Your Intro to the 2017 PuSh Festival

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The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is back for its 13th edition from January 16 to February 5, 2017. The best in local, national and international theatre, dance, multimedia and music shows will be presented on stages across the city. The PuSh Festival is a Vancouver’s signature mid-winter cultural event. Each year close to 30,000 Vancouverites come out for our 150 performances and events over the three-week festival.

The shows are provocative, challenging, genre-defying—created and performed by the best performing artists from around the world. The 2017 PuSh Festival features artists and companies from 11 countries.

With this many choices in the 2017 PuSh Festival lineup, it might be hard to know where to start! So, we’ve made it easy for you. Enjoy a carefully curated sampling of our top highlights with the Three-Show Packs—we’ve packaged one show per week of the Festival to give you a taste of cutting-edge shows that represent different forms and countries. If you’re a PuSh first-timer (or even a seasoned attendee), our Three-Show Packs will be sure to delight.

Wednesday Show Pack: Hurray for Hump Day
Beat the mid-week blues with our Wednesday Show Pack. See sexy-AF dance from Belgium, the most innovative theatre being produced in Canada, and an English work of theatre that will open your eyes to a new world.

Sexy and smart: Sweat Baby Sweat (from Belgium/Netherlands), January 18
Romance and sexuality are distilled to their physical essence in this brilliant piece of dance between a man and a woman enacting a story of love with their bodies. It’s minimalism with maximum exertion: they embrace, grip and lift each other, pushing their bodies to the extreme. Plus Cat Power provides the soundtrack.

Concord Floral, Photo: Erin Brubacher
Concord Floral, Photo: Erin Brubacher

Award-winning dark thriller: Concord Floral (from Canada), January 25
Drawing on Boccaccio’s The Decameron, award-winning playwright Jordan Tannahill paints a powerful scenario: 10 teens seek refuge in an abandoned greenhouse from a plague they brought upon themselves. The Globe & Mail calls it “scary as all get out.”

Backstage in Biscuit Land, Photo: James Lyndsay
Backstage in Biscuit Land, Photo: James Lyndsay

Arresting, brilliant irreverence: Backstage in Biscuit Land (from England), February 1
Jess Thom cannot stay on script. She involuntarily and repeatedly says “biscuit,” one of the verbal tics of her Tourette syndrome. In this delightful and enlightening show, what society deems “atypical” allows Thom to soar with a hilarious and unhinged mix of improv, comedy and puppetry.

Buy the Wednesday Show Pack
Wednesday Show Pack includes one ticket to the three pre-selected shows above. Please note: Shows take place at different times and venues.


Friday Show Pack: Work Up to the Weekend
Reward yourself at the end of a long week with art to fill the soul. Catch these three shows that will restore you faith in humanity: Rabble-rousing from Portugal’s biggest art star, gut-splitting English theatre about depression (no, it’s not an oxymoron), and an Italian dance show that will have you and the performers begging for sweet mercy.

By Heart, Photo: Magda Bizarro
By Heart, Photo: Magda Bizarro

Thought-provoking and political: By Heart (from Portugal), January 20
Inspired by George Steiner’s words, “Once 10 people know a poem by heart, there’s nothing the KGB, the CIA or the Gestapo can do about it,” distinguished playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues teaches 10 audience members a poem. A personal, touching show about the power of art, not just to inform and inspire, but also to elude and fight oppression.

Every Brilliant Thing, courtesy of the artist
Every Brilliant Thing, courtesy of the artist

Hard-hitting and hilarious: Every Brilliant Thing (from England), January 27
In this heartrending yet hopeful play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love, comedian and performer Jonny Donahoe—with the help of the audience—delivers a list of all things worth living for, starting with ice cream.

Breathtaking endurance: FOLK-S, Will you still love me tomorrow? (from Italy), February 3. The schuhplattler is a Bavarian folk dance in which performers slap their shoes and legs; it’s ecstatic, kinetic, and one walloping workout. In this contemporary interpretation the dancers take the form to physical extremes, pushing the limits of human endurance, strength and stamina.

Buy the Friday Show Pack
Friday Show Packs includes one ticket to the three pre-selected shows above. Please note: Shows take place at different times and venues.


The 2017 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival runs January 16 to February 5.
See the full program here.

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