PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

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PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Location(s) Vancouver, Canada
Foundation 2003
Founded by Katrina Dunn, Norman Armour
Date(s) January–February
Type of play(s) Multidisciplinary (theatre, dance, music)

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is a mid-winter performing arts festival held over 20 days in Vancouver, British Columbia each January. The Festival attracts local, national and international artists to Vancouver audiences, presented through theatre, dance, music, various forms of multimedia and hybrid performance at venues in and around Vancouver.[1]


PuSh Festival[edit]

Origins of the name[edit]

The PuSh Festival was named by Board member, Lainé Slater, in 2003[2] to describe the festival's credo to deliver unconventional boundary-pushing work to local Vancouver audiences.

Club PuSh[edit]

Club PuSh is PuSh Festival's "Festival within the Festival",[3] presented by Theatre Conspiracy. It is a less formal, less traditional space at Performance Works designed as the intimate and dynamic social hub of the festival. Club PuSh features experimental marquee acts, as well as a social gathering space for festival attendees to mingle and network. On Friday nights during the PuSh Festival, Marquee Acts are followed by Late Nights at Club PuSh. Late Nights at Club PuSh feature live music, dj sets and other acts.

Established in 2009, the 2014 PuSh Festival's Club PuSh was co-curated by Norman Armour, Tim Carlson and Veda Hille.

Norman Armour[edit]

Norman Armour is the Artistic & Executive director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. He is the co-founder of the PuSh Festival, as well Rumble Productions, an interdisciplinary theatre company that continues to be a mainstay Vancouver’s independent theatre scene. Armour graduated from Simon Fraser University (SFU)’s School for the Contemporary Arts in 1986 and in 2010, he was the receipt of SFU's Outstanding Alumni Award.[4] He has collaborated on over 120 works for the stage and other media. His career includes producer, director, actor and producer, covering a range of creative interests: devised works and new writing for the stage; contemporary and classical adaptations; site-specific endeavours; large-scale interdisciplinary events; dance/theatre collaborations; and live-remote radio broadcasts. He recently directed the premiere of Pauline, an opera by Tobin Stokes and Margaret Atwood on the life and art of Métis poet Pauline Johnson.


2003 Foundation[edit]

The PuSh Festival was co-founded in 2003 by Katrina Dunn of Touchstone Theatre and Norman Armour of Rumble Productions.[1][5][6][7]

2005 PuSh Festival[edit]

In 2005, the organization of the festival was formalized with the creation of a formal board of directors and advisors and by being registered as a charitable organization.[1]

2008 PuSh Festival[edit]

Over 23,000 people attended the 2008 festival. Visiting presenters from across Canada and around the world were in attendance for the Assembly networking event to view performances, talk and do business.

2009 PuSh Festival[edit]

The 2009 PuSh Festival took place from January 20 to February 8, and offered works from across Canada, England, Japan and New Zealand. A total of 136 performances took place at 16 venues across the city and the attendance was more than 24,000.[1]

2014 PuSh Festival[edit]

The 2014 PuSh Festival took place January 14 to February 2, 2014 during which, over 150 performances and events were held at 15 venues across Vancouver, including the Vancouver Playhouse, SFU Woodwards and the York Theatre. The 2014 PuSh Festival included works from 310 artists and companies from Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Lebanon, Portugal, and the United States.[8] Feature events included the 10th Anniversary Opening Gala performance and party; 20 Main Stage shows spanning theatre, dance, music and multimedia performance; 17 PuSh Conversations with artists pre- and post-performances; three weeks of startling, experimental performances at Club PuSh; a film series; the PuSh Assembly for arts industry; Patrons Circle donor events; and dinner/theatre packages with Dine Out Vancouver. In 2014, PuSh Festival hosted two Artists-in-Residence in partnership with grunt gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) for the first time. The international visiting artists Rabih Mroué of Lebanon and Tim Etchells of England were invited to present their work which crossed visual, theatre and literary forms.

Total attendance numbers reached almost 24,000, with an average house capacity of 79% for performances and 37 sold-out events.[8] The Festival sold out 400 PuSh passes to loyal PuSh patrons by the end of December and launched its inaugural PuSh Youth Passport program, allowing 266 young people aged 16 to 24 to see select performances for discounted ticket prices.[8]

The 2014 Accessible PuSh program issued 375 tickets to community groups to attend performances for free.[8]

A dedicated roster of over 181 volunteers worked more than 2,400 hours in support of the Festival.[8]

2015 PuSh Festival[edit]

The 2015 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival took place January 20 to February 8, 2015.

2016 PuSh Festival[edit]

The 2016 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival took place January 19 to February 7, 2015. There were 250 performances and events over 17 venues, of which 125 were sold out. Attendance was over 23,000. The Artist-in-Residence was Jordan Tannahill.

2017 PuSh Festival[edit]

The next edition of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival takes place January 16 to February 5, 2017. Program to be announced in early November.


  1. ^ a b c d "About the Festival". PuSh Festival. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Campbell, Charles. "Club PuSh: conception to delivery". Theatre Conspiracy. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Leiren-Young, Mark. "PuSh Festival: Club PuSh a festival within a festival: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/PuSh+Festival+Club+PuSh+festival+within+festival/9364346/story.html#ixzz2uILjK5Da". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 25 February 2014.  External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.sfu.ca/appreciation/tribute/69/index.html
  5. ^ "Theatre BC's Talent Bank". Theatre BC. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  6. ^ "This One Goes to Eleven: Katrina Dunn". The Next Stage. 2008-02-29. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  7. ^ "Daring Festival Makes Room for the World". The Georgia Straight. 2007-01-04. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "PUSH FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF CROSSING THE LINE". PuSh Festival. Retrieved 25 February 2014.