Stage Door News
Toronto: Franco Boni, Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre, named Artistic and Executive Director of PuSH Festival
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Following an extensive national search, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival’s (PuSh) Board of Directors announce the appointment of Franco Boni as Artistic and Executive Director. Boni will assume the role on June 1, 2019.
Boni is a recognized cultural innovator, facilitator, and community builder with a demonstrated track record of artistic credibility and financial acumen. He has served as Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto since 2003, and has been a fixture on Canada’s arts and festival scene for more than two decades.
“I’ve long been an admirer, presenter, director, and collaborator at PuSh, and I am thrilled to be joining the organization whose meaningful impact is truly boundless,” says Boni. “I’m looking forward to working with the PuSh board and staff, building on its outstanding reputation and Norman Armour’s numerous achievements. I am also keen to meet with the people of Vancouver to learn what role the festival plays in their lives and what attracts them to PuSh’s vast and varied offerings. Civic engagement is of great importance to me; my curiosity and desire to connect with the Vancouver community comes from a deep appreciation of people, a love of this beautiful city, and an understanding of the power of the arts to connect humanity and effect change.”
Boni brings with him extensive experience and accomplishments in festival stewardship and leadership, programming, fundraising and negotiation, as well as an impressive knowledge and key relationships across the local, national, and international arts sector.
During Boni’s tenure at The Theatre Centre — a nationally recognized live-arts incubator that serves as a research and development hub for the cultural sector — he developed the Residency Program. The celebrated program embraces experimentation and learning with a wide variety of collaborators and features the work of some of the country’s leading artists. He also established the Free Fall Festival and co-founded Progress Festival, creating vital performance platforms for national and international artists.
Boni served as Festival Director of the Rhubarb Festival from 1998–2000 and as Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival from 1999–2004.
His fundraising experience includes leading The Theatre Centre in a $6M Capital Campaign coupled with the development and build of its new Toronto theatre space.
Boni is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging directors, and was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership in the development of arts and culture in the City of Toronto. Most recently, Franco was awarded the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship in Theatre.
“Following an extensive succession planning period and national search, the Board takes great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Franco Boni as the PuSh Festival’s Artistic and Executive Director,” says Mira Oreck and Jessica Bouchard, PuSh Festival co-chairs. “The festival is entering a new and exciting chapter, and we’re confident Franco’s wealth of experience, from an artistic, business, and operational standpoint, will help shape and deliver the spirit and ambition of PuSh to new creative heights. We’re eager to introduce Franco to our PuSh patrons, supporters, and the Vancouver arts community at large.”
Boni steps into the role this summer following the resignation of Founder and Artistic and Executive Director Norman Armour in April 2018. PuSh has since been led by Interim Executive Director Roxanne Duncan and Interim Artistic Director Joyce Rosario.
The 16th edition of the PuSh Festival will take place January 21–February 9, 2020. Full programming will be announced in November 2019.
About the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (pushfestival.ca)
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is Vancouver’s signature, mid-winter cultural event, taking place over three weeks each January in theatres and venues across the city. The PuSh Festival presents ground-breaking, contemporary works of theatre, dance, music, and multimedia by acclaimed local, national, and international artists.
Photo: Franco Boni.