5 Picks for PuSh Festival 2019

Every winter the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings together the world of Arts and Performance. This year’s 15th Annual PuSh Festival runs January 17th – February 3rd, 2019 and tickets are selling fast.  Don’t wait, check out the line-up and book your shows now.

The 15th Anniversary festival kicks off January 17th at The Beaumont Studios with a performance by D’BI, the free Opening Night Party, features djs, dancing and pop-up performances by Vancouver’s Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons.

“We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

The opening performance Attractor by DanceNorth Australia,  January 18th & 19th at Vancouver Playhouse
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers onstage. Indonesian duo Senyawa plays music spiced with ritual and folk idioms from their native country while choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek work with Dancenorth Australia and the band to create a wild experience: as the music builds in power, the dancers increase their abandon and pre-selected members of the audience join in.

Some other highlighted picks for PuSh Festival 2019 include:

Marginal Consort by Marginal Consort (Japan) : January 20 at Performance Works
Four musicians, play a multitude of instruments, create ambient, heavily manipulated music, far apart and fully independent of each other.

PALMYRA by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (France/UK) : January 22–24 at Performance Works
Named after a Syrian city that has changed hands several times during the current fighting, this show slowly builds to the level of violence, creating and sustaining moral ambiguity along the way.

salt. by Selina Thompson photo: Bryony Jackson

salt. by Selina Thompson (UK) : January 24–26 at Roundhouse Community Centre
In this performance Selina Thompson recounts her journey along one stretch of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle route by cargo ship.

Bicycle Thieves by Joelysa Pankanea (Canada) : January 26 & 27 at Performance Works
A special commission for Push Festival, composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea guides a group of six musicians and four actors as they provide live musical and voice accompaniment to director Vittorio De Sica’s landmark 1948 neorealist film Bicycle Thieves.

These are but a few of the international performances scheduled for the 2019 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Visit pushfestival.ca to find the full festival schedule and book your tickets and Push Passes now.


Dublin Old School brings beats to The Cultch

Emmett Kirwan & Ian Lloyd Anderson
photo: Fiona Morgan

Dublin Old School wraps up the final week of PuSh International Arts Festival at The Cultch.  Playwright Emmet Kirwan has created a unique production paints a colourful slice of Dublin life. The television star’s first play is a smash hit, with a hip hop beats and rhymes that feel straight outta the top 40.

Dublin Old School opens with a minutes-long blazing fast rap battle between Kirwan and co-star Ian Lloyd Anderson that sets the tone for the remainder of the 70 minute production.  The rapid fire dialogue that follows tells the story of a hazy drug-fueled weekend in the life of wannabe DJ Jason (Kirwan) and his friends, associates and long-lost addict brother, Daniel, all played by Anderson.  As Jason recounts ‘his’ wild weekend, we meet nearly 20 other friends and revellers, requiring Anderson to brilliantly jump rapidly between physical characteristics and changes to his brogue to embody the passing folk. Homeless but (potentially) recovering Daniel is the most developed character played by Anderson, full of twitches and inflections.  As they rap, rave and race through most of the show is, the moments between Jason and Daniel are like calm bridges in the song of their life, tentative moments between the brothers to sober up Jason as Daniel has moments of clarity to offer big brother advice and reminiscences.   Along with the straight-ahead rap pieces, the dialogue throughout Dublin Old School also has a rhythm and pace that draws the audience in to the story with its steady beat.

Dublin Old School @ The Cultch
photo: Ros Kavanagh

Even through the show is only 70 minutes there is a massive volume of creative dialogue in Kirwan’s script filled with rhymes, metaphors and pop culture references.  The two players, delivery of movement around the bare stage and of the lyrical script entwine to paint a graphic image of the Dublin nightclub/rave culture.  Anyone who came of age through that mid-nineties era will nervously laugh in recognition of the experiences and cheer as the duo make it through the Ironman worthy must-see performance.

Dublin Old School plays at The Cultch Historic Theatre until Saturday February 3rd. Get tickets now online at thecultch.com

Picks of the Week – January 17, 2017

As we move into the second half of January, in the picks of the week we find last year’s Festive events ending and the new year’s Festivals beginning.

Festival: Catch the dozens of Chinese lanterns covering the 14 acre Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival  at the PNE before they go dark this weekend, January 21st

Lights: Lights at Lafarge Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival, the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland turns the lights off this weekend, January 21st

Canyon Lights
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon: Be awed and inspired as you walk amongst the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  until January 28th, 2018. 

Fest: The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival gives us plenty of reasons to leave the house on dreary winter nights by heating up stages around the city until February 4, 2018

Eat: While PuSh Fest feeds your spirit, Dine Out Vancouver Festival feeds your belly with hundreds of great restaurant set menus and food events from January 19 to February 4

Hot Brown Honey
photo: Dylan Evans

Honeys: See what the buzz is about as Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat with a serving of sass and empowerment at The Cultch York Theatre until January 27

Boys: Only until January 20th, at The Cultch Historic Theatre, Black Boys explore their queer male blackness, and understanding themselves.

The Events
photo: Emily Cooper

Premiere: Until January 28 at Russian Hall, Pi Theatre, in association with PuSh Festival, presents the Canadian premiere of David Greig’s play The Events, about 2011 attacks in Norway.

