LIFT 2003 Launches Family Friendly Festival SeasonDate: 29 April 2003
The London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) launches this week with an expanded, seven-week "family friendly season" that runs from "May Day to Midsummer Solstice" (1 May to 21 June 2003) at venues across London.
The biennial summer festival, started in 1981 by directors Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal, seeks to introduce groundbreaking theatre companies and practitioners from around the world onto the London arts scene. This year's event includes contributions from Australia, Palestine, South Africa, Lithuania, Cambodia, Denmark and India as well as from England and Scotland.
Highlights of the season include: an acrobatic version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Lituanian Oskaras Korsunovas at Riverside Studios (20 to 24 May); Hansel and Gretel performed by Gruppe 38, one of Denmark's leading theatre companies, at Sadler's Wells (18 to 20 June); and two productions - Miladeh and Ramadan and Until When? - from the Palestinian troupe, INAD, whose name in Arabic means 'stubborn'.
The Scottish company TAG, which specialises in work for young people aged 5 to 21 years, will bring to of its own productions to Battersea Arts Centre (BAC). King Matt, about an 11-year-old who inherits his own kingdom, runs from 4 to 8 June; Dr Korczak's Example (pictured), set in a Warsaw orphanage in 1942 and written by Scottish playwright David Greig (Outlying Islands, Caligula), which runs 11 to 15 June. Following TAG, BAC will host Cow from Australia's Back to Back Theatre (17 to 19 June) and Cambodian shadow theatre Sovanna Phum with Rousey Dek (both 17 to 19 June).
This year's LIFT will also feature several site-specific installations. Shopworks, a work from Scotland's theatre-rites about a shop where the items for sale take on a life of their own, will be performed (1 to 22 May) in a disused shop in Tooting, south London. The Australian troupe, the Museum of Modern Oddities, will blend fact and fiction amongst the displays at South Kensington's Natural History Museum (3 to 17 May), and in the gardens of a children's charity office in north London, refugees from Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans will lead attendees through their own journeys in Strange Familiars (30 & 31 May).
Additional debates, lectures and other special events will also feature in the LIFT programme. For further information, visit the festival website.
- by Terri Paddock