PuSh Blog

Creating greater access to the arts for Vancouver youth

November 28, 2013

In 2014 the PuSh Festival is launching a new pilot Youth Program for 16- to 24-year olds that creates greater access to the arts in Vancouver. We had a chat with Dave Deveau, Youth Program Coordinator (and former child star) about the necessity of such programs and the roles they can play in ushering young people to the rich world of the performing arts.


Dave Deveau headshot from XtraWhy is the new PuSh Festival Youth Program important?

When I was going to theatre school in Toronto there was an agreement between all of the theatres in the city that all shows on Sunday afternoons would be Pay What You Can. I would head down every Sunday with my $5 bill in hand, and leave each week inspired creatively with a richer education in artistic references and contemporary performance. It was such a vital and magical part of my development as a young artist, creator, and producer. For the three weeks of the festival I’m hoping we can recreate that magic for a new generation.

Where do you hope to see the pilot program take the Festival in another 10 years?

The arts only exist when they are nurtured and supported by an excited audience, and through the youth program we are accessing a vibrant array of young artists, patrons, critics and academics who are hungry to be a part of the festival and yet, in many cases, haven’t had the access to do so.

To me PuSh is one of the most exciting times of year for the arts, in Vancouver, and by inviting a younger demographic to really engage and be a part of the artistic conversation we are fostering creativity across the board.

I hope to see many young people take advantage of their PuSh Youth Passport, and sticking around to engage with the artists and fellow patrons, to really bring that fresh energetic youthful vibe throughout the Festival.

How do you think it shapes the future of the arts in Vancouver?

My personal experiences of mentorships, youth programs and arts access initiatives for young people are what have nurtured me into the artist and arts professional I am today. I am a firm believer of paying it forward, and am now in a position to carry on — and even extend — the conversations initiated by the youth arts programs I benefited from through initiatives of my own, like the PuSh Youth Passport.

I am thrilled to usher in a new generation of young people to the arts in Vancouver. They are capable of benefiting from the same opportunities I had. It fuels our community, industry and city to become sustainable, and as we ourselves will not be around forever, we need to meet and cultivate these amazing young minds who will someday be taking over.