Vancouver arts scene legend Norman Armour has died, with friends and family announcing his passing on Sunday (November 19).
Among his many achievements, Armour was one of the visionary cofounders of the West Coast’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. In announcing his death, the PuSh family noted, “Norman was a central presence in our community, and we will miss him. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and all those who were fortunate enough to call him a friend.”
A multidisciplinary artist whose 30-year history in the arts not only included spearheading PuSh, but also founding Rumble Theatre in 1990, Armour revealed earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
He made his announcement with humour, grace, and humility, posting on Facebook at the time:
“Know that I take no one or nothing for granted. Be comforted by the fact we are all going to eventually die, whether by streetcar as Gaudi did in his 74th year with his monumental Sagrada Familia remaining unfinished. It’s of course today still very much in a similar epic state. With no irony, I recommend a view of Terrance Mallick’s A Hidden Life as an potent primer! If you suspect both truth and irony you’re on the mark.”
In addition to his theatre and multi-disciplinary work, Armour also acted in television and film.
In a 2018 interview with the Straight, he noted that getting PuSh off the ground required no small amount of work.
“The first five years of PuSh were tough,” he said, “travelling around, introducing myself and saying, ‘I’m from Vancouver, my name is Norman Armour, and I’m with something you’ve never heard of called the PuSh festival.”
Over the years, the famously risk-taking, anything-goes festival became an international draw, attracting tens of thousands of art aficionados from around the globe each year.
“While PuSh may be the most visible legacy Norman left on the arts community in Vancouver, Canada and the world, he had so many more impacts on us all,” PuSh said in a statement. “He did so with grace and was notoriously gregarious, generous with his time and a fierce advocate for the arts. He was a mentor, a cultural connector, and a trailblazer.”