British Columbia

10 must-see shows at Vancouver's 2017 PuSh Festival

Festival co-founder and current artistic director Norman Armour shares his top picks with CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

The PuSh festival runs from Jan. 16 to Feb. 5

South African theatre troupe Third World Bunfight presents an inspired adaptation of Verdi's opera Macbeth at this year's PuSh Festival. (Nicky Newman/PuSh International Performing Arts Festival)

Vancouver's PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings innovative and provocative performances from 11 different countries to venues throughout the city. This year's festival runs from Jan. 16 to Feb. 5.

Festival co-founder and current artistic director Norman Armour shared some of his picks with CBC Radio's The Early Edition:


A radical adaptation of Verdi's opera, set in the Democratic Republic of Congo. South Africa's Third World Bunfight incorporates contemporary costumes, African musical idioms, and projections.

By Heart

Portuguese playwright and actor Tiago Rodrigues teaches 10 audience members a poem while sharing deeply personal stories about his grandmother. She's in the process of going blind and trying to memorize beloved literary works before she can no longer read them.

The City and the City

From Upintheair Theatre and The Only Animal, this play is a tale of two deeply divided cities within the same geographic space. A detective working on a murder case is forced to examine the established order when his investigation spills into both cities. 

Concord Floral

Drawing on The Decameron, playwright Jordan Tanahill tells the story of a group of teens that finds refuge in an abandoned greenhouse while fleeing a plague of their own making. Set in a Vancouver suburb, the show features a local cast of young actors.

Every Brilliant Thing

In this heart-rending yet hopeful play about depression, British comedian Jonny Donohue asks the audience for help in constructing a list of things worth living for, starting with ice cream.

Town Choir

Vancouver's Theatre Replacement asks songwriters from across the country to type out observations about their surroundings and transmit them to Vancouver, where the Vancouver Youth Choir transforms them into song.

Portraits in Motion

Volker Gerling walked 5,600 kilometres of Germany, creating photographic flipbooks of the people he met along the way. He shares these portraits and the stories of the people behind them by projecting them in front of a theatre audience.

Backstage in Biscuit Land

Jess Thom says "biscuit" about 16,000 times a day, as a result of Tourette's syndrome. This award-winning production combines comedy, improv and puppetry to bring the audience into her world.

Visitors from Far Away to the State Machine 

A multimedia space opera in which two aliens journey to Earth for their honeymoon, and the audience tags along for ride. Created by the 2017 PuSh artists-in-residence Hong Kong Exile for Club PuSh.


Australia's acclaimed Black Arm Band specializes in Aboriginal music and languages, drawing on 40,000 years of tradition. They perform against a backdrop of documentary film, and are touring for the first time in Canada. Co-presented by Coastal Jazz.

With files from Margaret Gallagher

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Top picks for Vancouver's 2017 PuSh Festival