Poster image for Turfed
Poster image for Turfed

The London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) will mark its 20th anniversary this year with a programme celebrating London's status as "the most culturally diverse city on the planet".

Events including the World Cup in Brazil and the 100th anniversary of the First World War will be in the spotlight, with work being presented at 15 venues across the capital.

"LIFT 2014 comes at a time when the world is experiencing seismic change," said artistic director Mark Ball. "We have looked at what makes up this astonishingly vibrant and tolerant city and made it a stage on which artists with radical imaginations will conjure visions of other lands, enthralling us with stories born in the worlds from which they come."

Highlights include After A War, curated by Ball with Forced Entertainment's Tim Etchells. Comprising work by artists from around the world, it will examine "the impact and legacy" of the Great War, culminating in a three-day weekend programme taking over the whole of Battersea Arts Centre (27-29 June), where trials for London's conscientious objectors were held from 1916.

Brazilian director Renato Rocha returns to LIFT with Turfed (9-21 June, venue tba), which sees a young cast from the UK, Tanzania, Brazil and the Philippines use their passion for football to discuss homelessness. Another football-themed show in this World Cup year is Michael Essien, I want to play as you… (24-25 June, Stratford Circus), a devised piece exploring "an underclass of football-aspirants in foreign lands".

Elsewhere, French company Rara Woulib will "transform the streets of London into a Voodoo carnival" with Deblozay (20-21 June), while in El año en que nací (Southbank Centre, 24-26 June), Argentinian artist Lola Arias brings performers born in Pinochet's Chile who reveal how their parents' actions during the dictatorship moulded their lives.

Mark Ball added: "We have discovered new ideas, commissioned artists with extraordinary insight, and spread this abundance right across London from Stratford East to Brentford, and Battersea to Finchley, in spaces as diverse as the Royal Academy, the Barbican, Sadler's Wells and the streets of London.

"This is something not to be missed – a sparkling, surprising and sometimes shocking window into this amazing world of ours."

For further information of LIFT 2014, visit liftfestival.com