Donor Spotlight: Rodger So
November 26, 2018
Our donors transform the performing arts in our city through their generosity. Leading up to #GivingTuesday on November 27, we are sharing a few of their stories!
We spoke to Rodger So, who has been a donor and a Board Member of PuSh for the past six years. We’re going to miss his high spirits and accounting acumen around the office as he finished his term on the Board last month. But fortunately for us, it sounds like he’ll still be around for years to come.
What first attracted you to PuSh?
When I was a child, my fondest memory of the performing arts was my elementary school production of the Wizard of Oz. I played the Lion – imagine 10-year-old me in a lion costume with whiskers drawn on! But it wasn’t a typical production: it was the Wizard of Oz with a twist. It surprised the audience and sparked conversation. To me, even very young, it opened my eyes to the power of the arts and how it could have a profound impact on how we view the world. I didn’t experience that same feeling again until my first PuSh show.
In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
Encouraging everybody to “cross the line.”
What performance works inspire you the most?
Certainly, Human Library (2015, 2016, 2017). It was completely different from anything that I’ve seen from PuSh. You visit a PuSh-run circulation desk at the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch, where they register you with your own “Human Library” card and offer to lend you one of 20 possible “human books.” Then you would be connected to a person behind the title of that book to start a one-to-one conversation. I had the most fascinating discussion, and it changed my view on that particular topic. Participating in Human Library was also free and helped make the Festival accessible. One wouldn’t have to purchase a ticket to experience PuSh.
What is your favourite memory at PuSh?
The time I signed up to be a venue representative for a show. It was an exciting time for me – and my first Festival as a Board Member. My responsibilities as the rep including welcoming audience members, helping with the box office and doing whatever was necessary. It was a humbling experience but also helped me see for myself the dedicated people who make each performance happen. The Front of House Manager was also very patient with me. If you remember me and are reading this: Thank you!
What do you wish people knew about PuSh?
As a professional accountant, I’m tempted to give an accountant-like answer. I’m just going to do so anyways! I served as Treasurer of the Board for almost four years. I looked at the financial reports and reviewed the budgets. The most eye-opening parts of that position was realizing how there are so many moving, complicated pieces that make up this Festival. The staff and volunteers are truly remarkable.
What would you tell someone who’s thinking of donating to PuSh?
Please consider a donation. I’ve been attending PuSh since 2010 and served on the Board from 2012 to 2018. My love for the Festival grew deeper over the years, and I expect it to continue growing. I’m excited to celebrate its 15th anniversary this coming January.
Any other comments you’d like to contribute?
Walk into a performance with an open mind and expect the unexpected. See you there.