PuSh in the Community

Push is extending the invitation for global connection and inter-cultural sharing beyond performances to stimulating dialogue through local-national-international encounters unique to the vital festival environment. Join one of our community events to go deeper with the Festival program.

Dramaturgy Clinics

Are you an artist with a project in development? In partnership with Playwrights Theatre Centre, PuSh is launching The Dramaturgy Clinics – a new initiative to invigorate your process, at any stage of your career.  to invigorate your process: The Dramaturgy Clinics. Register now for a FREE 1.5 hour consultation with a visiting national or international dramaturg to re-examine, gain momentum, and share tools in a context free of any production imperatives.

Taking place Jan 29-31, the Dramaturgy Clinics are a chance to nourish your individual practice while contributing to collective dramaturgical knowledge systems. 

Register before January 10.



Talks and gatherings about the urgent questions raised by Festival artists and performances.

Hear how local artists frame the role of the dramaturg at this forum featuring dramaturgs and their artistic collaborators speaking on process. Representing a variety of artistic disciplines and perspectives, they will offer an insider look at the craft of dramaturgy. 

January 28 10:30AM at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts | FREE

Artist Profiles

Anais West

​Anais (they/he) is a queer and trans writer, actor and producer, as well as a Polish settler on occupied xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) lands.

Anais’ work is transdisciplinary, merging theatre, film, poetry, and music to explore the multiplicity of gender, sexuality and culture. His playwrighting includes Kill Your Lovers (Buddies In Bad Times Theatre’s Rhubarb Festival, Toronto, and the Fresh Fruit Festival, NYC); Poly Queer Love Ballad (Queer Arts Festival, the frank theatre and Zee Zee Theatre, Vancouver, and Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto); and The Café (Aphotic Theatre, ITSAZOO theatre and the PuSh Festival, Vancouver). His work has been nominated for two Jessie Richardson Awards, including Outstanding Original Script, and he was the 2023 winner of the Wildfire National Playwriting Competition.

As an actor, they’ve performed with the National Arts Centre, Orange Noyée, Savage Society, Firehall Arts Centre, Théâtre La Seizième, and more. Most recently, his writing was published in This is Beyond: A Time Capsule of Queer Experience with Playwrights Canada Press. Anais is the Artistic Producer at the frank theatre company.

Photo of David Geary

David Geary

David Geary is of Taranaki Māori, English, Irish and Scottish blood. He grew up immersed in the Polynesian trickster tales of Māui and now lives on the lands of the Coyote and Raven Tricksters of Turtle Island/Canada. He is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg, director, screenwriter, fiction writer and poet. David works at Capilano University, where he teaches in the Indigenous Digital Filmmaking, Documentary and Playwriting programs. He also teaches playwrighting and dramaturgy for PTC Playwrights Theatre Centre. He’s a member of LMDA Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and does script consultation for theatre, TV and Film. He lives by the yogic mantra: Life is short, stretch it, writes haiku on twitter @gearsgeary, and takes comedy very seriously.

Portrait photo of David Mesiha

David Mesiha

David Mesiha is a Toronto and Vancouver based, award-winning music composer, interactive designer, sound/video designer and co-artistic director of Theatre Conspiracy in Vancouver. David’s practice centres around examining questions of form in interactive and performance arts. He is intrigued by the relationships between form and medium. His work utilizes multi channel immersive audio, interactive design and Digital Performance.

He has worked on shows such as Project (X) by Leaky Heaven, Terminus by Pi Theatre, Foreign Radical by Theatre Conspiracy, and You Should Have Stayed Home by Spiderweb Show. He has been nominated and won Jessie Richardson Awards in multiple categories and has received a Dora award nomination for his sound design work on Oraltorio by IFT theatre.

David’s music has spans multiple mediums and formats such as video games, film, theatre and interactive media. 

