PuSh Blog

PuSh Profiles – Board Members

November 19, 2012

PuSh Profiles is a new series where you can get to know the names and faces of the people that make this festival so great

* Who are you/ what do you do?

My name is Peter Dickinson and professionally I am Professor of English at Simon Fraser University.

* How long have you been involved with the PuSh Festival?

I have been a Board member since 2009, serving as Fundraising Chair until July of this year. I’m currently President of the Board.

* How or why did you get involved with PuSh? 

I’m a live performance junkie, and PuSh is that rare festival that lets me experience the best local, national and international performance across a range of media in an intense 3-week period that banishes all my mid-winter blues. I remember attending Marie Brassard’s Jimmy back in 2003, when PuSh was still a smaller series of shows. I was blown away, and have been attending and applauding and supporting the Festival’s growth ever since. When I was asked to join the Board I leapt at the chance. The live performing arts are part of the lifeblood of any great city, and Norman Armour and all the staff at PuSh do an immense service in contributing to the cultural sustainability of our community.

* What is your favorite memory of PuSh?

There are many, but as a faculty member at SFU and a Push Board member, I would have to say my fondest memory so far is the premiere of Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU Woodward’s during the 2010 Festival. It was the perfect show to inaugurate such a glorious new performance space, and the bold social and cultural experiment in the DTES of which that space is an important part. And it was the beginning of a relationship between PuSh and SFU Woodward’s that has only gone from strength to strength.

* Which PuSh shows/ experiences have stayed with you?

There are so many: marveling at Theatre Replacement’s invention of a whole new form of intimate documentary theatre in Bioboxes (2007); getting my haircut by children in 2008; experiencing the force of nature that is Taylor Mac not once but twice (2009 and 2012); being awed by two very different representations of theatrical scale during the 2010 Festival’s presentations of White Cabin and KAMP; being stunned by the intense raw emotions of In the Solitude of Cotton Fields (2011); cheering at the unqualified success of two 2012 PuSh commissions, Do You Want What I Have Got? and The Idiot.

* What shows/events are you looking forward to at this year’s festival?

I am a big fan of movement-based performance, so I am especially excited by all the dance we have programmed this year: A Crack in Everything; Cédric Andrieux (I’m leading the talkback on the 19th); the Encore co-presentation with Ballet BC; the return to PuSh of Hiroaki Umeda; and Still Standing You.

* Outside of PuSh what do you do with your time?

When not teaching or attending the theatre, I enjoy traveling, running marathons, and writing the occasional play.

* What does ‘crossing the line’ mean to you?

“Crossing the line” means redrawing the horizon of your expectations. It means forgoing individual limits and joining a larger audience and community. It means taking risks—aesthetically, culturally, socially. And discovering the many rich rewards that inevitably follow.