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Vancouver PuSh Festival

Vancouver PuSh Festival

The PuSh Festival is a performing arts festival that showcases local, Canadian and international artists at Vancouver theatres in January and February.

In 2022 the festival ran from January 20th until February 6th. For the event’s official website click Vancouver PuSh Festival.

To see what showed in 2022, click 2022 PuSh Lineup.

 


Below you’ll find information about the following topics:

Admission Rates | Festival Shows | Club PuSh | Tips & Advice | 2022 Video Trailer | About the Festival | Other Information


 

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Celebrating its 19th season in 2023, the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival usually features more than a hundred performances at twenty or so venues between mid-January and early February. There is also select programming online.

The festival attracts up to over 20,000 attendees each year (at least in ones not impacted by a pandemic). It also includes free events in addition to its regular ticketed shows.

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh) delivers ground-breaking, contemporary works of dance, theatre, multimedia and music by artists from Vancouver, across Canada and around the world.

Tickets start at just $20. To purchase tickets, visit the pushfestival.ca website or call the PuSh Festival Audience Services info line at 604-449-6000.

The festival happened in-person in 2022. Extra safety precautions were in effect. This included the theatres operating at a maximum of half capacity. Face masks and double vaccination statuses were also required. A small number of performances were cancelled, but most still went ahead. Online streaming options were also added for some of the shows.

 

Vancouver PuSh Festival

 

PuSh Festival Dates

In 2021 the PuSh Festival was originally scheduled for January 19th to February 7th, but ended up running from January 28th until March 11th. Despite the longer dates, it was on a smaller scale than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2022 the festival began on Thursday, January 20th, and finished on Sunday, February 6th. Again, there were fewer shows than pre-pandemic years (but more than the year before).

 

2022 Festival

In 2022 the festival featured a dozen different works from three countries. This included a one world premiere and two Canadian premieres! On top of that, there were a few other performances at the more casual and interactive Club PuSh on Granville Island.

As always, the festival line-up was dedicated to creative risk-taking and dynamic interdisciplinary collaboration. There was an extra emphasis on Canadian artists. There were, however, works by British and American artists as well.

 


For tickets and full details about the performances, see the official PuSh Festival website.


 

Vancouver Push Festival

 

Performance Admission Rates

Both individual single-performance tickets and multi-show passes are available at PuSh Festival productions most years.

 

Single Tickets

Single tickets are usually sold through various box offices. Prices ranged from free to about $80 plus online fees in 2020. Especially with free shows and major ones, advanced reservations are always recommended when possible. Prices for most shows ranged from about $20 to $40 in 2020.

In 2021, most activities happened in an online format and were part of the PuSh Rally, which was free to register for. There were three or so live events scheduled to take place and admission for each ranged from about $10 to $23.

Prices in 2022 ranged from about $20 to $40. Most shows were in the range of $30 to $35 for tickets, although a few are slightly less expensive. Shows that also had livestreams of their performances cost the same in-person or online.

To purchase tickets for the 2023 season (when they become available), visit the pushfestival.ca website or call 604-449-6000.

 

StayVancouverHotels.com

 

PuSh Passes

PuSh Passes in 2020 came in 4 and 6-ticket packages. They provided pass holders a 30% discount when purchasing tickets for additional shows. The 4-Show Pass that year cost around $119 (including taxes) and the 6-Show Pass cost about $176 (so about $30 per performance). There was also a Youth 4-Show Pass which cost just $20 or so, which was a fantastic deal and good for folk ages 16 to 24.

In 2022 the PuSh Pass worked a little differently than in past years as there was not a set price. Rather, there was a set 20% discount when you purchased tickets for any 4 shows of your choice. This meant that you saved the same rate regardless of which shows you watched. There was also a Youth 4-Show Pass for $20.

 


For tickets and full details about the performances, see the official PuSh Festival website.


 

PuSh Festival Shows

The PuSh Performing Arts Festival features over 100 different performances most years. Some events are free, but most have a cost. Many are Canadian productions, several are international, and some are from local Vancouver theatre companies.

In 2022, there weren’t as many shows as usual due to the ongoing pandemic. There were still a good number, however. Listed below are the performances from 2022.

(Note: Times, locations and other details are subject to change. See the official PuSh Festival website.)

 

Capitalism Works For Me

 

Capitalism Works for Me! True/False (USA)

Presented with Vancouver Public Library, Living Things Festival and Springboard Performance

This isn’t a show; rather, it’s a public installation. Set up by American artist Steve Lambert, this is an interactive billboard that runs from January 22nd to 24th. It allows the general public to vote on whether capitalism really works, with hosts ready to chat with those who participate and a running tally.

