PuSh Blog

Meet the 2017 PuSh Youth Academy

November 30, 2016


The PuSh Youth Academy is a group of young people from the Lower Mainland who hope to pursue a life and career immersed in and around the performing arts. The Academy—now in its fourth year—provides a platform to experience, examine and engage in the professional contemporary performing arts community through workshops, discussions and shows, leading up to the PuSh Festival in January. Essentially a “book club” for the contemporary performing arts, the Academy meets on a bi-weekly basis.

The group is led by 2014 Youth Academy alumni Milton Lim, Remy Siu and Natalie Tin Yin Gan, who together form the performance collective Hong Kong Exile.

The 2017 Academy is bigger than any previous edition, with 17 enthusiastic members who are about to embark on a journey through the PuSh Festival together. Meet them here:

Abbey Macey
I am a 17-year-old high school student with a passion/obsession for musicals, the theatre atmosphere and literally (and NOT figuratively) every single aspect of stage work. If I could program a show, it be would revolve around PTSD, but not from the usual perspective of a soldier or a someone living through a war. It would be from the perspective of an adult/teen who suffered a traumatic event as a child; like the death of a parent, a sibling’s serious diagnosis, or the betrayal of a loved one.

Brody Wilkinson-Martin
I am an emerging theatre artist interested in devised theatre —I’ve recently moved across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to experience what the arts landscape looks like on the West Coast. If I were to program a show at the PuSh Festival it would be one that stimulates discussion (directly or indirectly) on the topic of “Canadian” theatre or performance art: what it is, what it looks like, why it is important nationally and internationally.

Carolyn Moon
I am usually the lady in the dark, as a stage manager and technician, but I also design, direct, and perform. If I were to program a show at PuSh, I would want to explore a site-specific project with a very small audience and lots of energy exchange between audience and performers.

CJ McGillivray
I am an interdisciplinary performing artist, playwright, composer and sound designer with a passion for honest storytelling and dark humour. I would program a show that incorporates original songwriting, live music and visual projections to share diverse perspectives and highlight lived experiences of people struggling with mental health.

Clara Chow
An emerging choreographer, performer, aspiring production technician, and general enthusiast for the creative, I am a recent graduate of the SFU dance program and currently living in Vancouver while researching my next endeavours. I would be interested in programming productions where there is an integration of live music, a piece that is well balanced between multiple disciplines, a piece that is immersive and expands beyond the traditional box, and/or is capable of composing complexity and details within simplicity.

Jenna Mazur
I dropped out of art school to pursue contemporary dance. If I programmed a show for PuSh it would involve hilarity, humility, badass music and badass dancing.

Jessica Del Fierro
I am a theatre bean tumbling in the sea of creativity and confusion. I’d like to see a devised theatre piece of Humpty Dumpty brought into a contemporary setting.

Jessica Leung
I am a DeafPOC-Asian Taiwanese Chinese, gender neutral who is currently living on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples. If I were to program a show in the PuSh Festival: I would like to have and see a #DeafTalent artist and under-presented minority artist. For example: Indigenous-PoCs intersectionality spectrums, ASL (American Sign Language) or more visual body language performance in shows.

Johnny Wu
I’m a tofu, diverse, versatile and cross-cultural. If I were to program a show at PuSh, it would be cross-cultural, incorporating both Eastern and Western artistry.

Kanon Hewitt
I am a Japanese/American queer from Tokyo studying theatre in Vancouver, and you can generally tell how close it is to opening night by the darkness of my undereye circles. If I were to program a show at PuSh, it would be a mixed-media mixed-genre piece exploring how a scattered diaspora maintains ties to performative culture in the midst of societal pressure to assimilate.

Krys Yuan
I am a young Singaporean theatre maker and aspiring anthropologist, although I mostly dream of being a cat. If I were to program a show in the festival, I would probably present something fantastical, but it would make you cry from its bittersweet sadness and breathtaking awe.

Maraya Franca
I’m currently in my senior year in high school, and I believe that we can use theatre to break barriers and change the world. If I could program a show at PuSh, I would love to put a modern twist on classic literature or history, that both teaches about the past and is still relevant in the present.

Matthew Winter
I can oscillate between wiggling my ears, while thinking about the future. If I were to program a show at PuSh, it would be a politically-charged piece that investigates patriarchal structures.

Melissa Morton
I’m 18 and a passionate theatre nerd! If I were to create a show for PuSh it would probably a satire of some sort.

Natalie Davidson
Originally from Calgary, I am a queer-identified theatre artist, facilitator, and emerging administrator with a passion for interdisciplinary performance, inclusivity, and community arts engagement. If I were to program a show at PuSh, it would be a magical and modern folk-tale: two girls from vastly different worlds falling in the love for the first time, as told through dance, theatre, live music and poetry.

Rosalind Ng
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there lived a vibrant musician named Rosalind Ng. Hi I’m Roz, and I would love to create a program that interrogated the surrounding music in our everyday lives as we rush to points A and B, seeing through what is actually there; basically recognizing abstract art that we miss in our daily everyday lives.

Vanessa Grondin
As a visual and performance artist and writer with a multidisciplinary practice, I often engage in concepts of spatiality, mobility, and self-reflexive processes through site-responsive installations, textual interventions, alternate forms of mapping, embodiment, movement, artist books, and active tracings of residue. Combining a precarious approach with critical reflection, a performance I would pursue would be an interdisciplinary response that addresses alternate ways we can engage with a specific site through live writing as an embodied act of movement, and how social, political, and personal limitations may be released out of the body through these actions. vgrondin.com.