Vancouver’s mid-winter festival of contemporary theatre, dance, multimedia, and music takes place January 16 to February 5.

Featuring 27 works over three weeks, trying to decide what to see at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival can be a daunting task. We’ve scoured the program and have picked five shows we think you should not miss this year:

1Mouthpiece

In Mouthpiece, co-creators Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava of Quote Unquote Collective play two halves of the same woman. Chosen as one of J. Kelly Nestruck’s (The Globe and Mail) top ten shows in 2016.

2The City and the City

The City and the City. Photo by Matt Reznek.

Upintheair Theatre & The Only Animal present The City and the City, China Miéville’s award-winning tale of two fictional cities. Audience members are not only observers, but become active participants in helping to collectively solve a murder mystery.

3Backstage in Biscuit Land

Backstage in Biscuit Land. Photo by James Lyndsay.

In Backstage in Biscuit Land, Jess Thom, with co-creator Jess Mabel Jones, sheds light on her life with Tourette syndrome through comedy, puppetry, and song.

4Revenge of the Popinjay

Revenge of the Popinjay. Photo by Freja Mitchell.

Part of Club PuSh at the Fox Cabaret, Studio 58 grads Anthony Johnston and Nathan Schwartz return to Vancouver with Revenge of the Popinjay. Through confessional monologues, humour and experimental performance, this “experimental rap-horror show” satirizes homophobic culture and questions the capacity for evil in all of us.

5Concord Floral

Concord Floral. Photo by Erin Brubacher.

Drawing on Boccaccio’s The Decameron, award-winning playwright Jordan Tannahill paints a powerful scenario in Concord Floral. Ten teens seek refuge in an abandoned greenhouse from a plague they brought upon themselves. This critically acclaimed thriller is cast with youth from across the Lower Mainland.