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PUSH Physical Theatre Celebrates PUSH @ 20

The event takes place on Friday, February 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

PUSH Physical Theatre Celebrates PUSH @ 20

Rochester's internationally renowned PUSH Physical Theatre will celebrate 20 years of PUSHing the boundaries of conventional theatre, starting with a virtual event hosted by Co-Founders/Directors Heather and Darren Stevenson on Friday, February 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

"Adventures in Creative Living with PUSH's Heather & Darren Stevenson," a live-streamed conversation featuring the married couple, will focus on their acclaimed physical theatre company's unique creative process and its applications to real life. A recent, similar talk by the enlightening and entertaining pair received rave reviews from the subscribers of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) Arts Center. With a suggested donation of an appropriate $20 (for 20 years), the 90-minute event will include an audience Q&A, and each household will be automatically entered into a raffle to win a virtual PUSH class for the organization or school of their choice. Reservations are required and are now being taken at pushtheatre.org/donate.

The evening will also serve as a kick-off for PUSH @ 20, the company's 20th anniversary campaign to raise $20,000, which will continue throughout 2021.

"We have told hundreds of stories over the past 20 years - sometimes touching, sometimes funny, but always important stories of what it means to be human," says Heather Stevenson. "We're raising funds in order to continue to tell these stories - stories that can help to bring us together - for the next 20 years."

Beginning on Monday, March 1, the acclaimed physical theatre company will also post 20 weeks - one for each year - of historic photos and memories on its social media platforms (facebook.com/PUSHtheatre, instagram.com/pushtheatre, twitter.com/PUSHtheatre), starting with its 2000-2001 season.

"Keeping a small arts organization like PUSH together and moving forward for 20 years - especially during a worldwide pandemic that has kept them from performing since last March - is an amazing accomplishment," points out Larry Francer, president of the non-profit PUSH Physical Theatre Board of Directors. "The signature ingenuity of their work has touched so many lives - not only here in Rochester but all over the country and the world."

PUSH is one of the U.S.'s leading physical theatre companies and is well known in Europe especially, where physical theatre was born and thrives. Every summer - except for 2020 due to COVID - the company attracts students from all over the world to its two-week Summer Intensive. (The 2021 Summer Intensive is planned for this June 21 - July 3, more info at pushtheatre.org/summer-intensive).

"We managed to do some pretty cool stuff this past year during COVID, such as our online KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival Trunk Show and producing a series of free, educational videos," adds Darren Stevenson. "As for 2021 and beyond, we have some exciting and meaningful projects planned that - with support - can continue PUSH's mission to inspire change."

More about PUSH Physical Theatre: Founded in Rochester, NY in the 2000-2001 season by husband-and-wife team, Darren and Heather Stevenson, out of a desire to "push" the boundaries of conventional theatre, PUSH Physical Theatre has since earned an international reputation as one of the U.S.'s leading physical theatre companies.

Recently featured in acclaimed collaborations with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ying Quartet, and Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon's two multi-media operas (Comala and No Se Culpe with fellow composer Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez), PUSH has also produced its own full-length works including DRACULA, Jekyll & Hyde, and Arc of Ages. Additionally, its wide-ranging repertory includes many shorter works such as "Red Ball," a hilarious take on the interplay between the real and virtual worlds using iPad technology.

Known for intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry, PUSH has been called "a perfect metaphor-in-motion" by CITY Newspaper and "a rare treat" by NY Theatre Guide. PUSH was a season finalist on TruTV's national series, Fake Off, a competition/reality show featuring what producers dubbed "the captivating art of 'faking'" - a mix of theatre, acrobatics, and illusion. Their performances caused judge and Glee star Harry Shum Jr. to exclaim: "You guys are superhuman!"

These genre-defining masters of physical storytelling have received the Community of Color/Anton Germano Dance Award, the Performing Artist of the Year Award from the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, and the University of Rochester's Lillian Fairchild Award.


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