The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Archive Index Home
Jan. 24, 2012
Presenter  Topics
A celebration of cultural diversity in Vancouver – 8th PuSh International Performing Arts festival opens (Jan, 17 – Feb. 4, 2012)
After its highly successful hosting of the Winter Olympics in 2010, Vancouver continued its festive mood celebrating the city’s 125th anniversary. As the capital of the Canadian state of British Colombia with its ethnically diverse population that is 25% immigrants and one of the largest Chinese communities in North America, Vancouver is truly an ethnic melting pot. Reflecting that environment, Vancouver’s international performing arts festival, commonly referred to as PuSh, aims to present a diverse, genre-bending program of theater, dance, music and multimedia performing arts created from both domestic and international perspectives and cultural backgrounds. The 2012 edition runs for three weeks with performances at 14 venues around the city.
A major work on the international program is Looking for a Missing Employee by the Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué, a documentary style work that follows the true story of a man who disappears from a low-level post at the Ministry of Finance in Beirut; the production Amarillo by Mexico City’s Teatro Linea de Sombra company depicting with beautiful video and objet creations the journey of a man who disappears while attempting to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico; and a play titled El pasado es un animal grotesco by Argentine director Mariano Pensotti, a familiar artist on the international festival scene making his second consecutive appearance at PuSh. From Japan, chelfitsch follows up on its 2009 appearance at PuSh with the production Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner and the Farewell Speech.
For the festival’s Aboriginal Performance Series, reflecting the city of Vancouver’s multiethnic makeup, the program this time includes performances by the hip hop group Beat Nation Live, the Toronto based Native Earth Performing Arts company and a production titled No. 2 from New Zealand starring best actress award winner Madeleine Sami acting nine roles by herself.
Other highlights of the program include a work titled After Trio A + Beginning by Croatian dancer and choreographer Andrea Božić as a “dialogue” with Yvonne Rainer’s 1966 work Trio A; London-based artist Peter Reder's Guided Tour, a work that takes place after-hours in the darkened passages of the Vancouver Art Gallery and explores notions of memory and place through a combination of artifacts, video, text and performance; and the Toronto-based research group Mammalian Diving Reflex’s whimsical work Eat the Street that takes children from a local elementary school to restaurants around the city and lets them give their honest opinions about the cuisine.
The festival’s schedule also has events including the PuSh Assembly, one of the West Coast’s most important international interdisciplinary forums for the performing arts, the Attacks Lab program, a series of workshops, roundtables and symposiums aimed at established and emerging theater directors and practitioners, and nightly performances at Club PuSh, a dynamic space where local artists present cutting-edge music, experimental film, and stand-up comedy and cabaret-type dance performances.

Festival Outline
This festival is bringing increased attention to the West Coast in a Canadian performing arts scene that until recently has been dominated by the eastern cities of Montreal and Toronto. In addition to local works and those from around Canada, the festival actively seeks out contemporary performing arts from overseas for its programs and has been successful in attracting a total audience as large as 24,000 in the 2009 festival. Responsible for the programming are the festival’s executive director Norman Armour and senior curator Sherrie Johnson.
+PuSh International Performing Arts Festival