Project: The topical play, The Pipeline Project, tackles the controversial topic of piplines in BC at the Firehall Arts Centre until January 20

Rock: LA based singer-songwriter BØRNS takes to the stage at Vogue Theatre on Saturday night

R&B: Toronto’s alt hiphop / r&b act, dvsn bring their Morning After World Tour to Vogue Theatre on Sunday night

Above The Hospital photo: Chris Cho

Dreams: Midtwenties Theatre Society looks at Vancouver millennials and how current pressures affect their aspirations and dreams in Above The Hospital, playing until Sunday at Red Gate Revue Stage

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports Throwdown International Theatresports Festival is continuing, until Jan 21st,  with the best of VTSL players taking on International Improv teams for improv supremacy

Ahoy: Picture yourself on deck, sailing into the open seas at the Vancouver International Boat Show, at BC Place and Granville Island, from today until January 21st.

2018 PuSh Festival Program Launches

This week, 2018 PuSh Festival debuted its program guide with a party at The Fox Cabaret, home of Club PuSh during the festival.

Since 2003, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival has become one of Vancouver’s premier events, bringing life to our stages and venue through  three dreary weeks each winter.  From January 16 to February 4, 2018, PuSh Festival brings world class performing arts to Vancouver.  Local performers and companies take the stages along with those from 11 other countries around the globe who are scheduled for PuSh 2018, including acts from Taiwan, Italy, United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, USA, and Canada.  Theatre, dance, multimedia, film, talkbacks, conversations and workshops are all on deck for this year’s festival, in venues all around Vancouver.

Check out this year’s Festival trailer to see what’s in store for the 2018 Festival.

Visit pushfestival.ca to purchase passes and explore all that PuSh Festival has to offer during the three weeks or pick up a PuSh Festival Guide and start planning your Festival experience now.

dirtsong takes the stage at PuSh Festival

On the penultimate evening of the 2017 PuSh Festival, first nations cultures came together for the performance of dirtsong from Black Arm Band of Australia.

Black Arm Band are a collective of artist, musicians, composers, directors of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island heritage who share 40,000 years of history, cultural traditions and memories.

With opening remarks from PuSh Festival Artistic Director Norman Armour and Managing Director Roxanne Duncan acknowledging that we are merely visitors on the lands of the local indigenous peoples, including the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish first nations.  Musqueam elder Shane Point asked the audience to join hands to show unity as he led us in welcoming their visiting brothers and sisters from down under.

The sharing of cultures continued with the talented members of Black Arm Band sharing the stage with local musicians to bring dirtsong to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage.  The title dirtsong comes from the connection Indigenous peoples have with their land and soil. Their bare feet running through their piece of earth bonds the people to their stories.  These stories are shared in song by the septet of Black Arm Band with the local orchestral performers and to the Audience. Visually intriguing documentary films offered a compelling backdrop as hints of the themes scroll across the screen in both English and Indigenous script.

Over the 90 minutes , the audience spontaneously broke out in applause for many of the musical segments. It’s no wonder dirtsong had so much buzz about it during the Festival.

As I Lay Dying – The Arts Club Theatre

William Faulkner’s Southern Gothic opus As I Lay Dying is now playing at The Arts Club Theatre’s Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 12, 2017.  The uniquely creative production is staged by Toronto’s Theatre Smith-Gilmour and presented in partnership with PuSh Festival.  The touring show brings the novel to life with incredible simplicity, the only props on stage for the 2+ hour play are a board, a bucket, some bananas and a small wooden chair.  The 7 players bring 19 characters to life and paints their rural existence through simple sound effects, creative dance and drama and relies on the audiences imagination to fill in the blanks.

The play traces the poor Bundren family’s journey to take their late mother’s body from their rural farm to her final resting place in Jefferson, MS.  Along their 40 mile wagon trek the family encounters perilous trials and tribulations that test the bonds and bounds of what the family can endure.  Narrated by many of the characters, the story’s vignettes touche on a cross-section of social topics, that would surely have been controversial when the source novel was published in 1930. Poverty, pride, prejudice, infidelity, social status, motherhood, sibling rivalry, abortion, mental health, and many more subjects are touched up.

As I Lay Dying, is a perfect PuSh Festival co-production as it brings the unique creativity that we expect from PuSh to Arts Club’s wide audience catch it until February 12 at Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.

Oil Pressure Vibrator at PuSh Festival 2017

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is known for bringing cutting edge international performances to the city.  Oil Pressure Vibrator, is the type of show that only PuSh can bring to audiences. The Festival encourages patrons to take a look outside of the mainstream and allows artists to explore their creativity.

photo: Geumhyung Jeong

Geumhyung Jeong’s Oil Pressure Vibrator from South Korea is hard to describe, the one woman show explores sexuality in a format unlike any other.  Like a community centre travel lecture, Ms Jeong presents her journey in simple images and videos and a little demonstration.  While her tale of sexual self exploration is an emotional journey of discovery, Jeong’s deadpan delivery allows the audience to form and deal with their own feelings on the subject.

Nervous giggles, to outright laughs, turn to intrigue and wonder as the performance reveals the layers of the story.  You have to see it for yourself.

Tonight is the final night during PuSh Festival to catch Oil Pressure Vibrator at SFU’s Goldcorps Centre for the Arts at 149 West Hastings (Woodwards Building)
Tickets are available online at pushfestival.ca