Music impresario Sam Feldman, National Arts Centre director Peter Herrndorf, CTV news director Margo Harper, writer-musician John MacLachlan Gray, broadcaster Vicki Gabereau and former SFU president Michael Stevenson are among almost two dozen luminaries from the worlds of the arts, education and business who are part of the founding Leaders Council of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.
Launched this month to coincide with the announcement of programming details for the seventh edition of the Festival taking place January 18–February 6, 2011, the Leaders Council is made up of individuals who have agreed to lend their names and influence to help spread the word about the festival.
PuSh, the West Coast’s only multidisciplinary performing arts festival, is “at a crucial stage in its development,” said board president Max Wyman at the Leaders Council launch event. He compared it to “the leading European festivals” in “pushing the boundaries of performance and pushing audiences in the direction of new performance experiences.”
PuSh has a $1.7 million budget and this year presents a total of 100 performances of 18 shows with audiences expected to reach around 25,000. Executive director Norman Armour said offerings this season span theatre, dance, music, “new circus,” new media and “the blended arts,” featuring leading-edge production companies from around the world as well as works from some of Vancouver’s most exciting creators. Many of the presentations honour Vancouver’s 125th anniversary by offering a diverse set of reflections on what Armour calls “cityness.”
Back this year are Club PuSh, a nightly salon-style venue with an exciting roster of marquee acts and late-night live music, and the PuSh Assembly, a networking event for the performing arts industry. Said Wyman: “By any standards, the recent growth of PuSh has been remarkable. In a bad-news arts economy, PuSh has bucked the trend, with healthy audiences, a balanced budget, organizational stability and a financial reserve … You get the sense that the world is PuSh’s oyster right now.” But “frankly,” said Wyman, “not enough people are aware of the little gem they have in their midst.” The members of the new Leaders Council will act as “informal ambassadors who are willing to lend the lustre of their names and their influence to help light the way to the future.”
Other members of the Leaders Council, who will also be a source of advice on contacts and trends, include Renewal2 Investment Fund chair Joel Solomon, 2010 Olympics arts producer Wende Cartwright, playwright Marie Clements, writer Michael Turner, Canadian Tourism Commission executive director Gloria Loree, Bhangra Project director Mo Dhaliwal and city librarian Paul Whitney, as well as the directors of PuSh’s two Canadian festival peers, Marie-Helene Falcon of Montreal’s Festival TransAmeriques and Chris Lorway, vice-president of programming at Toronto’s Luminato Festival.
About the PuSh Festival
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is Vancouver’s mid-winter festival presenting acclaimed local, national and international artists. The 7th annual PuSh Festival takes place January 18 – February 6, 2011 at venues in and around Vancouver and offers work from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Poland and Germany. For more information, pick up a Festival program guide at any of the 10 JJ Bean locations (jjbeancoffee.com) or visit pushfestival.ca.
LEADERS COUNCIL MEMBERS
Glenn Alteen Curator and writer; program director, Grunt Gallery
Roberta Beiser Chair, Edith Lando Charitable Foundation
Wende Cartwright Arts producer, Director of Performing Arts for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics
Marie Clements Performer, playwright, screenwriter, director, producer
Barbara Cole Artist, educator, curatorial consultant in public art
Mo Dhaliwal Marketing executive, director of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce
Marie-Helene Falcon Founder/Artistic Director, Festival de Théâtre des Amériques, Montreal
Sam Feldman Music impresario
Vicki Gabereau Radio and television personality
John Maclachlan Gray OC Playwright, novelist, musician
Margo Harper News Director, CTV British Columbia
Peter Herrndorf OC, O. Ont, President and CEO, National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Kristina Lee Podesva Artist, writer and curator; editor Fillip Magazine
Chris Lorway Vice-President of Programming, Luminato Festival, Toronto
Paul Meehan Strategic Planner, me&lewis Ideas Inc.
Scott Michaels Vice-President, Atimi Software
Joel Solomon President and CEO of Renewal; Chairman for Renewal2 Investment Fund
Michael Stevenson Immediate Past President, Simon Fraser University
Michael Turner Musician and writer
Gloria Loree Executive Director, Canadian Tourism Commission, Vancouver
Paul Whitney City Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
Fei Wong Director, Canadiana Fund; Past Chair, Goh Ballet Society