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LIFT 2018 features Anna Deavere Smith and Punchdrunk

The biennial festival runs throughout June

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Taylor Mac
© Little Fang

Guest artistic director David Binder has announced the new LIFT 2018 festival programme, with appearances from Taylor Mac, Anna Deavere Smith, Dries Verhoeven and more.

American actress and playwright Deavere Smith will appear in person at the Royal Court for the first time in over 25 years to star in Notes From the Field. The run marks the show's UK premiere and runs from 13 to 24 June.

Notes From the Field is Deavere Smith's Obie Award-winning play which is drawn from interviews with over 250 students, parents, teachers and staff in the USA's school-to-prison pipeline.

Deavere Smith is known for her role in The West Wing and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by Barack Obama.

Punchdrunk have also announced the world premiere of a new piece for children aged between five and 11, written by Nessah Muthy and inspired by local stories from Tottenham. The show will premiere at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre and run between 2 June and 13 July. It marks the first collaboration between the company and LIFT.

Elsewhere in the season, Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven will bring Phobiarama to King's Cross between 8 and 18 June. The piece is an immersive excursion around the area which focuses on the contemporary culture of fear.

Between 21 and 23 June performance maker and footballer Ahil Ratnamohan's piece Mercenary will run at Battersea Arts Centre. The piece is a look at what it takes to make the stadiums of the FIFA World Cup.

A promenade performance will take place in Deptford, where Andy Field, Krista Burane and their collaborators Ieva Kaulina and Erik Eriksson will stage Nocturne. The piece begins at dusk and ends at dawn and offers a night view of London through Deptford and New Cross.

Taylor Mac's previously announced A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The First Act will run at the Barbican between 28 and 20 June, while Australian disability-led company Back to Back Theatre will run Lady Eats Apple at the Barbican between 14 and 16 June.

Gob Squad
© Jade Mainade

The Tower of London will be taken over by East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company for East Wall where 150 dancers and musicians will fill the West Moat in an outdoor performance inspired by people who have grown up in the area.

Simon Stephens, Scott Graham and Underworld's Karl Hyde's piece Fatherland for MIF will premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith between 25 May and 23 June, following its opening in Manchester last year.

Previously announced Southbank Centre shows including The National Theater of Korea's production of Trojan Women, Gob Squad's Creation (Pictures for Dorian) will also appear as part of the festival. Duke Riley's airborne show, where LEDs are attached to pigeons and conducted over Thamesmead in Fly By Night will run between 21 and 23 June.

American producer Binder said: "As a New Yorker I've always felt an affinity with London but never more so than in the last two years. Both of these great cities have had their identities challenged by their own countries and are fighting to remain, in all ways, open. It seemed irrefutable that LIFT 2018 would be more urgent and necessary than ever before in its 37-year history."