program Design and Production: Gary Slavin Cover photo: Jennifer Tong. Photo by David Cooper. Lobby Art: Friday Calligraphy Group from Minoru Centre of Active Living



Written and Directed by Marjorie Chan

FROM tHe inteRiM PRODUCeR & eXeCUtiVe DiReCtOR Welcome to our 35th season at Gateway Theatre! This year our season celebrates community, diversity and women: all our shows are directed by women and half of the pieces are created by female playwrights. We are so thrilled to be opening with China Doll, the Governor General’s Award-nominated play written by Marjorie Chan. This is the Western Canadian Premiere of this wonderful play, and we are so lucky to have Marjorie here with us to direct it. For the first time at Gateway, we are offering surtitles for every performance in both Traditional and Simplified Chinese. This is an important initiative because welcoming more people to Gateway from the wider Richmond and Lower Mainland communities is essential to our long-term relevance and sustainability. Gateway Theatre is undergoing some exciting changes, as you can probably see from the construction happening around the building. We would like to thank the City of Richmond for their investment in cultural infrastructure in Richmond. We may not look our best at the moment, so we appreciate your patience during the renovations. In the meantime, we have also been planning some fun events for the year to reach out to our neighbours. In September, we hosted a Chinese Celebration of the Arts for Culture Days which was a great success and in October we are hosting SPOOKTACULAR, a family-friendly dance party for Halloween! We are looking forward to seeing you at all our events throughout the season. We are so thankful to our donors, subscribers and ticket holders for your ongoing support of Gateway Theatre. Enjoy our 2019-2020 Season!

– Barbara Tomasic

– Camilla Tibbs

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PLaYWRigHt & DiReCtOR’S nOteS China Doll was inspired by the 2001 exhibit “Every Step a Lotus” at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. It was there that I encountered these exquisitely embroidered but painfully small ‘lotus’ shoes. I was astonished to discover the wear on the soles of the shoes could only have been caused by walking. I had always imagined that women with bound feet could not possibly walk anywhere. But they did. I wondered who were these women, struggling in their day-to-day lives with their bound feet? What compelled her to continue to follow tradition? And what could inspire her to break the ties that bind? And how, finally, could she take her first true step forward? Su-Ling reads from excerpts of literature of my own creation but based on typical styles of the time. For example, the story of Yexian and her tiny feet, was first published during the Tang dynasty (8th Century.) Exceptions include excerpts from Qiu Jin’s 1904 poem “Preoccupation (Written While In Japan)”, and A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, published in 1879. I made my own further amendments from public domain translations for clarity and rhythm. When translated into Chinese, Ibsen’s classic did indeed cause a stir among the women as it did in Europe, igniting a burgeoning women’s movement. So many women left their husbands at one point, that in Shanghai, they referred to 1930 as the year of the ‘Nora’. Since my own play’s premiere in 2004, I have had the honour of adapting and directing a bilingual version of A Doll’s House for Theatre du Pif of Hong Kong. And so, I explored the play in a different language, and through a different lens. To come to the Gateway now, and revisit a play that I wrote 15 years ago, feels as if I am coming full circle. I have left the text intact for the most part, with a few minor exceptions. It was my first play and was birthed into the world with the help of some wonderful people, namely Bill Lane (then at CBC Radio) and Kelly Thornton (then at Nightwood Theatre). The play’s development was supported by Nightwood Theatre, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Banff Playwrights Lab. I am grateful to Jovanni and Barbara for allowing me to once again delve into these characters. Welcome. – Marjorie Chan

ABOUT MARJORIE CHAN Marjorie is a multidisciplinary artist born in Toronto to Hong Kong immigrants who arrived in the late ’60s. Her works for the stage have been performed in the United States, Scotland, Hong Kong, Russia and across Canada. Her full-length works as a playwright include the plays The Madness of the Square, a nanking winter, Tails From the City, as well as the libretti for the operas, Sanctuary Song, The Lesson of Da Ji, M’dea Undone and most recently, The Monkiest King. Marjorie has directed for Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong), Obsidian Theatre, Cahoots Theatre, Eldritch Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille and more. Marjorie has been nominated for nine Dora Awards and is the recipient of four (three for libretti, one for performance). She has also received the K.M. Hunter Artist’s Award in Theatre, the Entertainment World Award for Best New Work, a Harold Award, as well as the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship. Other notable nominations include the John Hirsch Directors’ Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award for her playwriting debut, China Doll, and the Canadian Citizen Award for her work with Crossing Gibraltar – Cahoots Theatre’s program for newcomers. She has been artist-in-residence with Factory Theatre, Banff Playwrights’ Lab, Tapestry Opera, Cahoots Theatre, Theatre Centre (with 6th Man Collective), Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York) and Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong). Upcoming projects include her new play, Lady Sunrise (Factory Theatre) and the remount of The Ward Cabaret (Harbourfront Centre). She is the current Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.






