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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

6 world premieres from Vancouver artists and companies are on tap for next year’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The 16th annual PuSh Festival runs January 21 to February 9, 2020

The 2020 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh) will feature an impressive 27 works from 24 companies from nine different countries. But what makes next year’s PuSh even more exciting are the six world premieres from Vancouver artists and companies.

Among the premieres is Vancouver playwright Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here. Presented by Electric Company Theatre and featuring music from Canadian rapper Shad Kabango, the magic realist play chronicles the travels of a refugee family in 1979 from Canada to Chile in a bid to return to the country from where they were originally expelled.

City Opera Vancouver will present the political cabaret BERLIN: The Last Cabaret. Set in 1934 and featuring the music of the Weimar era, it follows a satirical cabaret troupe as Nazism tightens its grip on Germany.

From Vancouver contemporary dance company Wen Wei Dance comes Flying white –飞白. Featuring musicians from Turning Point Ensemble and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, its title refers to a rare form of Chinese calligraphy in which the brush touches the paper in long, light strokes, evoking grace and delicacy but also powerful velocity.

In High Water, multidisciplinary performance artist Robert Leveroos, under his moniker Macromatter, uses consumer products to build entire worlds inside a fish tank.

Contemporary artists Mike Bourscheid and Justine Chambers present the premiere of Idealverein in which six dancers participate in a game of sorts with a mix of improv and strict rules.

Finally, Savage Production Society will present Quelemia Sparrow’s Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey. Grounded in Indigenous ancestral knowledge, Sparrow makes a journey by canoe to recover her lost soul from the land of the dead.

Among the offerings from across Canada is Halifax’s 2b Theatre Company with Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story with its immigration story told as through a fusion of concert and drama. In FRONTERA, Canadian experimental rock band teams up with choreographer Dana Gingras and her Animals of Distinction dance company for a multimedia performance.

From the international side of its program, UK-based provocateur Ursula Martinez will build a brick wall on stage in Free Admission, while Australia’s Back to Back Theatre presents The Democratic Set in which members of the community help make 15-second video portraits.

Club PuSh also returns with works from Myles de Bastion, DJ Deaf Wish, CymaSpace, Crystal Precious, House of La Douche, and Pearle Harbour.

New for 2020 is the PuSh Scholars-in-Residence program, which invites festival artists as well as Indigenous and disabled artists and curators to ask foundational questions about how performance can intervene in the age of crisis. The inaugural scholars-in-residence are Dylan Robinson and Keren Zaiontz.

The 2020 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival takes place from January 21 to February 9, 2020, at venues across the Lower Mainland. For the complete line-up and tickets visit

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