London International Festival of Theatre returns this week

UK: London International Festival of Theatre has travelled the world to curate its programme for 2016, which promises to feature ‘stylish, bizarre, moving, flirtatious, sensory’ performances, as LIFT celebrates the world in London and London in the world.

LIFT’s Artistic Director Mark Ball said: “Does art help us belong? I have met pioneering artists and performers from around the world who connect to the astonishing range of international communities that make up London, and, asking that very question, have made a Festival that investigates how this amazing mix of people adds up to the London I love. The cultural influences and radical imaginations of our festival artists result in enthralling and joyful work that will be seen in spaces and venues that take us into the guts of the city – so make your own playlist and join us at LIFT 2016.”

The work on display at LIFT hails from 14 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Canada, Japan, Australia, the USA, Lebanon and Syria. Over 30 events will be seen across the capital from an East End Cemetery to the Barbican and Hoxton Hall, from The Place to the Thames, and from the Royal Court and Sadler’s Wells to a Stratford car park.

New work is the lifeblood of LIFT, and this year sees more commissions than ever before, including an exciting new partnership with the Royal Court Theatre. The programme of World and UK premieres includes: a voyage through the American song book with performance artist Taylor Mac; encounters with the dead in a Mile End cemetery in gothic circus from acclaimed Australian company Circa and British electronic musician Lapalux; the UK debut of Poland’s great iconoclastic director Krzysztof Warlikowski in a multimedia production of Phaedra(s), a revolutionary interpretation of the Greek masterpiece by Sarah Kane, Wajdi Mouawad and J M Coetzee starring Isabelle Huppert.

In STELLA, writer and director Neil Bartlett looks into the soul of Victorian cross dressing artist Ernest Boulton on the day of his death. Argentinian artist Lola Arias brings together both Argentinian and British Falklands War veterans to share their revelatory experiences with the audience and each other. Musicians, performers and dancers explode in a rollercoaster ride through the lives and experiences of Europe’s Roma people, led by choreographer and theatre maker Constanza Macras; and Tokyo based artist and pop-idol Toco Nikaido and 25 performers swarm the stage in a frenetic, multi-coloured, cacophonous paean to Japanese youth subculture. Elsewhere on the bill, Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel march to the sound of a brass band; the UK’s first transgender choir sing for LIFT; and On The Move inhabits unexpected spaces at the Royal Court Theatre.

Throughout the festival, LIFT 2016is hosting a series of conversations, talks and events built around the shows and the people LIFT works with and is inspired by.

London International Festival of Theatre