PuSh International Performing Arts Festival kicks off 2018

The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is fast approaching. Opening January 16, 2018, the festival brings three weeks of cutting edge, creative performing arts to stages around Vancouver.

The PuSh program is packed with artistic experiences from around the world. Take a look through the listings to find what you’re interested in, here’s a sampling of what you’ll find;

Some Hope for the Bastards – Frédérick Gravel (Canada), the renowned Quebecois dance artist is creator & director of a musical-dance spectacle for the musically adventurous and visually attuned.
Opening Night January 17 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.

The Events – Pi Theatre (Canada) present the English Canadian premiere of David Greig’s daring play inspired by the 2011 killing of 69 people at a summer camp in Utøya, Norway.  Featuring a different Metro Vancouver choir each night sharing the stage with the two actors.
January 17 – 18 at Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Ave.

King Arthur’s Night – Neworld Theatre (Canada) presented with UBC Theatre & Film brings us the tale of King Arthur with the added entertainment of a live band and 20 member chorus
January 31 – February 4 at Frederic Wood Theatre 6354 Crescent Rd., UBC

Dickie Beau: Unplugged – Dickie Beau (England), innovative, drag performer discusses his love of drag and how his lip-sync performances have updated the art of drag.
January 19 at The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main St
January 20 at Anvil Centre, 777 Columbia St., New Westminster

Reassembled, Slightly Askew – Shannon Yee (Northern Ireland), a survivor of a medically induced coma and brain injury, brings an audio experience like no other. Melding art and science, this multidisciplinary adventure is a head-trip in the literal sense.
January 17 – February 4 at The Cultch, Culture Lab, 1895 Venables Ave.

Blind Cinema – Britt Hatzius (England/Germany) gives the audience a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes.  The blindfolded audience are blindfolded and seated in front of children who describe the audio-less film in hushed whispers.
January 24 – 25 / January 31 – February 1 at Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour St.

Birdman : Live – Antonio Sanchez (USA/Mexico), one of the world’s greatest drummers, provides a live accompaniment to the Academy Award-winning film Birdman onstage at the Vogue Theatre.
February 1 at The Vogue Theatre, 918 Granville St.

The Eternal Tides – Legend Lin Dance Theatre (Taiwan) and choreographer Lin Lee-Chen intertwines intricate age-old rituals, customs and ceremonies with song and dance to create a tribute to the waters that surround the island of Taiwan.
February 3 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 630 Hamilton St.

Amongst all these amazing artistic performance a collection of workshops, talkbacks and panels add to the PuSh Festival experience.
Passes and individual performance tickets are available online now, some shows are already selling fast and will sell out so make your selections soon.

 

Picks of the Week – January 3, 2018

2018 is here and we’re back in full swing looking for great entertainment picks of the week to get you through the first week of the new year.

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: It’s your last chance to help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre before is closes January 6th.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival  bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site until January 21st

Lights: Lights at Lafarge Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival, the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland keeps the lights on until January 21st

Canyon: Take to the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  until January 28th, 2018. 

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage welcomes Disney’s Beauty & The Beast until January 13th.

Train: This is the last week for Bright Nights, Stanley Park Christmas Train– two million lights twinkle throughout the plaza and Miniature Train until January 6th

Heritage: Celebrate the way the Holidays were a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum  until January 5th

Garden: Wander through millions of lights and colours at Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden until January 7th

Improv: The Vancouver Theatresports Throwdown International Theatresports Festival is on now. First up, until Jan 13th, local teams of VTSL players improv their way to the best of Vancouver, before taking on International Improv teams the following week.

Picks of the Week – December 20, 2017

Just five more sleeps until Santa makes his rounds, in between your last-minute shopping, here’s a few picks of the week to keep you entertained.

Icing: The Vancouver Canucks play host to St Louis on Thursday at Rogers Arena

Solstice: The Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is transformed into an illuminated wonder for the 24th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival on Thursday evening.

Acrobat: The stunning Cirque du Soleil Kurios, Cabinet of Curiosities continues under the Grand Chapiteau at Concord Pacific Place

Snow White photo Emily Cooper

Snow: Until January 6th, help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre

Twinkle: Light up your nights with the Festival light displays all around Metro Vancouver; Lights of Hope, Canyon Lights, Bright Nights, Heritage Christmas, Glow Christmas, Lights at Lafarge all bring a little Christmas Spirit.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival makes its debut on Friday, bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s dramedy  The Day Before Christmas is onstage at the Goldcorp Stage until Sunday, while fan favourite Onegin remounts the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until December 31st and Disney’s Beauty & The Beast is already extended until January 13th.

Ghost of Christmas Past (Josh Chambers) & Scrooge (Russell Roberts) Photo: David Cooper

Dickens: From December 7 – 24th, the Holiday Classic, A Christmas Carol comes to life onstage at Gateway Theatre in Richmond.

Narnia: Carousel Theatre, invites families to step through the wardrobe as C.S Lewis’  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to the stage until December 31st.

Carols: The 25th Anniversary of the VSO’s Traditional Christmas at St Andrew’s Wesley this weekend and in various venues throughout the month

Drag: The Christmas Queen is back to ruin Christmas for Vancouver Theatresports League and on Saturday nights, anything can, and will happen,  when Vancouver drag diva the Unstoppable Connie Smudge joins the stage,  it’s two queens for the price of one at Christmas Queen Drag Race.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast roars into Arts Club

Who doesn’t start humming the tune and lyrics … ‘tale as old as time’ when they think about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?  The Arts Club Theatre brings the beloved tale back to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage for the holiday season for the first time since 2008.  Bill Millerd direct his final holiday show in his final year as Artistic Director of The Arts Club. The Beast, Belle, Gaston, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and all the other characters you love from the animated Disney classic, bring the music and story, based on the French fairy tale, to the stage.

