본문 바로가기

주메뉴 영역

People

본문 영역

ؿ ,   , ǰ Ұ

  • 프린트
  • 스크랩
The Window into Vancouver’s Contemporary Performing Arts
The Window into Vancouver’s Contemporary Performing Arts
Interviewer : Byong-Jin YOO _ Independent Planner 2012.04.02 North America > Canada

The Window into Vancouver’’s Contemporary Performing Arts
[Who&Work] Norman Armour _ Executive Director of PuSh International Performing Arts Festival


During the winter, Vancouver becomes a city of rain. The sun shines only about once or twice a week and the rest of the days are filled with rain. In January when the endless rain falls, not spectacular but a productive festival called the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival opens. The PuSh Festival is one of the festivals that features innovative works, unconstrained by difference in genres.

The PuSh Festival is having its 8th opening this year and it has featured a total of 16 formal invitational works. Among them, 5 performances were from Vancouver, 2 from other parts of Canada, and the remaining 9 were from other parts of the world such as Asia, Europe, and South America. One of the co-founders of the Festival is Norman Armour and he has been leading the PuSh Festival as the Executive Director. As he has been active as an actor and director for a long time, he has been bridging the Canada’’s western city, Vancouver, and the global performing arts through exchanges. I was able to meet and talk to him, who was still busy with wrapping things up after the Festival, though it has been a month since it ended.

Norman Armour

Performing as an Actor and Director

Q: What kind of work did you do before the PuSh Festival?

A: I am originally from Toronto, not Vancouver. I studied contemporary arts at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver during the 1980’’s. Because my major involved interdisciplinary courses that did not focus on one genre, I studied visual art films focused on dance and theatre with relatively good amount of opportunities for practice as well.

After graduating from the University, I was active in a dance group, and acted in Toronto and Winnipeg, and also briefly in U.S. Around 1990 was the time of change for me when I wasn’’t sure whether I should stay in Vancouver or move to Toronto, Montreal, or New York. After deciding to stay in Vancouver, I co-founded a theatre company called the Rumble Production with a friend from Toronto. I was in charge of the Company until 2005, and it is still active. We did a lot of interdisciplinary works by collaborating with artists from various genres, and we produced radio and television dramas as well as performance works.

Q: How your experiences as an actor and director is influencing your management of the Festival?

A: Before starting the PuSh Festival, the biggest part of my activity was acting. While I acted in plays, movies, and dramas, I never stopped working as a director. Although I stopped acting when I focused on management and production around 2000, I continued directing even until recently. Unlike acting, directing is very similar to management in someways. They are especially alike in that both involves creating something through good planning, managing, and organizing resources.

I was also responsible for management when I was in charge of the Rumble Production. I collaborated with a marketing firm called C7, and it was about marketing through a single window by combining the repertoires of many performance groups. The purpose was to create a larger economic scale by uniting the activities of small and medium performance groups into one, and forming a more visible structure of activities. With my increasing role as a manager, I quit my career as an actor. The PuSh Festival began in 2005 with the collaboration between the Rumble Production and Touchstone Theater, and since the 3rd festival, it is being operated with a separate secretariat and the board of directors. So, I sometimes do direct since 2005, but I mostly focus on the PuSh Festival.

Looking for a Missing Employee _ Rabih Mroué (Lebanon) After Trio A + Beginning _ Andrea Božić (Netherlands)
The main performance of 2012 PuSh Festival

Guarding Against the ’’Boundaries of Genres’’

Q: What is the mission of the PuSh Festival and what do you think is its role in the performing arts in Vancouver?

A: First, I had hoped that the genres of performing arts didn’’t become too separated. Of course, not all the works of the PuSh Festival are all mixed genres. However, all the works are based on the same principle of breaking down boundaries between genres.

Second, it is about finding the context of the ’’contemporary.’’ We really wanted this because we ourselves were artists. It is about generating new inspiration for the artists in the Vancouver region, and proposing a new paradigm in the board of directors which consists of experts in media and various areas of performing arts. For instance, it is about showing that some may think a new work is ’’strange’’, but there are others who actually prefer such differences. With this effort, we have been broadening a new line of audiences who can accept such works. Making audiences with high standards focus their attention on regional and innovative performances is one of the achievements of our Festival.

Also, one of the most important achievements is showcasing world-class works to the performance groups and artists in the region, and introducing the works in Vancouver to the oversea’’s experts who are visiting during the festival. We hoped our community and communities from other regions can meet and create a beginning ground for active discussions. Also, in terms of business, it is important for the regional works to get more invitational opportunities. Although there were few pioneering artists in Vancouver who promoted exchanges with other regions or overseas, but it is difficult to say they created a consistent window for exchange. We have been providing opportunities to the regional artists and producers for learning what the necessary factors are in the global standards.