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A China Doll’s House:

Source: Wikipedia

The relationship between Ibsen’s drama and Chinese feminism in China Doll by Julia Peterson It was the door slam heard around the world – at the end of the last scene of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House, Nora Helmer leaves her oppressive marriage and sets off into the world on her own. From its debut in Norway, the play was viewed as controversial for its pointed questioning of gender roles in family and marriage,1 and the play’s impact quickly spread as Ibsen’s script was translated and produced by companies around the globe. Preceding the Revolution of 1911 by only a few decades, A Doll’s House had a particularly significant cultural impact when it arrived in the public consciousness in China near the turn of the 20th century.

The story of Nora, a woman who rejected the safety and confinement of a position dictated by her gender and marital status in favour of the uncertainties of a life of her own choosing, resonated with audiences who were questioning the restrictions

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placed on women in society and the roles available to them throughout their lives2. The play raised questions for Chinese feminists that spawned important discussions about the inequalities that persisted throughout their society, not just within the confines of a marriage. In 1923, Lu Xun, an influential writer in China during the early 1900s, gave a talk to the Literature and Arts Society at Beijing Women’s Normal College and asked “What happens after Nora walks out?” Lu argued that, for Nora’s flight to be successful and not leave her worse off than when she started, there would have to be “a fair division of property between men and women in the family, [and] an equal division of power between men and women in society at large. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to obtain these rights, other than that we will have to fight for them, perhaps with even more violence than we have to fight for our political rights3.” These goals have continued to be driving motivations for feminist movements to this day. As Kwok-kan Tam of Stockholm University describes in his analysis of A Doll’s House, Nora’s choice to leave was especially resonant in the context of the major political and social shifts in China at the time: “Leaving home, in the Chinese context in the 1910s and 1920s, is leaving behind one’s family duties and departing from a moral framework of defining one’s selfhood according to ethical relations,” he writes. “While the “small self” (the individual) was still

considered subordinate to the “big self” (the collective), the new individual and autonomous selfhood advocated by Nora created a storm in China. For most young people, the “small self” had to break away from the “big self” so as to find its place in life4.” The character of Nora was also credited by Aimin Chen of Nanjing Normal University as an inspiration for the feminist movement, describing her as “an image of independence, freedom and courage [who] has been regarded as an idol of Chinese women for their emancipation ever since the 1920s. Her spirit has inspired thousands of female workers, farmers and people from different fields to fight for their own rights. It will continue to encourage them to win the final victory in the battle against the patriarchy5.” In China Doll, we follow the comingof-age story of protagonist Su-Ling as she discovers what is expected of her as a young woman being initiated into the rites and rituals of marriage. Bucking against these traditions, Su-Ling learns to read, and it is through books, including Ibsen’s play, that she opens herself up to new possibilities of how to see the world and a woman’s place within it. Like many other Chinese women of her time, Su-Ling discovers A Doll’s House and the story of Nora Helmer, and takes it as inspiration to walk through life her own way. 1 Fisher, Jerilyn & Silber, Ellen. “Women in literature: reading through the lens of gender.” P. 85. Greenwood Press, 2003. 2 Tam, Kwok-kan. “Ibsen and Ibsenism in China 19081997: A Critical-Annotated Bibliography of Criticism, Translation and Performance.” p. 100-108. The Chinese University Press, 2001. 3 Xun, Lu “Jottings under Lamplight.” Trans. Bonnie McDougall. Harvard University Press, 2017. 4 Tam, Kwok-kan. “Law, Ethics and Gender: China’s Quest for a Modern Selfhood as Reflected in its Adaptations of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.” Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 11(2), p. 145159. 2018. 5 Chen, Aimin. “Ibsen’s Nora and Chinese Women’s Emancipation.” North---West Passage, 2007.

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Lighting DesignER Chengyan is thankful to be returning to Gateway Theatre to design lights, fresh off Yoga Play and shows with the kids at Gateway Academy. Outside of Gateway, he collaborates with a diverse set of artists in the theatre, dance, and music communities such as Aenigma Theatre, Orchid Ensemble, Theatre in the Raw, Tomoe Arts, Pacific Theatre and Raghupriya Society in various design and production roles. Some recent lighting design credits: Enter Laughing (Theatre in the Raw), Hello (Theatre Terrific), The How and the Why (Aenigma Theatre), A Vancouver Guldasta (SACHA) and Bombay Black (Raghupriya Society).


