April 28, 2015 (Jackson) - Jonathan Lowery ('06), a Belhaven University theatre alum, is utilizing physical theatre to push the boundaries of dramatic arts. After graduating, he did an internship with PUSH Physical Theatre and in 2007, joined the group full time.
Lowery said, It's very hard to describe PUSH with words because what we do is so visual. We mash together many different performance styles and use the physicality of movement to tell stories without words. Each performance is a collaboration that requires the audience to invest part of their imagination to fill in the invisible details.
Darren and Heather Stevenson founded PUSH in 2000 and its popularity has grown ever since. PUSH was recently recognized in Backstage Magazine as one of the 13 most influential contemporary physical theatre companies.
Lowery and the members of PUSH recently competed in Season 1 of TruTV's Fake Off, a next-generation talent show with cutting-edge acts that weave iconic pop culture into new performances. The show has a collection of professional performance troupes from around the country that compete before a live audience and are then judged by a panel of celebrities. PUSH made it all the way to the finals and ended up with a second place win overall.
When asked about his experience on the show, Lowery said, It was a mad rush of creativity and tight schedules, consisting of anywhere from 12 to 18 hours of rehearsal. Once filming started, we were churning out massive amounts of material from concept to final rehearsal in about a week. If we weren't rehearsing, we were in costume fittings, prop discussions or planning sessions.
Lowery was part of the second-ever class of theatre majors. He studied dance as well as circus arts at Belhaven before he graduated. He attributes much of his success in theatre to his time at the University. Well, it started with my years at Belhaven University. I would never have gotten into physical performance if it hadn't been for the theatre department's mime troupe-The Joshua Squad-and Dr. Lou Campbell, the head of the theatre department at the time.
(Photo: Lowery is pictured at the top, center)