This is a free activity with no tickets needed. You can place your vote at the following times at the Vancouver Public Library on West Georgia Street:

  • Saturday, January 22nd, from 11:30 am until 4:00 pm
  • Sunday, January 23rd, from 11:30 am until 4:00 pm
  • Monday, January 24th, from 11:30 am until 4:00 pm

(Note: This event was also going to happen on January 20th and 21st but then those dates got cancelled.)

To learn more about this event click Capitalism Works for Me!

 

Capitalism Installation at Vancouver Library

 

VIOLETTE (Canada)

Supported by Théâtre la Seizième, RealWheels & the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre

This is a virtual reality show that invites the audience one by one into a 360-degree story starring Violette and her mysterious world. The show is a short one but an immersive experience. It’s held at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown from January 26th to 30th. Tickets for this experience cost $25.

Click VIOLETTE for more details.

 

Ruby Singh’s Vox.Infold (Canada)

Presented with Indian Summer Festival

This is an all-encompassing musical performance at the Lobe Studio on Hastings Street. Seven artists are involved and the show uses acoustic floor panels, speakers on the ceiling and 4DSOUND technology to create a sound environment that envelops you. The show runs from January 20th to 30th and tickets cost $19.

For full details click Ruby Singh’s Vox.Infold.

 

Born to Manifest (UK)

Born to Manifest is a dance performance that takes on the styles and personal experiences of young, black British men. Performed by Joseph Toonga in its Canadian premiere, the actor takes the stage at Performance Works on Granville Island from January 25th to 27th. There are to be some online performances as well. Tickets to see this show cost $29.

(Note: Because of the pandemic, in addition to the live performances, this production is also available for online streaming.)

For more details click Born to Manifest.

 


For tickets and full details about the performances, see the official PuSh Festival website.


 

Do You Mind if I Sit Here? (Canada)

Presented with Theatre Replacement

The world premiere of this piece runs from January 26th to 29th at the Russian Hall. The venue is operated by the Federation of Russian Canadians of BC and it’s located at 600 Campbell Avenue in Vancouver.

This production incorporates the hall into its story. Set 30 years in the future, city planners find a man who has lived as a squatter in the building for decades. This is a multimedia performance that imagines what the future might hold. Tickets cost $37 each.

To learn more click Do You Mind if I Sit Here?

 

Vancouver PuSh Festival

 

Se prendre (Canada)

Presented with Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

Se prendre is a dance performance that sees two women come together in an acrobatic dance that evokes both tenderness and tension. It’s a psychodrama held on a historic waterfront estate at Deer Lake in Burnaby. On from January 29th to February 4th, this show is a very physical and athletic one. Tickets are $34.

To learn more click Se prendre.

 

AALAAPI | ᐋᓛ (Canada)

This production is set in the northern Quebecois territory of Nunavik. It combines radio and visuals into a show that’s all about language itself. It runs at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island from January 29th to February 2nd. Tickets for this show cost $34.

(Note: Because of the pandemic, in addition to the live performances, this production is also available for online streaming.)

For more details click AALAAPI.

 

How to Fail as a Popstar (Canada)

Created by and starring Canadian musician Vivek Shraya, the actress uses theatre as a way to tell her memoir. From the beginnings of her career to the present day, she incorporates music, movement and theatrics to share her story.

This performance is held at Performance Works on Granville Island on February 1st and 2nd. It is commissioned and produced by Canadian Stage. Tickets for this show are $29.

Click How to Fail as a Popstar to learn more.

 

I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron (Canada)

This piece is performed in Mandarin with English subtitles by Njo Kong Kie. The actor uses the works of Chinese poet Xu Lizhi (a factory worker who committed suicide in 2014) as the basis for song, piano and imagery. The production paints a picture of the downsides to the modern Internet age.

Njo Kong Kie takes the stage at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island from February 4th to 6th, with tickets $34 each.

(Note: Because of the pandemic, in addition to the live performances, this production is also available for online streaming.)

To learn more click I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron.

 

Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island

 

La Goddam Voie Lactée (Canada)

Presented with The Dance Centre

This production is dark and wild, but at the same time it is somewhat an act of celebration. Five performers hold a pagan mourning ritual on stage, with dance, music and a lot of energy. It’s held at the Scotiabank Dance Centre from February 4th to 6th and tickets are $37.

Click La Goddam Voie Lactée for further details.

 

William Shakespeare’s As You Like It: A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal (Canada)

Indigenous artist Cliff Cardinal takes his stab at telling the story of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, with dark humour, a lot of emotion and a look at some uncomfortable topics of conversation. This runs from February 4th to 6th at the York Theatre. Tickets cost $34 each.

To learn more click William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

 

Cancelled Performances

In addition to the above shows, the following productions were also going to take place in 2022. Because of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the two performances got cancelled. Hopefully they can return another year.

