A platform for experiment.
Mid-January to Early February
Club PuSh is the hub of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, where you’ll find cutting-edge shows in a fun and social cabaret setting. Theatre Conspiracy has co-produced Club PuSh since 2009.
We kicked off the Club with two powerful performers – writer and storyteller Ivan Coyote and musician Rae Spoon exploring the gender binary in Gender Failure. Next came a beautiful musical pairing: Coastal Sounds Youth Choir with Woodpigeon. Eye of Newt Ensemble, led by composer/violist/musical mad scientist Stefan Smulovitz, accompanied a screening of the ’80s cult classic cyberpunk film, Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Other shows included Tucked & Plucked: Vancouver’s Drag Herstory Live Onstage, a collaboration between performance art collective Norma and Veda Hille, all about cats, called Swan Song (for Cats), Ryeberg Live and the spectacular Huff. The festival closed with a bang with the beautiful live animations of Miwa Matreyek’s Myth & Infrastructure and Theatre Conspiracy’s Duets for One, a rock-based performance adaptation of Tanya Marquardt’s memoir Stray.
Late Nights at Club PuSh featured Gord Grdina’s Haram, Ethiopian band Krar, Vancouver blues rock band Paper Trails, and DJ Jef Leppard with Isolde N. Barron & Peach Cobblah.
Hawksley Workman’s one-man cabaret rock-&-roll show The God that Comes blew the roof off Club PuSh for opening night. There was also a killer music night with country-noir-glassy-eyed-blues hero Herald Nix with Proud Animal and Twin River. Jan Derbyshire ripped our guts apart with her uproariously funny Stood and 64-year-old Belgium theatre artist Vanessa Van Durme told her extraordinary true story of her life that started as a little boy in Look Mummy, I’m Dancing. Daniel Barrow returned with the outrageous and shameless personalities of public access television in Winnipeg Babysitter, followed by raucous rootsy-blues artist Sarah Wheeler. Music, dance, pigeons, cowboys….we got it all at Northern Soul, 30 Cecil Street & A Western, a showcase of English performance (presented with Caravan). The Road Forward was a blues/rock musical, created and directed by Marie Clements of Red Diva Projects. Melancholics and Destroyer fans united at sad sack, by night on the closing night of the festival, an evening dedicated to the expression of West Coast melancholy featuring former CBC radio host of Nightlines, David Wisdom, radical psychoanalyst Andrew Feldmar, a heartbreaker of a set by Hello, Blue Roses (Dan Bejar of Destroyer alongside Sydney Vermont) and songs by Kris Elgstrand from his album Songs of the Sad Sack, Volume 1.
Opener Woody Sed gave musical insight into the life and troubles of Woody Guthrie. Other musical treats included New Zealand singer-songwriter Don McGlashan, the hip hop First Nations show Beat Nation Live and a real coup performance with Mary Margaret O’Hara & Peggy Lee – Beautiful Tool. Theatre Conspiracy commissioned two shows: Trunk, a striking rock’n’roll installation created by our artist-in-residence Jeremy Waller and his company Craning Neck Theatre. Other performances included the curated essay series Trampoline Hall, and comedians Ryan Biel and Charles Demers in Making Art Noises. Closing performer, internationally acclaimed New York drag troubadour Taylor Mac, brought down the house with Comparison is Violence.
The Club opened with ground-breaking Seattle performer Dayna Hanson’s sly rock musical Gloria’s Cause, set during the American Revolution. Veda Hille brought together a local choir for some quirky and ambitious tunes for Vancouver’s 125th anniversary in Happy Birthday Teenage City. Other shows included the genius live animations of Winnipeg’s Daniel Barrow, flip-book animations by German artist Volker Gerling; Rick Maddocks’ rock-gospel musical The Meal – a Theatre Conspiracy commissioned work, and magic by Bro Gilbert.
Late Nights at Club PuSh bands included The British Columbians, Meatdraw and Fine Mist.
Performances included Taylor Mac, Theatre Replacement’s Twenty-Minute Musicals, Trampoline Hall, a Toronto hit, featuring Vancouver characters Andrew Feldmar, Faith Moosang and Kevin Chong. Musical guests included Vancouver jazz-pop band The Beige, hot Vancouver indie band The Awkward Stage, Victoria’s Hank Pine and Lily Fawn, Portland’s Holcombe Waller, plus Hooliganship and Victoria’s Vincat. Club PuSh also presented the Vancouver debut of New York monologue genius Mike Daisey.