Curatorial Statement – The PuSh Assembly
January 08, 2013
By Associate Curator Dani Fecko
Dating back to 2006, the PuSh Festival Assembly has been a performing arts industry focused initiative offering opportunities for dialogue and exchange, for professional development, and for global networking —all in equal measure. It remains to this day as the west coast’s only annual international multidisciplinary forum for the performing arts, providing an occasion to share new practices, ideas and perspectives. The PuSh Assembly has tested various models, at times with the expressed goal to foster export readiness, international market development, and trade opportunities for artists in the area of touring, co-production, residencies and cultural reciprocity.
For as long as memory serves, the PuSh Assembly has been an industry driven and industry attended, with events occurring only in the final week of the Festival. Over the years its impact has reached far and wide, connecting the Vancouver scene with an incredible collection of people who have attended from elsewhere in Canada and all over the world. But as with anything we do, nothing stands still—innovation and refinement is not only considered on an annual basis, it’s an absolute necessity for the Assembly and the Festival to remain relevant.
During the 2012 I was lucky enough to co-curate Attacks Lab with Anita Rochon. Attacks Lab was a curated series of events aimed at established and emerging theatre directors and practitioners, (whether they practiced professionally, as students, or as audience members). The events, which ranged from panel discussions, director’s breakfasts, case studies and open conversations stretched out over the entire Festival and were free to anyone who wished to attend (as long as the RSVPed), with the exception of two phenomenal paid workshops.
We had no idea if it would work. If anyone would come.
It did. And they did.
For 2013 PuSh has re-imagined the Assembly, bringing together the best of its original inspiration with the enthusiasm demonstrated for the Attacks Lab. With the exception of two incredible workshops with U.K. Artists Adrian Howells and Dan Canham, every event is FREE. And anyone, from seasoned professionals, to aficionados, to students, to emerging artists, to first time audience members are welcome to join in the conversations and the networking.
PuSh has always been about crossing the line, breaking boundaries and finding out what is on the other side. Our hope with the Assembly is to provide more opportunities for you to explore the Festival. To fully immerse yourself in the creation, exploration, discussion and enjoyment of the pieces of art we bring to you.
We have also always been about connection. Connection to our city, through its citizens and its architecture, connection to our community through discounted tickets, various outreach endeavours and through fostering relationships between artists who go on to create new pieces together and connecting artists with administrators and visiting presenters who help them travel the world.
In 2013, consider spending a Friday morning with us at the Inn at False Creek, listening to local artists discuss directorial practice with out of town directors, or invest in a an unforgettable workshop on confessional theatre with the incomparable Adrian Howells. Spend two afternoons exploring your creative sense of space and sound with Dan Canham, or come and raise a glass with Norman, myself and Kris and Joyce from PushOFF so we can introduce you to a few of our many friends from across the city, throughout Canada and beyond. Everything gets started with our POP*TACTCS keynote at SFU on January 18 and Panel the next day with local artists, and architects from muf architecture/art in the U.K.
We do this Festival for you. You get to know us through our programming choices. Come on down and let us get to know you too.