The smaller Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage creates a more intimate show than other productions of Beauty and The Beast, that I’ve seen.  The intimacy brings a new life to the production, making us all feel like we’re a one of the villagers observing this love story about tolerance and acceptance of your own and other’s differences.  The peculiar girl named Belle is brilliantly played by Shannon Chan-Kent, whose voice fills the room with its power and precision.  With a powerful Belle, The Beast has to be even stronger to be both menacing, sensitive and balance her vocals, Jonathan Winsby definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to see and hear why he’s played The Beast so often in his career, even behind the heavy mask he brings, humour, charm and compassion to the Beast.   The Beast’s castle is also filled with other lively characters, slowing becoming inanimate, lead by Shawn Macdonald’s officious Cogsworth, Peter Jorgensen’s randy Lumiere and Susan Anderson’s motherly Mrs Potts.  In the village, Belle’s father is the local legend Bernard Cuffling but the real stand out in the production is Kamyar Pazandeh who has managed to create an over-the-top Gaston that is the spitting image of the animated version, physically and vocally Kamyer knocks it out of the theatre.

Being nearly a decade since the last production, Alison Green has created a brand new dynamic set that fills the stage and seamlessly moves action and cast from town to woods to castle.  Scott Augustine adapts the original choreography of Valerie Easton, to this new set and staging.  Easton’s late daughter Amy Wallis was the original Belle and this production is dedicated in the memory of Amy.

If this production wasn’t already top notch, watching the number of children mesmerized by seeing their favourite characters come to life, adds even more to the show for us adults.  Go see it with the whole family!

Disney’s Beauty and The Beast is now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. The show is so popular, The Arts Club has already extended the run, now playing until January 13, 2018.  For information and tickets visit artsclub.com

Picks of the Week – December 13, 2017

It’s day two of Hanukkah for our Jewish friends. As well, just two more weeks until Santa takes off on his flight. What will we do while we wait? Let’s find out in the picks of the week…

Talk: find out What Happened when Hillary Clinton comes to Vancouver to discuss life, elections and more at the Vancouver Convention Centre today.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks are in for a multi-game homestand – Tonight vs Nashville, Friday vs San Jose, Sunday vs Calgary

East Van Panto
Photo: Emily Cooper

Snow: Until January 6th, help Snow White and the Seven Dwarves evade her Evil Stepmother in East Van Panto at The Cultch York Theatre

Twinkle: Light up your nights with the Festival light displays all around Metro Vancouver; Lights of Hope, Canyon Lights, Bright Nights, Heritage Christmas, Glow Christmas, Lights at Lafarge all bring a little Christmas Spirit.

Festival: Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival makes its debut on Friday, bringing dozens of Chinese lanterns, throughout the 14 acre PNE site.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s dramedy  The Day Before Christmas is onstage at the Goldcorp Stage until the day before Christmas, while fan favourite Onegin remounts the Arts Club, Granville Island Stage, until December 31st and Disney’s Beauty & The Beast is in previews starting tomorrow.

Ghost of Christmas Past (Josh Chambers) & Scrooge (Russell Roberts)
Photo: David CooperDickens: From December 7 – 24th, the Holiday Classic, A Christmas Carol comes to life onstage at Gateway Theatre in Richmond.

Narnia: Carousel Theatre, invites families to step through the wardrobe as C.S Lewis’  The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to the stage until December 31st.

Carols: The 25th Anniversary of the VSO’s Traditional Christmas at St Andrew’s Wesley this weekend and in various venues throughout the month

Drag: The Christmas Queen is back to ruin Christmas for Vancouver Theatresports League and on Saturday nights, anything can, and will happen,  when Vancouver drag diva the Unstoppable Connie Smudge joins the stage,  it’s two queens for the price of one at Christmas Queen Drag Race.

Arts Club remounts hit play Onegin for 2017.

Last season, The Arts Club Theatre Company debuted Onegin, an ambitious new work based on the verse Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky.   This season, the cast remains the same but the home of Onegin changes to Granville Island for a run until December 31st.

Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille have written the book, music, and lyrics that covers all the emotions in the two hour show; light-hearted comedy, romance, drama, tragedy.  The musical is mostly sung-through with very little dialogue and most of that dialogue is directed at the audience, when the players break the fourth wall. The pop-rock infused songs are strong enough to stand alone, and with the band (Jennifer Moersch, Barry Mirochnick & Marguerite Witvoet) onstage throughout, suggest the whole show could be performed in concert without set or costumes and still be brilliant.  However, Drew Facey’s set filled with chandeliers, books and candles and Jacqueline Firkins’ Imperial Russian costumes do great work to place Onegin in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia.

The whole theatre is the stage as players regularly step into the aisles to interact and bring the audience even closer to the production.  Sharing laughter, drinks, chit chat and passing notes, the casual atmosphere is like a visit with friends that you don’t want to end, the two hour show passes all too quickly.  In their second season in these roles the actors and characters mesh as one, allowing them to deliver the adlibs and scripted lines with equal comfort.  The cast is filled with veterans of Vancouver stage and screen and no one performer stands out because they are all equally brilliant in delivering one of the best new shows that has crossed our stages in recent years.

Onegin plays at The Arts Club Theatre’s Granville Island Stage until December 31, 2017.  Visit artsclub.com for tickets and more information.

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.