Projection Design TEAM Chimerik is a transdisciplinary collective with transnational roots. They have collaborated visually, sonically and conceptually in numerous multi-disciplinary and research projects which have exhibited internationally such as World Design Expo 2011, Digital Arts Festival of Taipei 2012, Lacking Sound Festival 2013, New Form Festival 2014, ISEA 2015, Digital Carnival 2016, Taiwan Best Design 100, TPAM 2017, PuSh Festival 2018/2019, VIDS 2019. Chimerik has worked with theatre companies such as the Arts Club as well as influential corporations such as NIKE, Microsoft, BenQ and Google in live visuals/projection design and interactive video installations while engaging various underrepresented community groups for social change.

Mishelle Cuttler

Sound DesignER Mishelle is a composer, sound designer, and musician based in Vancouver. Some favourite past projects include: Shakespeare in Love, Lysistrata (Bard on the Beach); The Candidate, The Party (Citadel); The Matchmaker, Sweat (Arts Club); Hir, The Events (Pi); Titus Bouffonius, Penelope (Rumble); and Stationary (Delinquent). Next up: A Christmas Carol (Citadel), and Skyborn (Savage Society). She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and of UBC Theatre. She is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

Lisa Goebel

Intimacy Director With a gentle balance of acting, choreography, and producing, Lisa is thrilled to be joining Gateway Theatre’s production of China Doll as Intimacy Director. Lisa trained at the Intimacy Choreographer’s Intensive in Toronto led by Intimacy Directors International’s founders and lead instructors: Tonia Sina, Claire Warden, Siobhan Richardson, and Alicia Rodis. Currently, Lisa is resident choreographer of the Filipino folk-dance company, Kababayang Pilipino. She holds a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, and is a graduate of Studio 58.

Manami Hara

Poa-Poa Manami Hara emigrated from Japan to pursue her dream of becoming a theatre artist in North America. For the past 30 years, she has worked across Canada as an actor, playwright, translator, instructor, producer and director. Manami is a regular acting instructor here at Gateway Academy and delighted to be performing in Gateway’s MainStage production of China Doll. Next projects: She continues to write her new play Courage Now and you can catch her in Testuro Shigematsu’s play Kuroko at the Cultch produced by vAct. She is a graduate of Studio 58.


Assistant Stage Manager Thanks to Josef and Yvonne for giving her an opportunity to join the journey of China Doll. It is an honour and pleasure to be able to work with the company and the talented individuals on this production. ASM credits include; Coriolanus (Rehearsal ASM - Bard on the Beach), Act of Faith (RealWheels Production), tour of Circle Game: Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell (Firehall Arts Centre/Arts Club) and Sweat (Arts Club). Last but not the least, thanks to her family and friends for their love and support. Jenny is a graduate of the BFA Theatre Production & Design program at UBC.

Heipo Leung

Set DesignER Heipo grew up in Hong Kong. She is a UBC graduate from the MFA Theatre Design program. She has a background in Interior Design and holds a B.A. in Sociology (UCLA). Besides theatre, she is also working in the Movie/TV industry. Recent theatre design credits include The Great Leap (Arts Club), Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (Little Mountain Lion Productions), The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl (Arts Umbrella), NeOn (rEvolver Festival/ODE. Movements), Spring Awakening (Phantom Moon Collective), Caged Beast (Dramaonevan), etc. She wants to thank the passionate and supportive cast and crew who made the show come alive! Especially the amazing Assistant Set Designer Vanka!

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Costume DesignER Amy McDougall is a theatrical costume designer based in Vancouver, BC, where she is also the Head of Wardrobe at Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Amy is delighted to be back working at the Gateway with this fantastic team, after her debut in 2018 with Yoga Play. Recent credits include costume designs for the Arts Club (Cost of Living; Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley; Fun Home; Men in White), Studio 58 (Cabaret; Angels in America), Pacific Theatre (Almost, Maine; Holy Mo!: A Christmas Show; Common Grace, The Whipping Man), Firehall Arts Centre (Dead Metaphor) and Touchstone Theatre (Late Company).

