PuSh Blog

PuShy Questions with Ravi Jain of What You Won’t Do For Love

January 31, 2020

Ravi Jain is the director of What You Won’t Do For Love showing February 4 at The Anvil Centre. Click here for tickets and more show information.

Portrait of Ravi Jain

1) What motivates your work as an artist?

The opportunity to connect and play meaningfully with audiences around the country. Every show I create, I try to ask, specifically and literally, how is this show impossible without you, the audience? I try to make things as live as possible, actively incorporating the calamity that is happening out there in the world, and among us in the room. I believe what’s happening in the audience is often infinitely grander than anything we can contrive onstage.

2) What does being part of PuSh 2020 represent for you?

The PuSh festival is such an important festival in Canada.  I’m proud to say this will be my 5th time presenting work at the festival and it is unique as it is the first project that the festival is developing.  PuSh has always been home to vital conversations in the arts, from a local, national and global perspective. It’s the place where you can check in with all that is exciting in the world of theatre and the arts.

3) Is there anything you want audiences to keep in mind while experiencing your show?

Ours is a work in development so it won’t be the final show.  We’re still working through the idea, and we need an audience to be patient and generous with us as we do that.

4) How might we see PuSh 2020 themes of subversion or vulnerability reflected in the work?

Well both David Suzuki and Tara Cullis are extremely subversive humans.  For over 40 years they have been fighting to keep our planet alive, and inspire humans to be more responsible with the land and water.  They have fought alongside each other and, in this show, they will share stories. We’re all looking for another way to inspire people to make necessary changes.  Neither of them are performers – and we’re in process… so that is vulnerable!

5) What other PuSh show would you most like to see?

I cant wait to see The Fever again.  It’s a beautiful show that I saw at Luminato and I am good friends with the creators of the show.

6) What qualities do you most admire in other artists?

I admire people who pursue questions.  I admire people who aren’t full of themselves.  I don’t like people who don’t try to make people feel welcomed in their work.

7) Any advice for emerging artists?

Get as much experience as you can.  Always ask. Be fearless and don’t let rejection stop you.

8) What do you do when you’re not working or making art?

I don’t know.

What You Won't Do For Love performance image collage

9) What about Vancouver most entices you?

I love Vancouver.  I love the food. I love the people and in January, I love the weather.

10) What is your biggest art-making wish or fantasy (if money were no object)?

I wish that more people had the chance to have access to resources in order to make art.  I wish that more voices were heard more often – the ones that are often excluded.

Click here for What You Won’t Do For Love


Toronto-based stage director Ravi Jain is a multi-award-winning artist known for making politically bold and accessible theatrical experiences in both small indie productions and large theatres. As the founding artistic director of Why Not Theatre, Ravi has established himself as an artistic leader for his inventive productions, international producing/collaborations and innovative producing models. 

As a director Ravi work has been critically acclaimed for its accessibility, politically bold perspective and reimagining of what theatre can be. Select credits include A Brimful of Asha, Fault Lines (Greenland, Iceland and Faroe Islands) which won the Governor General’s Award for Drama, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The 39 Steps, Animal Farm (Soulpepper), Alanna Mitchell’s Sea Sick (co-directed with Franco Boni, Theatre Centre), Lisa Codrington’s The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God and Sarena Parmar’s The Orchard After Chekhov (Shaw Festival), We are Proud to Present…(Theatre Centre), Salt-Water Moon (Factory Theatre), Prince Hamlet (Why Not Theatre), Like Mother Like Daughter (Complicite/Why Not Theatre). 

Currently he is working on a new adaptation of The Mahabharata with Why Not Theatre and the Shaw Festival. Ravi was shortlisted for the 2016 Siminovitch Prize and won the 2012 Pauline McGibbon Award for Emerging Director and the 2016 Canada Council John Hirsch Prize for direction. He is a graduate of the two-year program at École Jacques Lecoq and he was the inaugural artistic-director-in-residence at The Theatre Centre.   

For more information on Why Not Theatre, www.theatrewhynot.org

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