Thrilling and challenging, PUSH Festival at HOME Manchester is always a highlight of the theatre calendar. A celebration of the North West’s creative talents, PUSH ordinarily takes place for two weeks in January. However, for 2021 the festival has been reimagined to take place throughout the whole year, allowing work to be experienced both live and digitally.
Bringing an exciting showcase of new work, this cultural festival feels even more vital this year than any other. For the artists and companies who continue to drive forward – to conceive, devise and create new work; for the theatre-starved audiences who seek out ground-breaking productions and for HOME, the building and its people. PUSH offers a real testament that new performance continues to be developed, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
PUSH gives audiences the chance to seek out new and extraordinary performances.
Celebrating the North West’s emerging artists and creatives, we love that PUSH gives audiences the chance to seek out new and extraordinary performances, works and screenings – some brand-new and some so good that they demand to be seen again.
This year’s PUSH Festival launched with two brand-new commissions by HOME. Candy Floss, created by artist Emmanuel Bajiiji and featuring stunning storytelling, followed one man’s journey as he reflected on life in Oldham, a new town, in a new country, on a new continent. In contrast, Jenni Jackson’s work – Endurance – blended dance, theatre and sports to examine physical and mental limits, gender politics and the complicity of the audience as witnesses to the spectacle.
Up next in October, audiences can join storyteller and musician Emmanuela Yogolelo in exploring the culture of the Congo Basin tropical rainforest areas of Africa. Experience traditional songs, harmonies, call-response and storytelling and explore the ways that colonialism, conflict, race and migration feed into climate breakdown in Tales from the Congo Basin.
A further highlight of the festival is First Dibs: The Assembly – a radical new playmaking school led by LGBTQ+ artists, for LGBTQ+ artists. Facilitated and presented by Dibby Theatre, the five brand-new works, created during the course, will be shared at a script-in-hand event on 6 November.
Theatre-makers Ugly Bucket return to HOME with Good Grief, a high-energy blend of clowning, verbatim, movement and thumping techno tracks. Building on the huge success of their Homemakers commission, ABC (Anything But Covid), Good Grief is a dynamic and physical show exploring loss and legacy.
Bringing an exciting showcase of new work, this cultural festival feels even more vital this year than any other.
Additionally, the ever-brilliant Box of Tricks return to HOME with PlayMakers Takeover. The project sees Northern playwrights join forces with theatre-makers to connect, collaborate and create. The day will close with a cinema screening of Box of Tricks’ acclaimed stage production SparkPlug (filmed at HOME in 2019) followed by a Q&A with writer/ performer David Judge.
Further highlights of PUSH include Remi Adefeyisan’s You, Us and Them, a physical theatre and rap piece exploring the way that we are influenced and shaped by the world around us and Susanna Amato’s autobiographical performance, Landfill of Memories examining memory and the things that we hold onto.
Aside from performance and visual art, PUSH Festival also offers a range of masterclasses and workshops – all bringing great opportunities for artists and creatives to meet industry professionals and further hone their skills across a broad range of topics.