Top Five: PuSh Festival plays

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh Festival) recently announced it’s 13th annual season with artists coming from around the world to participate in this three week mid-winter series. There are seven plays, so let’s take a look below!

MacbethThird World Bunfight (South Africa)
Presented with Il Centro Italian Cultural Centre & Vancouver Opera
Jan 16, 17, 19–21 | Vancouver Playhouse
A radical adaption of Verdi’s opera set in the Democratic Republic of Congo with mineral mines, machine guns and a corporate cabal. African musical idioms, contemporary costumes, projection and bold set design make this a true Macbeth for our times.

Mess – Caroline Horton & Co. / China Plate (England)
Presented with caravan & Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Supported by Arts Council England & British Council
Jan 18–22 | Waterfront Theatre
Josephine, joined by best friends Boris and Sistahl, is putting on a play about anorexia. With wild invention, laughs galore and great songs to boot, this show tackles the realities of the disorder and its impact while offering hope for recovery.

As I Lay Dying – Theatre Smith-Gilmour (Canada)
Presented with Arts Club Theatre Company
Jan 19–Feb 12 | Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre
William Faulkner’s classic novel of one family’s trek to lay its deceased matriarch to rest is adapted with remarkable innovation. With few props and no sets, these masters of physical theatre miraculously conjure another world through spectacular movement, lighting and sound.

The City and the City – Upintheair Theatre & The Only Animal (Canada)
Presented with Upintheair Theatre & The Only Animal
Jan 24–29, 31; Feb 3–5 | Russian Hall
China Miéville’s award-winning tale of two fictional cities unfolds as spectator becomes participant in a murder mystery. Audience members are “cast” upon arrival and equipped with ear buds and transmitter to receive cues throughout the play to collectively crack the case.

Concord Floral – Erin Brubacher, Cara Spooner & Jordan Tannahill (Canada)
Presented with Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Surrey Civic Theatres & Touchstone Theatre
Supported by Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, Seedlings Foundation, TELUS Community Board, Vancouver Foundation
Jan 25–29 | Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
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. This critically acclaimed theatre thriller is cast with youth from across the Lower Mainland.

Every Brilliant Thing – Paines Plough/Pentabus Theatre Company (England)
Presented with caravan
Supported by Arts Council England, British Council
Jan 26–29 | Performance Works
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.

Backstage in Biscuit Land – Touretteshero (England)
Presented with caravan
Supported by Arts Council England, British Council and Vancity
Jan 30–Feb 1 | Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
Jess Thom cannot stay on script. She involuntarily and repeatedly says “biscuit,” one of the verbal ticks 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.


Single tickets start at $10. To buy tickets, visit or call the PuSh Festival Audience Services info line at 604.449.6000PuSh Passes are also available. Events are taking place January 16 to February 5, 2017 at various Vancouver venues.