The PuSh Festival created a certain amount of artistic inspiration and controversy in Vancouver, and also established networks. As a result, I think we were able to keep Vancouver from being isolated from the arts scene of North America and the world.

Q: I also heard that you consider fostering the next generation of artists as one of your important missions.

A: I am managing a small but very important program called the ’’Young Ambassador.’’ Ten creative artists in their 20’’s are participating in the works of oversea’’s artists as ’’Young Ambassadors.’’ They help set up the stage, and outside of the performance hall, they play the role of a guide for the oversea’’s performance groups to have exchanges with the PuSh Festival, city of Vancouver, and the performing arts scene. This way, I am allowing them to become closer to oversea’’s artists and listen to their opinions and thoughts. Then, I combine one of the young artists in the work as the Associated Artist, and have the artist organize ’’Talks with Artists’’ and also lead conversations as a host by inviting young audiences. There is a difference from the usual ’’Talks with Artists’’ that are led by older and experienced artist. And though it is not a regular performance, the program is openly operated through the ’’Club PuSh’’, where any young artist can show their ’’talent.’’

Young Ambassador Best Play / Worst Play _ Emelia Symington Fedy
An entry piece by Club PuSh at the 2012 PuSh Festival

Quality of the work is what’’s important

Q: What do you think is unique about the performing arts in Vancouver?

A: It is particularly not easy to pick out differences compared to other North American regions, but I see that the groups here tend to seek perfection in the works, though the scale is small. Also, site-specific works are becoming more common.

The performing arts festivals in Canada are mostly held during two season in May to June or January to February, and traditional or mainstream performance festivals are held in May to June, whereas festivals that are small-scaled and experimental, independent, or young in nature are held in the latter period. As for festivals held in May to June, there is the Festival TransAmériques in Montreal, Luminato Festival in Toronto, and Carrefour International de Théâtre in Quebec. These festivals have the advantage of utilizing both indoors and outdoors for showcasing performances, and are centered on large-scale performances. Festivals that are held in January to February like the PuSh Festival, there is the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary, and Canoe Theatre Festival in Edmonton, among others. Because these festivals are held during the off season, they are able to focus on experimental performances in small spaces and able to create works that are detailed.

Q: Could you introduce about your collaborative methods with other regions in Canada and the U.S.?

A: With the U.S., we are mainly collaborating with creative spaces in the Northwest regions. We make arrangements to host overseas performances through collaboration with On The Boards in Seattle or Portland Institute for the Contemporary Arts (PICA). See related article from theApro We are coinciding the works from Europe or Asia during the same period to divide the costs. Therefore, the consultations for the program planning are done together. Among others, festivals such as Under the Radar Festival and Performance Space 122 in New York are also some of our cooperative partners.

Q: What are some important aspects in selecting oversea’’s works and are there particular regions you are interested?

A: I don’’t focus on particular regions. It is easy to get entangled in political issues if you focus on regions. Because Vancouver has an immigration history of diverse ethnic groups, it isn’’t appropriate to focus on a particular region.

The most important factor in selecting oversea’’s works is their quality. I also prefer experimental and progressive works due to the nature of the Festival. The most important deciding factor comes from my experiences with the works when I see them in person, but I also take into account the recommendations from artistic directors who came to the PuSh Festival or who I met when I visited their festivals. If someone recommends a group, I keep that group in mind and follow up their activities even if I can’’t invite them right away. Then, I invite them when the opportunity comes. I usually don’’t pay attention to introductory materials sent from performance groups if they are not on the list of such recommendations. If the work of a team is good, I could invite them again. The performance by Okada Toshiki this year was a second invitation. I plan to invite a work from a group in Taiwan next year, and this work was also recommended, so I’’ve been following the group for several years. Also, due to the high cost of inviting oversea’’s groups, considering the funding situation of the invited group is also a significant aspect.

If possible, I would like to visit the Performing Arts Market in Seoul again to learn more about performance teams in Korea. I had visited in 2006, but I heard a lot has changed since then.

Links

| PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Go
| Festival TransAmériques Go
| Luminato Festival Go
| Under the Radar Go
| Carrefour International de Théâtre Go
| High Performance Rodeo Go
| Canoe Theatre Festival Go
| Read this article in Korean  더아프로 국문기사 보기

Byong-Jin YOO _ Independent Planner

Byong-Jin YOO has worked at the Seoul Fringe Network and Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS). He is widening his thoughts and directions from the interest in just the performances to life itself. Though he is currently enjoying his pastimes and being lazy, he is searching for ways to be more productive.

  • 프린트
  • 스크랩
Copyright
copyright
Origin
http://eng.theapro.kr

top



페이지 맨 위로 이동