PuSh International Performing Arts Festival wraps up 14th Edition Securing Vancouver’s Place as a Global Arts Hotspot

Festival Looks Toward 15th Anniversary Following Historic Year

The 14th annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival took place January 16 to February 4, 2018 at venues across Vancouver and, for the first time, in New Westminster. The festival closes a successful year furthering its reputation of presenting groundbreaking live performing arts experiences from around the world.

Artists hailing from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the US descended on the city to speak, perform, enlighten and engage in dialogue as part of the 2018 PuSh Festival. More than 17,500 Vancouverites and visitors were in attendance at more than 150 performances and events over the 20 days of the Festival. In addition, 176 delegates from Canada and abroad participated in the annual PuSh Assembly’s Industry Series Week, attending performances, creative pitches on new shows, roundtables on sector trends and innovation, and the PushOFF platform of tour-ready shows.

Coming off a jam-packed three weeks, PuSh Festival Artistic and Executive Director Norman Amour reflected, “I’m not one to compare one edition of the Festival to the next, but in light of the works presented in 2018, many long in development, immense in scale and ambition, technically demanding, intellectually rigorous, and all thematically compelling, the PuSh Festival outdid itself this time. We find ourselves in a precarious political, environmental and social moment. In response, artists are creating works to invoke much-needed empathy—impassioned works that connect us to the world at large, to each other, and to the issues at hand. Such performance offerings were in abundance at PuSh—from Inside/Out to King Arthur’s Night, from MDLSX to The Eternal Tides—drawing audiences in droves, while affirming our Festival as one of Canada’s, and indeed the world’s, most noteworthy performing arts events.”

The 2018 Festival was a monumental success in its entirety; however, several standouts left a lasting impression with audiences and critics. The one-night dance/rock show Some Hope for the Bastards kicked things off. Montreal’s Frédérick Gravel electrified the crowd with this show, which was co-commissioned by the PuSh Festival, setting an exhilarating tone for the following three weeks. At The Cultch, this year’s Spotlight on Ireland suite provided encounters with cutting-edge works from the Emerald Isle: Dublin Oldschool, I’m Not Here, and Reassembled, Slightly Askew.

For the first time, the edgy, late-night Club PuSh series came to New Westminster patrons as part of a proud partnership with the Anvil Centre. This also marked the first time Club PuSh was presented at two venues simultaneously; the showcase continued at its Vancouver location at The Fox Cabaret on Main Street.

Among other highlights, GRAMMY-winning drummer Antonio Sánchez brought the house down with his virtuosic live score for BiRDMAN LiVE at the Vogue Theatre. Neworld Theatre flipped perceptions of possibilities in theatre with a relaxed performance of its radically inclusive King Arthur’s Night. At The Eternal Tides, awestruck audiences could hear a pin drop as the meditative dancers of Legend Lin Dance Theatre performed in this epic work that helped close the festival. Presenting partners of TAIWANfest and members of Vancouver’s vibrant Taiwanese community were among the 1,900 attendees to fill the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

2018 PuSh Festival Overview

  • 150+ performances and events at 18 venues across Vancouver over 20 days
  • More than 17,500 patrons attended over three weeks, including nearly 400 PuSh Passholders who came out to the festival 2,000 times
  • 70 sold-out performances and events
  • 179 artists representing 11 countries performed in 20 Main Stage shows, eight Club PuSh shows and many other ancillary events
  • $37,702 contributed by PuSh Patrons Circle donors over the Festival matching campaign
  • 144 volunteers contributed nearly 1,700 hours of their energy, skill and expertise
  • 250+ youth, aged 16 to 24, participated in the Youth Program, which included $5 Youth tickets, professional work experience, networking and learning opportunities in the performing arts industry
  • 176 arts industry professionals representing 14 countries participated in business exchange, networking and professional development at the PuSh Assembly
  • 550+ people were served by Accessible PuSh initiatives, which included free or discounted tickets for community organizations serving underserved communities

About the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (pushfestival.ca)
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 15th anniversary edition of the PuSh Festival will take place January 14 – February 3, 2019. Full programming will be announced in November 2018.

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