Last night, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh) announced its 2024 festival lineup, coming January 18th to February 4th, to venues around Vancouver. For two decades, PuSh Festival has been the Lower Mainland’s signature, mid-winter cultural event delivering radical, innovative, contemporary works of live art by acclaimed local, national, and international artists.
Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday, November 22 at noon for this year’s Festival, which asks, “Can a live art festival be a ritual for social change? A cultural strategy? A means to rethink history while imagining possible futures?”
PuSh 2024 features 17 original works from 15 countries—including four world premieres and seven Canadian debuts, the Festival lineup is dedicated to inspired risk-taking and dynamic interdisciplinary collaboration. PuSh’s 2024 Program showcases creative risk and the shifting of our paradigms of artistic form. As always, the works being presented in this year’s Festival will make audiences feel more alive and push viewers to examine their relationship to themes such as migration, displacement, labour, injustice, and artificial intelligence.
“PuSh expands our consciousness by bringing our bodies in proximity and creating space to think,” says PuSh’s Director of Programming Gabrielle Martin, who has been curating the Festival since 2022. “It triggers creative and political stimulation through local-international encounters, and it fosters a transmission of knowledge unique to the ephemeral community of an international festival.”
Along with a strong home-grown presence, PuSh will also present works from around the globe.
International companies/artists being presented for PuSh 2024 include: Tangaj Collective (Romania/Madagascar), NOUS Theatre/Guy Regis Jr. (Haiti/France), Cherish Menzo (Belgium), Basel Zaraa (Palestine/UK), Liquid Music (USA), Inbal Ben Haim (France), Back to Back (Australia), and Rakesh Sukesh/Marcus Yussef (India/Belgium).
Canadian/International collaborations companies/artists include: Naishi Wang/Jean Abreu (Toronto, Canada/China/UK/Brazil), and Tangaj Collective/Action at a Distance (Romania/Vancouver).
Canadian companies/artists include: Nellie Gossen (Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST), Patrick Blenkarn & Milton Lim (Vancouver), Diana Lopez-Soto (Toronto), Human Cargo (Toronto), Theatre Conspiracy (Vancouver), and Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto).
The always anticipated Club PuSh, the Festival’s platform for out-of-the-box work and interactive experiences, runs on January 26 & 27 at 9 p.m. at Performance Works on Granville Island. Club PuSh is a relaxed, casual atmosphere where people can connect with artists and party with fellow Festival-goers. The two cabaret-style nights of Club PuSh will be curated by Vancouver collaborators the frank theatre co. and Talking Stick, the lineup for each night of Club PuSh will be released in December.
The PuSh Industry Series also returns for 2024. For a third year, PuSh partners with Talking Stick Festival to host Indigenous delegates from Turtle Island and beyond for ceremony, feast, and weaving deeper connections within our communities.
PuSh also continues to offer youth programming for participants aged 16-24. The PuSh Youth Program is PuSh’s way to engage, support, and uplift a whole new generation of arts enthusiasts by providing greater access to the performing arts via discounted tickets, educational opportunities, and stimulating conversation. The Youth Pass gives access to PuSh Festival programming at highly discounted rates with access to 4 select shows at only $20 for youth aged 16-24.
The Youth Cohort, produced in partnership with Surrey-based Solid State Community Industries, is a free program that brings together racialized youth to experience, examine, and engage with the professional contemporary performing arts community. With workshops, conversations with arts professionals, and a slate of exciting PuSh shows, the Youth Cohort is like a book club, but for the live performing arts. Those interested can learn more about the program and how to apply to the 2023 Youth Cohort online.
A new initiative for 2024, in partnership with Playwrights Theatre Centre, PuSh will also offer free artistic consultations with visiting national and international dramaturgs representing diverse artistic points of view and cultural contexts, to highlight creative work that is often behind-the-scenes, nourishing individual practice while contributing to collective dramaturgical knowledge systems.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of PuSh @ SFU Woodward’s, offering an Anniversary Series of three shows through the duration of the Festival ( The Runner, DARKMATTER, and L’amour). Patrons can save 15% when getting tickets to all three shows, in celebration of the long standing partnership.
PuSh also celebrates a new partnership with Boca del Lupo with the first offering in their MICRO Performance Series, Dear Laila .
PuSh continues to expand its community outreach and to work alongside new and long-standing partners including Théâtre la Seizième, The Cultch, Neworld Theatre, Indian Summer Festival, Chutzpah! Festival, Pandemic Theatre, New Works Dance, The Dance Centre, Inner Fish Theatre Society, Music on Main, plastic orchid factory, Touchstone Theatre, Rumble Theatre, Vancouver Poetry House, SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, Boca del Lupo, the frank theatre co., Living Things Festival, Talking Stick Festival, with support from Vancouver Civic Theatres, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, and the Granville Island Theatre District.
The full 2024 PuSh program guide will be available online tomorrow, November 22rd, coinciding with single-show ticket sales. PuSh Passes, for those interested in seeing multiple shows, are on sale now at pushfestival.ca