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PUSH Physical Theatre Continues Announces PUSH@20: A Community Conversation About 'RACE'

The one-hour, live-streamed, interactive event is free, with a suggested donation of $20 to the company's 20th anniversary campaign.

PUSH Physical Theatre Continues Announces PUSH@20:  A Community Conversation About 'RACE'

Rochester's internationally renowned PUSH Physical Theatre continues its 20th anniversary celebration with PUSH@20: A Community Conversation about "RACE" on Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m. ET. The one-hour, live-streamed, interactive event is free, with a suggested donation of $20 to the company's 20th anniversary campaign to raise $20,000. Tickets are available at https://www.pushtheatre.org/donate.

The virtual event will begin with the replaying of an excerpt from the company's 2020 Virtual Fringe show, PUSH Physical Theatre's Trunk Show, entitled "RACE or You've Seen Me Before."

The 16-minute piece was a world premiere created during the pandemic by its three performers: PUSH Co-Founder/Director Darren Stevenson, PUSHer Ashley Jones, and guest artist Hassiem Muhammad from New York City. Each of them quarantined individually for two weeks, and then came together for an intense week in Rochester to create this truly collaborative work that addresses racism in a very visceral way.

"I can't speak for all black people, but...odds are I'm not the only black guy who feels like I'm walking through this world with a burden," says Muhammad in his on-screen introduction to the piece. "Odds are I'm not the only black person who feels like I'm in a race that I never signed up for."

"'RACE' is an extremely personal piece that came out of a very specific time of isolation due to COVID as well as the horrifying events that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement," Stevenson adds.

Following the performance, all three performers/creators will interact with viewers via Zoom, taking questions and comments.

"PUSH has regularly asked for audience input while creating a piece, which is in itself pretty unusual," explains Jones. "Following this event and its feedback, we will actually go back into the studio to keep developing 'RACE.'"

"RACE" was made possible in part by Support the PUSH Forward Project, which aided PUSH in its mission to create and perform stories that inspire change. Ashley Jones' involvement was made possible by a generous grant from the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.

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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