Lift, previously known as the London International Festival of Theatre, will return this summer, running for selected dates between 12 June and 24 August 2008 in Stratford, Shoreditch and at the Southbank Centre.

Lift was started in 1981 as a biennial summer festival aiming to introduce groundbreaking theatre companies and practitioners from around the world onto the London arts scene. From 2001 to 2006, the Lift Enquiry explored new, collaborative festival models.

As a result, Lift Festival 2008 now “reintroduces itself” along new, more audience-participatory lines, including a mobile meeting place called The Lift. Programming highlights include the UK premieres of international productions from Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, China and Canada.

The 2008 festival commences with a ten-day stint, from 12 to 21 June, in east London, with events at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Stratford Circus and The Lift in Stratford Park. It moves on to the Southbank Centre, with performances in the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, from 26 June to 6 July. The concluding dates, from 16 to 24 August, take place in Shoreditch Park as part of the local Shoreditch Festival.

Amongst the companies appearing as part of Lift are: India’s Dangalnama (performing outside their homeland for the first time), South Africa’s Magnet Theatre, Albania’s Shpressa, Australia’s Black Arm Band, China’s Living Dance Studios and, from the UK, Graeae and Theatre Venture. For full programming details, visit www.liftfest.org.uk.

- by Terri Paddock