Chosen credits: Theatre: Sound designer for The Humans (Arts Club Theatre), Antigone (YPT), Sound of the Beast (Theatre Passe Muraille), You Should Have Stayed Home (VR Performance, SpiderWebShow), asses.masses (video game performance), 15 Dogs (Crow’s Theatre) and Szepty (Rumble/Pi Theatre).

Portrait photo of Esau Rabadi

Esar Rabadi

Esar Rabadi is a BFA Creative Writing student at the University of British Columbia where she specializes in writing for the stage, writing for the screen, and graphic forms. A majority of her work focuses on themes of capitalism and its impact on a local and global scale, self-identity, and the many dynamics at play in interpersonal relationships. It is her hope to initiate conversations surrounding these scopes and to inspire others to act with the means of resolving these issues that intersect within audiences’ and readers’ lives. Literary work Esar has completed includes her participation in the 2023 Brave New Playwrights Festival where she wrote a one-act comedy play titled “The Debate” and a zine titled “to be human”. Esar plans to produce another play for the Brave New Playwrights festival in March 2024, as well as transform her zine into a stand-alone graphic novel. In her free time Esar loves to bake banana bread, karaoke to Lana Del Rey, and play with Gremlin, her friend’s Bengal cat.

Gavan Cheema

Theatre Conspiracy

Gavan Cheema is a director, writer, producer, dramaturg and co-Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy. She is based out of Vancouver: the traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She is a first generation Canadian, with roots coming from the five rivers of Punjab. She is a recent recipient of the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Emerging Artist at the Jessie Richardson Awards.

Gavan’s play Himmat premiered in Vancouver at The Cultch in May 2022 and will be presented at the Surrey Civic Theatres in Spring 2024. She holds a double major from the University of British Columbia in Theatre and History, as well as a high school teaching certification. She has created work and directed for various local, national and international stages and has extensive experience in youth engagement, theatre education and workshop facilitation.

Select directing credits: Conspiracy Now (Theatre Conspiracy), Rishi & d Douen (Carousel Theatre), Danceboy (Tremors Festival/ Vancouver Art Gallery Fuse), Burqa Boutique (Revolver Festival), Marie’s Letters (Shift Festival).


Portrait photo of Joanna Garfinkel

Joanna Garfinkel

Joanna Garfinkel (she/any) Dramaturg, Creative Engagement at Playwrights Theatre Centre and co-founder, with Yoshie Bancroft, of Universal Limited. Current dramaturgy: National Queer & Trans playwriting unit; UL’s To the Sea; Kamila Sediego’s Engkanto, José Teodoro’s Binary Star, Christina Cook’s PTMYTS, Tara Cheyenne’s Pants, and Anais West’s Tomboy. Co-creator, with Yoshie Bancroft, of JAPANESE PROBLEM, a piece about the Japanese Canadian Incarceration, performed site-specifically in Vancouver, at Soulpepper in Toronto, and more. Joanna is struck by the systemic inequities that repeat in Canada, and commits to trouble those patterns through performance. Other credits: Berlin: The Last Cabaret (PuSh), PQLB, (Passe Murailles) Nominated for three

Jessie awards; Pure Research grant (Nightswimming), Sydney Risk award for directing. Joanna moved to Unceded Coast-Salish territory to get an MFA in directing at UBC, and focus since has been primarily in new play development, multidisciplinary, and site-specific work. She has trained with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in New York.

Portrait photo of Josh Martin

Josh Martin

Originally from Alberta, Canada, Josh Martin is dance maker/performer who now lives and works in Vancouver, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. Inspired by the overlap of urban and contemporary forms, he received his diverse training across North America and Europe, studying in many genres.

In his ongoing career as an interpreter and collaborator, he has worked with many dance companies and independent choreographers such as: Justine A. Chambers, Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction), Wen Wei Wang (Wen Wei Dance), Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond (Out Innerspace Dance Theatre), Helen Walkley, Martha Carter (MMhop), Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Amber Funk Barton (the response.), Rachel Meyer, Serge Bennathan (Les Productions Figlio), Vanessa Goodman (Action at a Distance), Karen Jamieson, and as a past company member of Ottawa’s Le Groupe Dance Lab under the direction of Peter Boneham.

