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New collaborative arts program launches debut at PuSh festival

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Image courtesy of the PuSh Festival.

“Can you describe red?”

That was how Stuart Aikins, special appointee for the joint bachelor of performing arts (BPA) program, explained the concept behind Qualia, a performance featured at the PuSh Festival that kicks off Jan.31.

Langara’s David Bloom on Qualia

The show is a creative exploration of the aspects of human experience that can’t be adequately explained.

It addresses the philosophic concept of “things that we perceive that we can’t know for sure if other people perceive them the same way,” said Langara instructor David Bloom.

New program is the first of its kind

Students spanning four academic institutions, including Langara, Capilano College, Douglas College and Vancouver Career College, have joined forces in the culminating year of their degree to create an entirely original performance that is sure to leave show-goers scratching their heads.

What to expect

“It’s an alternate world. It could be a future, could be another dimension . . . where people have evolved,” explained Bloom.
The vast majority of people in this other world are no longer capable of empathy and their perceptions are narrowed.

“There are people like you and me . . . [and they] do things that are abnormal in this society, like make music, perceive multiple possibilities,” said Bloom, but this strain of people is kept in an institution for research.

The show is a tour of the facility, said Bloom, but “things just go wrong.”

In the ninth month of their program students, getting ready for Thursday’s premiere, are in a mixed state of excitement and panic, said Bloom.

“They’re also exhausted. The students do it all. And with just 24 of them, that’s a lot of work. They all take at least two, if not, three positions within the development,” Aikins explained.

“It’s a devised creation piece, it’s interdisciplinary, it’s collaborative,” he said.

The BPA is the first and only partnership between four institutions on a degree program and after 10 years in development this is the first year it has been offered.

The show will take place at Progress Lab, 1422 William Street. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on Tickets Tonight.

Reported by Bronwyn Scott

Bronwyn Scott interviews Stuart Aikins

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