PUSH Physical Theatre

CATEGORIES: Performing Arts
CURRICULUM CATEGORIES: STEM, SEL, Health, Special Ed, Project Based Learning, Phys Ed, Early Ed
AGES: Pre-K-2, All ages
PROGRAMS: Available Virtual or Live
ALSO AVAILABLE: Customized Programming, Special Needs, Senior Living and Team/Group Building

Intense athleticism, gravity-defying acrobatics, and soulful artistry are the trademarks of award-winning, genre-defining PUSH Physical Theatre. PUSH has a long history of creating arts education programming for K-12 and college students. In 2000, husband and wife team, Darren and Heather Stevenson, founded it to “push” the boundaries of conventional theatre.

Performances include selections of their work followed by an audience talk-back. Discussion topics include human relationships, social interaction, stereotypes, etc. Workshops introduce students to the movement arts and support curriculum areas such as physical science, character development and literacy.

Performances: Virtual Only

PUSH's Trunk Show
PUSH tackles racism, COVID quarantine living, relationships and personal stories from the artists in this performance: As you know, all the members of award-winning PUSH Physical Theatre live together in a small travel trunk. Their stage manager folds them carefully inside after each performance and sits on the lid until the next show. They've been in there for a while now and it's time for a break-out. Created especially for the small screen, witness original stories, funny, intimate, heart-breaking and universal, caught and released into the world with PUSH's signature athleticism and no-holds-barred physicality.

Focus: Science, Language Arts, Health, Physical Activity, Cultural Awareness, 21st Century Skills, Character Development, Social and Emotional Wellbeing

(Grades 6-12) 45 minutes

Add a virtual post-show conversation with 2 of the artists, up to 45 minutes

Workshops: Available Virtual or Live

PUSH provides physical theatre workshops that support and expand curriculum. The following are examples of workshops created in collaboration with teachers, designed around specific curriculum needs. If you have a great idea for a workshop let us know.

• Video Workshops for younger students: https://youtu.be/dvfZ5puG0i0

• Video Workshops for older students: https://youtu.be/9pa9Q3h2lhU

• Video Workshops for Seniors: https://youtu.be/BnMTna9jglQ

Simple Machines
This workshop facilitates a deeper internal understanding of the Physical Sciences as students both analyze and synthesize topics such as simple machines, transfer of weight, magnetism, and energy through physical movement and discussion. Science exercises focusing on the concept of teamwork, balance, and trust are used to encourage the development of friendship skills and guide students to thought-provoking ‘ah-ha!’ moments.

Focus: Science, 21st Century Learning

(Grades K-6) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Classical music guides eager imaginations during participatory exercises relating to the changing of seasons and the effects they have on our everyday lives (i.e. growing spring flowers, grumbling summer thunderstorms, falling autumn leaves, drifting winter snowflakes). Students become aware of their personal responsibility for maintaining their health throughout the year as they act out dressing up for an afternoon at the beach or an anticipated snow day! It is a scientific fact that no two snowflakes are alike! Each is beautiful in its own unique way. Likewise, each one of us is unique and has something special to share with those around us.

Focus: Science, Physical Activity

(Grades Pre-K-2) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Healthy Heroes
3-2-1-0 Be a Healthy Hero! This workshop has continuous physical activities that support the Be A Healthy Hero campaign for our community’s kids! Kids run for the healthiest snack choices in our relay race, get tips on learning to love exercise through physical theatre and end the class with a bit of something just as important…rest. (This workshop includes a coloring book for each child to take home.)

Focus: Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity

(Grades K-4) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

From egg to adult, the 4 stages of the life cycle of a butterfly are physically created by students in individual and group exercises. Students get to become the process of metamorphosis through movement. Students physically demonstrate their growing understanding of each stage and make connections to their own physical and social lives.

Focus: Science, 21st Century Skills

(Grades 2-4) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Art & the Brain
Students are asked to evaluate the hypothesis of noted neurologist V.S. Ramachandran in his research into the “science of art”. Dr. Ramachandran’s “10 laws of art” are, as yet, unproven which allows children the excitement of investigating, questioning and responding to cutting edge science in process. Students combine visual and movement art as they answer key questions such as “Can we observe the laws in well known paintings?” “Do the laws transfer to movement?” “Can art be created by purposely breaking the laws?” Far from being a purely academic discussion, students will create physical theatre experiments to test the limits of the laws of science used by artists.

Focus: Science, 21st Century Skills, Cultural Awareness

(Grades 4-12) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Human Pop-Up Books
Students have the opportunity to view an art form that uses no words and leaves them with the challenge of transposing movement language into written or spoken language. By creating their own “Human Pop-Up Book” they will be faced with the challenge of analyzing a literary work and identifying key vocabulary vital to the storyline and then translating and synthesizing those words into a series of movements that reflect the story as it was in its original written/illustrated form. Students work in teams and collaboratively put their thoughts and ideas together.

Focus: Language Arts, 21st Century Skills

(Grades K-12) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Through the themes of strength and power; cooperation vs. competition; leadership and responsibility; partnership and trust; self discipline vs. external control, students will acquire positive character traits. Students engage in theatre and movement skills to learn how to overcome fear of failure and channel aggression into success rather than bullying. They will identify the benefits of self-control and the difference between leading and intimidating to build confidence and make positive choices regarding their actions towards themselves and others. This residency includes a planning meeting conducted with the classroom teacher and the school psychologist or social-worker.

Focus: Character Development, Social & Emotional Well-Being

(Grades 3-12) 45-60 minutes. Longer time periods can be negotiated.

Note: students are divided by gender

Performances: Live Only

PUSH Performance
21st Century Learning Skills presented by PUSH’s team of talented ‘human sculptures’ using acrobatic strength, stunning physicality and emotional depth. Core subjects such as physical science, literacy and the arts are explored within the context of health, creativity, innovation, communication and collaboration. Relationships are examined between classroom learning and career & life skills such as social awareness, responsibility, adaptability and flexibility. Performers carefully guide audiences throughout the program. Individual pieces are given context that is grade level appropriate to help students interpret the work on a level that is relevant to them.

Focus: Science, Language Arts, Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Cultural Awareness, 21st Century Skills

(Grades K-12) 45-60 minutes

Program can include Q&A

College Students, Community Groups, Seniors and Lifetime Learners

PUSH offers performances, lectures, talks, workshops and residencies for assisted living facilities, gyms, community programs, church groups and more. All ages, abilities and training backgrounds are welcome. PUSH works with professionals and college students, children, people with developmental disabilities, learning challenges, disenfranchised students and lifetime learners.

• College Residency: https://youtu.be/9pa9Q3h2lhU

• Elders Share The Arts Residency: https://youtu.be/BnMTna9jglQ

Free Resources

Free Video Training Series >> Try starting a class with one of these as inspiration for group exercises.

Free Academic Resources >> Did you assign PUSH as a research project for your students? We will help them cheat by providing everything they need in one place. Shh… don’t tell.