PuSh Blog

Ideas & Industry: Introducing the new PuSh Assembly with highlights from Week 1 by Joyce Rosario

January 14, 2016

Still from a live performance of Jack Charles V. the Crown
Jack Charles V. the Crown Photo: Bindi Cole

Even before my time on staff at PuSh, I looked forward to each year’s PuSh Assembly offerings as a way to connect with peers and meet new colleagues—not just for the chance of rubbing elbows with visiting international presenters and artists, but to exchange with ideas and be inspired, to influence and to inform my own practice.

The artists we present are at the centre of what we do. While performance is the ‘main event’ and Assembly is ‘ancillary’, these activities are critical because they offer an opportunity to engage with what’s behind the work and what drives it. The performance is just the tip of the iceberg, and below the surface is the practice—research and development, ideas and concepts, politics and place. In the context of PuSh, we’re deeply committed to connecting local and visiting practitioners, crossing boundaries of discipline and genre. 

However you describe yourself—whether emerging, mid-career or established; dance, theatre, music, inter/multi/pluri-discipline; artist, manager, presenter, producer or curator; first-time single-ticket buying audience member or on-going PuSh passholder—the Assembly is designed to enhance your PuSh experience. Take a workshop. Go behind the scenes at a post-show conversation. Get up close and personal at a breakfast talk. Step inside the academy. Find out about new projects at a pitch session. Hear from foremost leaders in contemporary performance presentation today.

2015 PuSh Pitch photo of Emily Johnson
2015 PuSh Pitch photo of Emily Johnson (2015 PuSh Festival Artist-in-Residence) Photo: Sarah Race

It’s a lot to navigate, so this year’s Assembly is conceived in two streams, Ideas and Industry, which loosely organize events between free events and those which require pass access. The Ideas Series is open access, targeted to as broad an audience as possible. The Industry Series focuses on practitioners, those developing or deep into their careers in the field of contemporary performance and wishing to connect with colleagues.

Now on the inside of PuSh, my perspective on the Assembly has necessarily shifted. I have my own memorable moments from previous years, people I first met and continue to stay in touch with. I still recall being a newbie, getting out of my comfort zone to get my head around the notion of ‘networking’. I want to hear from you—tell me about your experience, what works or doesn’t, your burning questions.

2015 Misuse/Displace Workshop with Kate McIntosh
2015 Misuse/Displace Workshop with Kate McIntosh Photo: Sarah Race

Joyce’s Week 1 PuSh Assembly Highlights:

Ideas Series

For the 2016 edition of the PuSh Assembly, I am keenly looking forward to this year’s Critical Ideas Series, in partnership with SFU’s Institute for Performance Studies and headed by Peter Dickinson, faculty member in both the English Department and the School for Contemporary Arts at SFU (in addition to PuSh’s former Board President!). Voice in Performance is the first discussion in the series, and Peter has put together a stellar group of panel of academics whose practice-based research ranges from sensory ethnography, theatre studies, Indigenous studies and ethnomusicology. 


Industry Series

I’m also looking forward to Indigenous Performance Reaches Critical Mass, an event concurrent to PuSh’s presentation of Jack Charles V. the Crown (Ilbijerri Theatre, Australia) and featuring director Rachael Maza as a special guest. Hosted by PuSh and organized in partnership with the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (IPAA) and Full Circle, this is a conversation that will be led by and centred on Indigenous performing artists, following from recent activities such at Debajehmujig Storytellers and the National Arts Centre English Theatre (The Cycle: Indigenous Theatre), Full Circle’s Talking Stick Festival (Industry Series) as well as the Prismatic Arts Festival in Halifax. I recently interviewed Cole Avis, Executive Director of IPAA and facilitator of the event; I’m proud and excited to further this discussion at the PuSh Assembly.



Headshot of Joyce Rosario

Joyce Rosario
Associate Curator


The PuSh Assembly—hosted by Associate Curator Joyce Rosario—is an open invitation to arts aficionados of all levels and performing arts industry insiders alike to connect and share ideas and perspectives around the performing arts. The 2016 PuSh Assembly programming is designed in two series: Ideas & Industry. Ideas events are free and public, while the Industry series are accessible with an Industry Pass over the course of February 2–7.