‘The eyes of the world are on us this summer!’ A hackneyed phrase that’s been rolled out so many times about London and the Olympics this year it’s become disappointingly de rigueur. And yet on the odd occasion, there comes an event where the world will be genuinely excited about what we have to offer.
Last year was LIFT’s - London International Festival of Theatre - 30th anniversary, and this year is the 2nd year with acclaimed artistic director Mark Ball at the helm. With it taking place from the 12th June until the 15th July - under a fortnight to the opening ceremony - the festival has the opportunity to make a lasting name for itself and give the city the perfect start to the summer.
With Globe to Globe and World Stages London also taking place across April and May, it promises to be a year of collaboration innovation, originality and co-production. LIFT’s plans will only enhance the London 2012 Festival.
This year will see the Festival’s West End debut with Elevator Repair Service's - the renowned New York Theatre Company - performance of Gatz. It’s an incredible 8 hour verbatim performance of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. On at the Noel Coward Theatre for just six weeks from the 8th June, and this is just one of a number of international collaborations to enthral Londoners this summer.
When you include the growing partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the presence the festival will have at Riverside Studios, the intrigue of new shows along with the increased opportunity to see them will guarantee a higher profile, and something Mark Ball is justifiably excited by.
“LIFT is a festival for the curious, stimulating the minds of inquisitive Londoners who are hungry to find out more about the world. Stretching across the breadth of London, from the West End to a unique performance in a car park in Croydon, we have strived to present the most compelling and engaging stories of our time. In a truly amazing year for London this is a festival of firsts, seared with the excitement of 6 new commissions and premieres that bring the stories of the world to our doorstep and provide fresh perspectives on what it means to live in this remarkable city. This is theatre and then some, giving Londoners thrilling and absorbing experiences that have come to define LIFT over the past 30 years.”
These six new commissions from companies around the world, in addition to 7 world premieres, 4 UK premieres and 8 London premieres gives London theatre audiences an unprecedented accessibility to new work from acclaimed international companies across the Middle East and all the way from Australia to Europe.
The wonderful thing about LIFT this year is that there is something for everyone to see and enjoy. If Gatz doesn’t tickle your fancy then how about being immersed in the strange and seductive theatre world created by dreamthinkspeak, on stage at the Hackney Empire representing 1% of the capital in 100% London. Or running around a car-park in Croydon in Hamid Pourazari's Unfinished Dream.
Wherever your theatre love lies, LIFT 2012 really will make sure the eyes of the world are on London this summer, and it promises to be anything but de rigueur!
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