PuSh Blog

The 13th annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival wraps up a year unlike any other

February 09, 2017

Vancouver, BC – The 13th annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival took place from January 16 to February 5, 2017, in venues across Vancouver. The 2017 PuSh Festival continued to offer Vancouver audiences the best live performing arts from around the world—with works by artists and companies from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and the U.S. More than 22,500 Vancouverites and visitors attended this year’s PuSh Festival, taking in more than 200 performances and events over 21 days.

At the end of the three weeks of shows and celebrations, PuSh Festival Artistic and Executive Director Norman Amour says, “We’re 13 years deep into this experiment. It’s a formula we know well by now: introduce Vancouver audiences to local and international artists creating works of excellence and innovation in the performing arts. But to say that the 2017 PuSh Festival was the same as any other couldn’t be further from the truth. This year’s Festival was nothing short of a triumph. We were reminded that art matters—for very real reasons, in the very real world. Art isn’t created or consumed in a vacuum, it doesn’t exist without purpose, cause, or urgency. In a world of turmoil, the performing arts serve to illuminate, to incite, to resist, to remember and honour, and to soothe. It’s clear from the overwhelming audience turnouts and enthusiastic responses that many of us are looking to artists as our true leaders, now more than ever, to show us the way forward. Through their insistent questioning, their indelible vision, and their inspiring creations—from Macbeth to By Heart, from Backstage in Biscuit Land to dirtsong—we strengthen our collective resolve to move into the future with open eyes and open hearts, and above all, we celebrate the human spirit and our shared humanity.”

In a year of many successes, there are several standouts to celebrate. The knockout, sold-out run of Third World Bunfight’s radical rethinking of Verdi’s opera, Macbeth, was the perfect launch of three weeks of festivities and of our first presentation partnership with Vancouver Opera. The renewed partnership with caravan: new English performance brought a series of English works (Mess, Every Brilliant Thing, Backstage in Biscuit Land and Wallflower) that delighted audiences with characteristic wit and charm. Concord Floral was a project large in scope and ambition that was built on a three-way partnership between the PuSh Festival, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby and Surrey Civic Theatres, to present the work in the three municipalities. It cast youth from across the Lower Mainland in a powerful show that gives voice to a new generation. And more than 2,200 Vancouverites embraced Australia’s Black Arm Band with open arms for dirtsong at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. This occasion brought together many communities to honour the culture of the Aboriginal peoples in Australia, and turned our eye to the reconciliation movement in our own country, on the 150th anniversary of the displacement of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

2017 PuSh Festival Overview

• 200 performances and events at 18 venues across Vancouver over 21 days
• More than 22,500 patrons attended over three weeks, including over 500 PuSh Passholders who came out to the Festival 2,500 times
• 97 sold-out performances and events
• 252 artists representing 11 countries performed in 21 Main Stage shows, 6 Club PuSh shows and many other ancillary events
• $30,879 contributed by PuSh Patrons Circle donors over the course of the Festival
• 155 volunteers contributed more than 2,000 hours of their energy, skill and expertise
• 78 youth, aged 16 to 24, participated in the Youth Program, which included professional work experience, networking and learning opportunities in the performing arts industry
• 98 arts industry professionals representing 10 countries participated in business exchange, networking and professional development at the PuSh Assembly
• 300 tickets were given away or discounted through Accessible PuSh for community organizations serving Indigenous communities, and underserved populations

About the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is Vancouver’s signature mid-winter cultural event, taking place over three weeks each January in theatres and venues across the city. The PuSh Festival presents groundbreaking, contemporary works of theatre, dance, music and multimedia by acclaimed local, national and international artists. The next edition of the PuSh Festival will take place January 15 to February 4, 2018. Full programming will be announced in November 2017.


For further media information, contact Hanah Van Borek
T. 604.558.2400 ext. 506
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