Lunch with Norman Armour at Joe Fortes

The Friday Lunch is a focus on the restaurant’s Lunch menu along with the Interview of a notable Business or Cultural leader who is joining me as my guest at restaurants in and around Vancouver. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes.

For my sixth Friday Lunch in this series, I was joined by Push Festival, Executive Director, Norman Armour over lunch at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House.

Norman Armour

Norman Armour is Executive Director of Vancouver’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. He is an Independent theatre director and interdisciplinary artist. Graduate of SFU and he has lived in Vancouver for more than 30 years.

Have you always had an interest in the arts?

Yes, on my mother’s side of my family had theatre people. I studied at SFU with a focus on Contemporary Arts. In 1990, I started Rumble Productions after doing Shakespeare after school.

How did you end up becoming the Executive Director of the Push Festival?

I am one of the co-founders (with Katrina Dunn) of the Push Festival which emerged out of two theatre companies in 2003. I was a performer and actor, we thought there was a gap to do something in the arts in Jan/Feb. We thought of mixing up contemporary performing arts, build up trust and take a risk for our selections. New constituent audience, pushing boundaries, we added dance, music and partnerships over the years.

What drives you to succeed leading such an esteemed performance arts festival in Vancouver?

The power of art too make sense of ourselves, better understand what this is all about. Who we are, where we are going. Human cost of things, imagining, making the visable visable.

What challenges a festival such as yours today in Vancouver?

To never underestimate your audience, inteligance, willingness to take risk. Work that has integraty, sense of purpose and necessity.

How far in advance do you plan your productions?

Generally 18 months to 2 years.

What do you look for when artists/entertainers work into this Push Festival?

My own personal taste then everything that is right for the festival. Economical, sharpness in design and staging choices.

Personal voice, has it been worked through. Longer it stays the more important it is.

What are your favourite foods?

  • Good bowl of chili
  • Gateau Basque (cake)

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver ?

  • Bob Likes Thai Food
  • Les Faux Bourgeois
  • Trilussa
  • Slickity Jim’s

New England Clam Chowder

King Crab Tempura

Halibut Cheeks

Grilled Duo of Fresh Fish

New York Cheesecake

Norman had the New England Clam Chowder and Richard had the King Crab Tempura for their starters. Norman then had the Halibut Cheeks with tomato, leeks, herbs, butter; and Richard had the special Grilled Duo of Fresh Fish –Char & Ling Cod for their mains. For dessert, Norman and Richard shared the New York Cheesecake with blueberries.

What do you do in your off time?

  • Movies
  • Watch basketball
  • Walking
  • Exploring

Where was your most recent trip?


If you weren’t working in the arts, what would you be doing?

Car mechanic or a race car driver

Who are your mentors?

  • Bill Millerd
  • Roy Surette (Touchstone)
  • Marc Diamond

What has inspired you lately?

Anna Karenina Movie

Tell our readers about Club Push, what type of programming and audience do you attract?

Attracting a whole range of ages. People who want to be on the edge of their seats. Tend to be more chamber sized. More pop-up. More experimental, it is a festival within a festival. Elements at its purist:

1)    Northern Soul Jan 30-31 from England

2)    Look Mummy I’m Dancing Jan 23-25

How many entertainers/groups approach you for the festival?

We no longer accept unsolicited submissions. You need context.

Tell me about the 2013 Vancouver Push Festival, what are some of the highlights that we should know?

  • David Carr on Feb 3
  • King Lear from Taiwan at the Centre for performing Arts on Feb 1 & 2
  • Testament (inspired by King Lear) Jan 24-26 at the SFU Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
  • Prudencia Hard at the Cultch Jan 29-Feb 2

Has Social Media played a significant role for the Push Festival?

Huge Impact – bloggers welcome at the opening gala. Encouraging people to tweet at intermission before and after the shows.

What do you want to accomplish with the Push Festival over the next few years?

I want to make it a household word in the city. I want Vancouver to be seen and appreciated as much as any other urban centre in the world. I want the performing arts to equal visual arts in Vancouver.

Style: A La Carte

Attire: Business Casual

Time: 11am – 2:30pm daily

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

777 Thurlow Street, Vancouver


For Reservations call 604.669.1940

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Friday Lunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

Leave a Reply