PuSh Blog

Visa delays lead to cancellation of new project at PuSh

January 17, 2023

It is with great disappointment that PuSh International Performing Arts Festival announces the cancellation of because i love the diversity (this micro attitude, we all have it) due to unreasonable delays regarding the approval of artist visa applications.

This project by Belgian-based Indian dancer/choreographer Rakesh Sukesh was to be a collaboration with Vancouver playwright, Marcus Youssef. Rakesh was due to arrive on January 8 and have a two-week residency period where he would collaborate with Marcus. Sadly, despite government officials advocating for the Festival and Rakesh, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) has yet to approve his visitor visa, which he applied for in August, 2022.

We are saddened by these circumstances, especially for Rakesh who would have offered a beautiful new work to Vancouver audiences. Despite PuSh’s interests in programming works from the Global South, Canada’s immigration policy is blocking opportunities for international exchange and collaboration. The Festival has had similar issues this year with other artist visas, which came in at the eleventh hour (including artists from Africa and South America). This isn’t an anomaly and speaks to the power and privilege that Global North countries hold and enact.

Despite these setbacks, we’re confident that we will be able to continue engaging with Rakesh and bring his work to Vancouver for a future festival.

Keltie Forsyth, Director of Operations and Tom Arthur Davis, Interim Director of Programming

‘It’s really heartbreaking’: Indian artist’s delayed visa forces show cancellation at Vancouver festival

CBC Vancouver | Read Article

Information for Patrons

Although we won’t be able to welcome you the because i love the diversity, we’d be happy to exchange your tickets to another performance or refund them to a gift card that you can use toward any PuSh Festival ticket purchase. We are also happy to convert your ticket purchase to a donation, for which you will receive a tax receipt.

Please contact tickets@pushfestival.ca or call 604.449.6000 at your earliest convenience to let us know your preference.

The options are:

  • Exchange your tickets to another in-person or online performance (see pushfestival.ca for the full schedule)
  • Receive a gift card that can be used to purchase tickets to any other performance
  • Convert your purchase to a donation and receive a tax receipt

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope you will join us for our other exciting programming at the 2023 PuSh Festival.