June Fukumura

June Fukumura is a Japanese-Canadian inter-disciplinary theatre artist with a BFA in Theatre Performance and a Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University. June is also the Co-Artistic Director of Popcorn Galaxies an experimental theatre company interested in re-enchanting the everyday through unconventional site-responsive and site-specific works. She was the Associate Dramaturg at the Banff Playwrights Lab from 2019-2021. From 2019 – 2021 June worked as the Emerging Dramaturg/Producer/Curator for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s MSG Lab program. She was the Resident Dramaturg of vAct in 2022-23. Her freelance artistic practice includes: experimental theatre creation, acting for theatre/film, performance, clown/bouffon, dramaturgy, directing, and producing.

Marcus Youssef

Marcus’ fifteen or so plays have been produced in multiple languages in more than twenty countries across North America, Europe and Asia. His work is often collaborative, usually highly personal, and almost always investigates questions of difference, belonging and dissent.

Marcus is a recipient of Canada’s largest theatre award, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, for his body of work as a playwright and mentor, as well as the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, Berlin, Germany’s Ikarus Prize, the Rio-Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, the Chalmer’s Canadian Play Award, and the Vancouver Critic’s Innovation award (three times).

Marcus is also well-known in Canada as an advocate for central role culture can play in making our worlds more humane, just and joyful. He co-founded the artist-run production centre Progress Lab 1422, where he led Vancouver’s Neworld Theatre for fifteen years. Marcus was also the inaugural chair of the city of Vancouver’s Arts and Culture Policy Council and implemented Canada’s first mutli-institutional Bachelor’s of Performing Arts program, at Capilano University.

Photo of Paige Louter

Paige Louter

Paige Louter is a theatre creator and producer living and working on the traditional territories of the the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations (Vancouver). She holds an MA in Theatre from the University of Galway, works as ITSAZOO Productions’ Co-Artistic Producer, and is pursuing certification as an Intimacy Director.

Credits include co-producing and acting in The Wolves (With a Spoon /Rumble; Jessie Nomination: Outstanding Production) and performing in The Lonesome West (Cave Canem), Twelfth Night (Tottering Biped) and Coarse: The Brontes (Sarah Deller/Edinburgh Fringe). She loves creating strange pockets of time and space in which to share stories.

PTC Re-Imagine Theatre Logo
A wide shot of three performers looking directly into the camera in various poses. The performer in the centre is a woman looking directly into the camera. She is in a wide stance, holding up one finger on each hand. The performer on the left is twisting her body towards the center. The performer on the right is a man lunging forward with both his arms raised behind his back.

Ramanenjana co-choreographer Simona Deaconescu offers a lecture about the phenomenon of Ramenenjana, contextualizing its appearance in 1863 and 1869. Ramanenjana is seen as a medium that uses dance and music as means of resistance against colonization and Christianization.

January 21, 4PM at Scotiabank Dance Centre | FREE

The Dance Centre
Inner Fish Performance Co logo

A man with graying hair sits on the backrest of the sofa clutching it tightly. Beside him, is a Black woman who appears to be sleeping, her feet hanging off the edge of the seat.

En parallèle des représentations du spectacle “L’amour telle une cathédrale ensevelie”, nous vous proposons d’assister à une conversation entre Dr. Joel Akinwumi (SFU) et Guy Régis Jr sur le thème “La littérature et l’exil”. Cette activité est ouverte à tous·tes et est gratuite, sur inscription. Veuillez noter qu’il n’est pas nécessaire d’avoir vu le spectacle pour y assister. La conversation sera menée en français.

