PuSh at 10: Thoughts from Jane Heyman
January 01, 2014
Leading up to our 10th Anniversary Festival, PuSh has asked those near and dear to provide a little insight into their PuSh experience and what the Festival has meant to them. It’s moment to reflect on where we came from and how far we’ve come in 10 years.
Here is Jane Heyman, PuSh Festival founding board member and former vice president (2005-2012), with her thoughts.
1. In 10 words or less, where you are right now (open to interpretation)?
In a cottage on Kauai – paradise!
2. Share a memory from when you were 10 years old:
Standing precariously on the edge of the bathtub in order to be able to see myself fully in the bathroom mirror on my 10th birthday (many, many years ago) and seriously telling myself that I was “a decade old.” I can still remember how momentous that felt.
3. How were you first PuShed by the Festival? What do you remember about that moment that stood out for you?
Attending the 2005 PuSh-commissioned, James Fagan Tait-directed musical version of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, co-produced by NeWorld Theatre, Vancouver Moving Theatre and the PuSh Festival. This production still epitomizes crossing the line for me in so many ways: who else would dare to think about, let alone turn Crime and Punishment into a piece of musical theatre? How wonderful that an international festival was not only bringing work from abroad to Vancouver audiences, but also supporting and encouraging local artists to create work that pushed their boundaries; how exciting that the cast featured mature artists, students still attending theatre school, and people from the Downtown Eastside – and they all worked perfectly together; how thrilling that Vancouver audiences responded so overwhelmingly (selling out, as I recall), showing that when artists take risks, audiences respond wholeheartedly.
4. What is your favourite PuSh memory?
Mine is very personal: the powerful fulfilling experience of serving on the board for six years and helping to create an effective governance foundation to support and nurture the Festival and the art for many years to come. I made several new friends with whom I continue to meet (often to attend PuSh events). It doesn’t matter whether the work enrages or enlightens me (to paraphrase of one of our former board members), it always makes me think and feel. If I have to have one memory, I guess it would be a board and staff meeting that took place the morning after Norman’s heart attack in 2012, when we were all still stunned by the news, relieved that he was okay, and determined to jump in and do anything and everything possible to help the festival move forward smoothly so that our audiences, performers and Norman would have nothing to worry about. The love was palpable.
5. Why do you “cross the line” with PuSh?
PuSh lights up January for me. I love the mix of international, national and local work and the opportunity to experience different art forms separately and through interdisciplinary work. I love the buzz and excitement of the audiences and the challenging discussions that follow so many of the performances. I love the delicious surprise of being part of the most eclectic audiences I’ve seen, and figuring out how I can possibly attend everything!
6. Any additional notes, or 10th anniversary/birthday wishes?
When I was growing up, my grandmother and parents always sang a song called “Sto lat” at our birthdays – it means something like: 100 years – may you live to be a hundred. That’s my wish for the PuSh Festival: “Sto lat!” May this festival continue to deepen, transform and grow for a long, long time. I would love to still be attending it when I turn 100.