Donna Soares

MA-MA/MING Donna is thrilled to return to Gateway’s stage, having previously performed in King of the Yees and Tiger of Malaya. Donna grew up in Richmond, so Gateway holds a special place in her heart. She is also looking forward to all of Jovanni’s Richmond food recommendations for cast meals. Some of Donna’s credits include: Salmon Girl (Raven Spirit Dance), The Drowning Girls (Vertigo), Green Lake (Solo Collective), Benefit (Downstage), and Cock (Rumble). In November, Donna will be performing in Kuroko (vAct) at The Cultch. Donna is a graduate of Studio 58 and holds a double major in Theatre and French from UBC.

Sarah Jane Pelzer

Surtitle Creator Sarah Jane Pelzer is the supertitlist for Vancouver Opera. She has written and formatted titles for productions in French, Italian, English, Russian, and German. She has also worked with titles in Chinese and Indigenous languages. Aside from writing surtitles, Sarah is also a stage director and teacher based in Vancouver, BC. She has taught, directed and assisted across Canada at Edmonton and Manitoba Opera, Opera on the Avalon, Pacific Opera Victoria, the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Vancouver Opera.

Jovanni Sy

Merchant Li Jovanni is an actor, playwright, and director who has collaborated with theatre companies across Canada and overseas. From 2012-2019, he was the Artistic Director of Gateway Theatre where he directed Harvest, Closer Than Ever, Valley Song, and Yoga Play; acted in King of the Yees; and wrote Nine Dragons which won a Jessie for Outstanding New Play. Next up: acting in It’s a Wonderful Christmas-Ish Holiday Miracle, and Noises Off (Arts Club); Playwright in Residence at 2020 Banff Playwrights Lab; directing his kung-fu revenge tragedy The Five Vengeances (Affair of Honor).

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aRtiStiC teaM Jennifer tong

SU-LING Jennifer Tong is thrilled to be making her debut into professional theatre with Gateway, a place where she first fell in love with performing arts. As a young girl, she dipped her toes into the magical world of musical theatre during a summer camp at Gateway and discovered a genuine passion. To her, China Doll is a story of self-worth, cultural history and extreme bravery. She can’t believe she gets to be a part of it all. Thank you. Theatre credits: Christmas Carol (Exit 22), String of Pearls (Tomo Suru Players), Vagina Monologues (UBC). Film credits: Supergirl, Charmed (CW); Sacred Lies (Facebook); Grand Army (Netflix).

Johnny Wu

suRtitLe tRAnsLAtoR Johnny Wu is a Taiwanese Canadian performer and creator. Johnny holds a BFA double major in Theatre Performance and Criminology from Simon Fraser University. Theatre performance/ creation credits: Newspaper (TaiwanFest 2019); Hymn of the Weaver Bird (ESP-I Performing Arts

Group - Taiwan); Gateway Language Exchange Game Show (Gateway Theatre); Books (SFU); these violent delights (SummerWorks); The Pink Line (Queer Arts Festival). Film and TV credits include: Legends of Tomorrow (CW); Sprout (MAMM 2019); Bunny Man (MAMM 2018) Other Credits include Movement Consultant for Animus Anima // Anima Animus (The Public Theatre - New York); Performance coach for Miss Asia 2017.

Yvonne Yip

stAge MAnAgeR Yvonne is excited to be back at Gateway Theatre with China Doll after last season’s It’s A Wonderful Life. Favourites at Gateway include King of the Yees, Valley Song, Sound of Music, and Forbidden Phoenix. Yvonne has had the opportunity to work with companies including Arts Club Theatre, Bard on the Beach, Caravan Farm Theatre, and Pangaea Arts. Memorable credits include King Arthur’s Night (Neworld Theatre), Competition Is Fierce (ITSAZOO), Fall Away Home (Boca del Lupo), and touring with Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favourites to USA, Kingdom of Bahrain, and South Korea.



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Univar Canada

China Doll Creative Team Sponsor

Univar Canada has been a supporter of Gateway Theatre for more than a decade. You can see the impact of their support through the beautiful costumes, innovative sound, lighting and set designs. As the Creative Team Sponsor for China Doll, we hope you have been transported to turn-ofthe-century China and experience Su-Ling’s world. Univar Canada is a leading distributor of chemistry and related innovative products and services. You can find their products everywhere in your everyday life, such as the packet of crystals with your bouquet of fresh flowers or Vitamin C which is included in many commercial food products. Their products are included in a broad range of industries including agriculture, forestry, personal care, and water treatment. As a Richmond-based company, they are committed to making substantial contributions to our community and have been one of Gateway’s most committed supporters. Thank you Univar for helping us bring diverse stories to our community.

inDiViDUaL DOnORS Dedicated donors and supporters are essential to our ability to present high-quality professional theatre and to nurture the next generation of theatre artists. As a registered charity, Gateway Theatre relies on the generosity of our donors and supporters to enrich the quality of life in Richmond and the surrounding communities. In addition to a tax receipt, Gateway Theatre offers exclusive privileges to enhance your theatre experience. Please visit our website or call us at 604.247.4973 for more information.