 

The Café (Canada)

Presented with ITSAZOO Productions and Aphotic Theatre

(Note: Due to the pandemic, this performance has been CANCELLED.)

This production was a series of plays that was going to take place in a unique setting. The audience was going to sit in a real-life coffee shop (at Kafka’s Coffee on Great Northern Way in Vancouver) and watch as a series of short plays took place at tables all around them.

During this show you would have been allowed to get up and move around, and you could have bought food and drinks from the café as you experienced the show. If it hadn’t been cancelled, the Café would have run from January 25th to February 5th and tickets cost $25.

Click The Café to learn more about this production.

 

Songs for a Lost Pod (Canada)

Presented with Music on Main

(Note: Due to the pandemic, this performance has been CANCELLED.)

The world premiere for this creative musical theatre production was going to run at the ANNEX on Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver on February 2nd and 3rd. Leah Abramson was going to use orca vocalizations as pieces to songs that explore environmental issues, marine animal history and more. Tickets to see this show cost $39.

For more details click Songs for a Lost Pod.

 

Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers (Canada)

Presented with Touchstone Theatre and Firehall Arts Centre

(Note: This show has been cancelled.)

The story of a black teenager and his journey through the afterlife, this production was going to be a solo show that takes on the subjects of violence, injustice and Black Lives Matter. It was going to be at the Firehall Arts Centre from January 20th to 23rd. Tickets were $29.

To learn more about the show click Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers and Little Brothers.

 

Firehall Arts Centre

 

Club PuSh

On top of the above shows, festival-enjoyers can spend time at Club PuSh. Held at Performance Works on Granville Island from February 2nd to 4th, this venue is home to a casual party with those who want to keep enjoying PuSh in the evenings. There are musicians, DJs, dancers and more providing a fun atmosphere.

The entertainment each night is curated by a different production company. From the 2nd to the 4th, enjoy performances put on by the frank theatre company, the Talking Stick Festival and Immigrant Lessons. Club PuSh is also home to the PuSh Festival Closing Night Party (which unfortunately didn’t happen in 2022 because of COVID-19).

Admission to Club PuSh was free for anyone with at least one ticket to a PuSh show in 2022. You could still enter if you hadn’t gone to any PuSh shows, but it cost $10 at the door.

Club PuSh shows in 2022 included the Frank Theatre Company, Talking Stick and Impact events. See below for details.

 

The Frank Theatre Company (Canada)

This Club PuSh event takes place on Wednesday, February 2nd, at Performance Works. It offers a celebration of the queer art of failure and features a One Hit Wonder costume contest, musical acts, DJ music, and drag queen performances.

 

Talking Stick (Canada)

This Club PuSh event happens on Thursday, February 3rd, at Granville Island’s Performance Works. It features a blend of traditional Indigenous music with contemporary dance grooves.

 

IMPACT – Immigrant Lessons (Canada)

This Club PuSh event takes place on Friday, February 4th, at Performance Works on Granville Island. It’s an exciting street battle-like dance tournament. The contest is open to everyone who wants to participate and who signs up in teams of four.

 

To learn more about the above three events click Club PuSh in 2022.

 

Performance Works at Granville Island
Performance Works at Granville Island

 

Tips & Advice

Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the PuSh Festival in more normal years.

  • Book your PuSh pass early, before they sell out.
  • Arrive at your show well before start time. In all but a few cases, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The Dine Out Vancouver Festival conveniently runs during similar dates as the PuSh Festival most years. Combine your night out for a show with a fabulous and affordably-priced 3-course dinner. Click Downtown Dine Out Venues for a list of some of the best festival restaurants in Vancouver’s downtown core, or Dine Out Vancouver for a list of some of the top participating restaurants in the Lower Mainland.

 


For tickets and full details about the various shows, see the official PuSh Festival website.


 

2022 PuSh Festival Trailer Video

To give you a rough idea of what to expect at the festival in 2022, check out the following trailer video.

 

 

About the PuSh Festival

The PuSh Festival has grown to become a signature performing arts festival in Vancouver since its humble beginnings in 2003.

Today the mission of the organization is to “engage and enrich audiences with adventurous contemporary works in a spirit of innovation and dialogue.” The festival showcases local, Canadian and international contemporary artists and performances, and it works in partnership with other organizations to develop new and ground-breaking artistic work.

According to the festival’s website, the organization values “transformative experiences, risk-taking, respectful collaboration and dialogue, … inspiration, innovation, and diversity in arts and peoples.” Consequently, you can expect shows that are amazing, unique, cross-cultural and both traditional and different.

 

Other Information

To learn more about the PuSh Performing Arts Festival, check out the PuSh Festival website.

For a list of other major Lower Mainland festivals throughout the year, click Vancouver Festivals & Events Calendar.

For ideas on other things to do this time of year, check out any of the following: