PuSh Blog

10th Anniversary Welcome: A persistence of vision

November 07, 2013

Photos: Yukiko Onley; Andrew Querner

Back in the early naughts, PuSh was an impulse both simple and far-reaching. A bold and original mid-winter, international festival was envisioned as a much-needed platform for creating a “new context” for the performing arts here in Vancouver.

Such a festival would both challenge and inspire colleagues. It would be founded on an ethos of partnership, demonstrating what new economies of scale might be achieved, what new audiences might be reached, and the new relationships that might be fostered between BC and other regions in Canada and abroad. All of this would, in turn, help stimulate new public and private investment in the arts.

The festival’s mission and sense of possibility would fuel our conversations with curatorial collaborators on shared interests and what artistic innovations might be tested by local and visiting artists. This would also include an expanded sense of horizons, of risk-taking for you, our audience. A festival such as the one imagined over a decade ago would engage with the issues of the day, placing the aspirations and concerns of Vancouver artists, audiences and communities within a wider framework and on a larger stage, ultimately serving as an act of affirmation and provocation.

Naming it “PuSh”? Here, too, the thought was fairly straightforward. Push boundaries; push the form; push forward new ideas, new aesthetics, new thinking and new work. Yet, no matter how challenging or far-fetched the artistic proposition might be, we would stick by our credo: no hype; tell the truth; never lie.

From the beginning we have hoped to present artists and works that stay with you—through a persistence of vision—long after the show is over. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones who saw Jimmy in the original push series—a beguiling and utterly unforgettable act of theatre by Montreal’s Marie Brassard. One night in particular, the theatre at Studio 16 was packed—over-sold at a hundred people, or so. After the show it took Marie a good 20 minutes to change into her street clothes, remove her makeup and put away the portable microphone she had used to create the work’s dream-world effect. When she returned to the stage for the post-performance talk not a single person had left. They had remained in the theatre—having witnessed a work ofart of profound meaning, of exhilarating artistry, of surprising and breathtaking moments—eager to take in more.

We hope you are fortunate enough to have a similar experience at this year’s 10th Anniversary PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. And may that experience resonate with you for some time to come, into a future where, rest assured, we’ll be waiting to cross the line with you one more time.

Please join us in celebration of this momentous occasion. It’s a birthday, after all!

Norman Armour Artistic & Executive Director &
Peter Dickinson Board President
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival


  1. Wow- The vision of Push never ceases to amaze me. I am continuously in awe of how Push keeps on Pushing outside the box. Congratulations for 10 years of monumental success. I raise a glass to all of you and wish you another 50 years.

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