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gateWaY tHeatRe aDMiniStRatiOn Gateway Theatre Board of Directors Chak Au, City Council Liaison Wayne Gibson, Vice-Chair Jacqueline Ho, Secretary Joanna Ko, Treasurer Diane Purvey Valerie Reynolds Clayton Rubinstein Lorena Vlad John F. Watson, Chair Helena Zhu

gateway theatre Staff The Gateway Theatre, owned by the City of Richmond and operated by the Richmond Gateway Theatre Society, is currently producing its 35th season of live theatre.

Executive Director Camilla Tibbs

Finance Manager Sylvia Lanz

Interim Producer Barbara Tomasic

Finance Assistant Agnes Chan

Artistic Associate (on leave) Scheherazaad Cooper

Administrative Assistant Robin White

Interim Artistic Associate Caitlin Fysh Marketing and Sales Manager Karen Leung Marketing Associate Wendy Tsui Publicist Marnie Wilson Graphic Designer Jordan Kidd Development Manager (on leave) Marla Penner Interim Development Manager Elizabeth Ho

Special Thanks Sophie Tang Gateway Theatre Volunteers

Development Associate Crystal Lan Production Manager Josef Chung Production Coordinator Steven Lafond

Associate Manager Samara Van Nostrand Patron Services Manager Greg Bricknell Audience Services Olivia Etey Cecilly Day Soma Feldmar Emma Hoogeveen Terri Jelic Adam Karolewski Tracey Mack Ryan Nuñez Xin Xuan Song Andrew Wade Nicholas Yee Box Office Staff Alex Anos Dylan Floyde Tory Ip Grace Le Jessie Liang Vivian Ling Ryan Nuñez Christopher Schimpf Sheila Wong Nicholas Yee Building Services Supervisor Paul Bartlett

Building Services Assistants Mesfin Ayalew Alyssa Hodgson Education Manager Ruth McIntosh Education Coordinator Nicholas Yee Gateway Academy Instructors Christina Cuglietta Abbey Dutton Erik Gow Manami Hara Elliott James Erin Michell Shannon Pidlubny Tessa Trach

gateWaY tHeatRe ABOUT US Gateway Theatre enriches the quality of life in Richmond and surrounding communities by creating outstanding professional theatre and serving as a dynamic hub for the performing arts. Incorporated in 1982, Gateway is a vital member of the professional theatre scene in the Lower Mainland. The theatre offers a six-show English-language Signature Series, plus theatre education and performance training classes for youth ages 6-18 at the Gateway Academy. As a venue, Gateway Theatre provides a much-needed rental space for professional and community producers.

We Want tO HeaR FROM YOU. Email us after the show @GatewayThtr

WHiLe YOU aRe HeRe Pre-order beverages at the bar before the show and skip the queue at intermission. Our fully licensed concession offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as various snacks. We accept both credit and cash payments. Please turn off all electronic devices during the show. Complimentary Hearing Assistance Sets are available at Coat Check on a first come, first served basis. Free Wi-Fi: @richmondbc


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Tim Rice Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics by





Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is presented by arrangement with The Musical Company, LP.

At Verve, we want you to live life your way and enjoy the positive energy in our dynamic community. Share experiences, interests and talents through unexpected and inclusive activities and learn new things about yourself and the people around you. Entertain family and friends over a great meal and leave the dishes to us. Be as busy as you would like to be, make new friends & live a rich quality of life with purpose! To learn more about the Verve difference and find a residence near you, visit

Proud sponsors of Gateway’s Tea Matinee and Volunteer Program


4088 Blundell Road, Richmond, BC V7C 5V1 604 271 7222

7051 Moffatt Rd, Richmond, BC V6Y 3W2 604 273 1225 INDEPENDENT LIVING






Profile for Gateway Theatre

China Doll  

Nominated for a Governor General’s Award, China Doll is a coming-of-age story which follows a young girl’s path to freedom through books and...

China Doll  

Nominated for a Governor General’s Award, China Doll is a coming-of-age story which follows a young girl’s path to freedom through books and...