 Le dimanche 4 février 2024 à 11 heures

Theatre La Seizeme logo
SFU Woodwards Cultural Programs logo

Bring yourselves and your words to Vancouver Poetry Slam, the longest-running poetry slam in Canada. As part of PuSh’s partnership with Vancouver Poetry House, Sound of the Beast creator/performer Donna-Michelle St. Bernard will appear as the Feature Poet.

January 22, 7:30PM at Community Taps and Pizza | $10-$15 sliding scale

A person half-kneeling with crossed arms while holding a mic. The person is looking up at the light, There is a woman projected behind them.
Vancouver Poetry House logo

Hosted on Zoom by VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society, the Almost Live PuSh Preview highlights the Festival’s low-vision programming. Come for a relaxed, online evening of excerpts from the shows, and insight into the artists who made them.

January 17, 6:30PM Online Only | FREE

VocalEye logo

Following the Feb 3 performance of Pli, creator/performer Inbal Ben Haim will share an artist talk en Français, hosted by PuSh Programming Director Gabrielle Martin. This talk is presented in partnership with Alliance Francaise Vancouver who provide French language programs and promote local and international francophone cultures.

A performer gracefully gestures to the ground beside a pole of twisted branches.They are wearing a light fabric with paper like texture covering their torso, one arm and leg. The garment drapes on their body as if it is floating.
Alliance Francaise Vancouver logo


Opportunities for embodied engagement with the knowledge and creative practices that shape and are shaped by festival artists.

Join Nomada creator and performer Diana Lopez Soto at a Vayu Aerial Yoga workshop. Vayu is an active restorative practice that allows us to connect and open their body in a gentle and organic way. Vayu incorporates balance, suspension and lengthening through movement: accessing fascia articulation and in opposition to awaken a strong, flexible, and mobile body.

January 27, 1:30pm at Underground Circus | $120 For more information or to register email ninon@undergroundcircus.ca or text/call 604-328-1891.

A photo of a woman balancing on two pots. A scarf is draped over her head. She is holding another pot up with stretched arms.

A wideshot of a person facing a projection on a stage. The projection is a glowing blue square pattern. There are light blue shards floating out from the square. The person is standing in the front row, with their arms slightly lifted on their sides.

Join Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim at this VPL-hosted game-a-thon to complement asses.masses, which deals with issues of labour, technophobia, and political turmoil. Attendees will spend a Sunday afternoon with the artists, learning the basics of game design, and working in groups to create concepts for provocative games with political potential. No technical requirements nor previous knowledge required: generate ideas together and play out early prototypes with analogue tools like pen, paper, and your collective creativity.

January 21, 12PM at VPL Central Library | FREE with registration required


A four-image composite. The first image top left is a few people dancing experimentally in the background and a young person rolling on their back in the foreground.
The second picture top right is a portrait photo of a black man with a beard.
The third picture bottom left is a portrait photo of a young black woman. 
The fourth photo bottom right shows two young men sitting on the floor in part of a dance posture.
A logo at the top of the composite reads The Training Society of Vancouver. The PuSh logo appears at the bottom of the composite.

In partnership with Training Society of Vancouver, PuSh has invited five visiting Festival artists to share their technique in Working Class. This series of classes for professional and pre-professional dancers is an opportunity to expand your practice with diverse contemporary approaches.  

All sessions 10AM at Scotiabank Dance Centre | $15, registration required.

Simona Deaconescu – January 22 | Info & Registration

Rakesh Sukesh – January 24 and January 26 | Info & Registration

Jean Abreu & Naishi Wang – January 29 | Info & Registration

Cherish Menzo – January 31 and February 2 | Info & Registration

A performer lies on a pile of twisted branches holding up a wooden pole struck through three floating layers of paper.

Join Pli creator and performer Inbal Ben Haim at this workshop for aerial circus and dance performers. More information & registration info on Instagram.

February 4, 10AM at Underground Circus | $100

To find out more about these opportunities, contact Julian at community@pushfestival.ca.