LIFT 2012


Shining A Light On The Stories Of The World

One morning in the office of a mysterious small business, an employee finds a copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter on his desk. He starts to read it aloud and doesn't stop. After a series of strange coincidences, the line between fiction and reality becomes blurred.  This epic 8 hour show was presented in the hear of London's West End at the Noel Coward Theatre.
The Rest is Silence
Much as Hamlet himself spoke of dreams from the 'undiscovered country', so does dreakthinkspeak's take on Shakespeare's epic tragedy in uncharted new territory.  This thrillingly visual deconstruction of Shakespeare's Hamlet interweaved performance and film to create a vigorous new interpretation of a well-known classic. Enclosed on all sides within a uniquely designed structure, we were drawn into a richly cinematic and dreamlike world. Scenes, film streams and visual sequences converged, collided and examined the play's themes and characters simultaneously and from a variety of angles.
Minsk 2011
Strip clubs, underground raves and gay pride parades pulse beneath the surface of a city where sexuality is twisted by oppression. If scars are sexy then Minsk must be the sexiest city in the world. Celebrate and mourn a land that has lost its way. A rare opportunity to experience a provocative and heartbreaking show from the revolutionary Belarus Free Theatre.  Belarus Free Theatre was founded in 2005 in Europe’s last surviving dictatorship; the company is one of the most outspoken critics of Belarus’ repressive regime. Many company members have served time in prison, lost their jobs, gone into hiding or been exiled. Despite this, the company continues to develop award-winning work with the support of artists around the world.
You Once Said Yes
Starting at the Roundhouse and weaving through the hidden alleys of Camden, you were requested to leave your possessions and preconceptions behind as you are guided through a series of encounters. Your interactions with the people you meet determined the path you take in this unique one-on-one experience. There were no spectators in this show, for this was your story.  Re-adapted for the streets of London, this Fringe First and Total Theatre award winner at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the latest production from Look Left Look Right, which places the audience at the centre of the action.
White Rabbit, Red Rabbit
A play in which the story and outcome were as much of a surprise for the performer as the audience. With no director and no set, a different actor each night read a script penned by Nassim Soleimanpour, who, because he did not sign up for national service in Iran, found himself unable to leave his country.  The playwright’s absence was symbolically marked by the empty chair reserved for him in the theatre, yet his presence was felt in every word, as he performed an act of theatrical ventriloquism with puppets who very much had minds of their own.
66 Minutes in Damascus
Inspired by the descriptions of Syrian detention centres from foreign journalists and local activists arbitrarily incarcerated by the autocratic regime 66 Minutes in Damascus puts the audience in the place of a group of tourists who visit the Syrian capital, only to be arrested by the Syrian secret service. Explore the reflections of the reality of life under autocratic governments across the world.
The Coming Storm
Turn theatre upside down and turn your attention to narrative-deconstructing and reconstructing something like a ghost story to test the limits of the forms. Forced Entertainment employed devices from amateur dramatics, puppet theatre, song and naive dance, they told an epic story that is resolutely too big for the stage.  The result was comical, contradictory and poignant; full of wrong-headed tricks, broken dances, sleazy drum interruptions and perfunctory piano accompaniment. Everything built and everything shimmered. Everything teetered and everything trembled. Everything was reshaped and everything was cannibalised.
There We Will Be Buried
With a cast including the renowned German artist Kai Althoff, this theatrical production was a visual arts response to the performing arts. As infantile paupers, Orpah and Lydia sustained their spirits through prayer - the only activity they're truly capable of performing.  Distracted, they swoon endlessly and are fractured into several simultaneous accounts of the same event.Everything that crosses their path remains with them for all time. Each character was represented, not only through their physical presence, but via prerecorded audio tape and on-stage video footage.
Unfinished Dream
A new work with refugees and local residents in one of London's most contrasting boroughs, Croydon, where wealthy commuters nestle alongside refugee communities.  This poetic storytelling inventive promenade performance reveals some of the hidden and moving stories of refugees whose lives are currently in limbo, all within the concrete confines of a city car park in Croydon.  Hamid Pourazari is one of the most exciting independent theatre makers working in Iran. His work with some of Tehran’s most marginalised communities is visceral, visual and unashamedly bold.
Motor Show
A car arrives in a hidden wasteland in which a young couple, completely oblivious to anything other than themselves, kiss, fumble, argue, listen to music, and plan a world for each other. They joke, love, break up, get back together, kiss more, love more, discover and disregard their differences and make promises they can't possibly understand. Their whole lives are stretched out before them and they are fireproof.  Motor Show was an original large-scale outdoor dance performance; a wild and fragile spectacle in an acre of forgotten land with the city skyline as a backdrop. The audience wore headphones which transported them aurally to the intimate interiors of the cars that they could see approaching from the distance. 
The Dark Side of Love
Explore Shakespeare's most painful and poignant moments deep in the Dorfman Hub beneath the Roundhouse. This unique underground space was transformed into a dreamlike underworld that draws on the rich cultural influences of one of Brazil's most exciting young directors and was suffused with stunning digital projections performed by a cast of 13 young Londoners.
Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad
Taking Shakespeare's timeless tale of tragic young love, this production relocated the doomed lovers amidst the sectarian strife of modern-day Baghdad, in a production suffused with ancient ritual and music, counterpointing the bleak cycle of violence and revenge with a nation's longing for beauty and love.  Presented in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Specially commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival, this performance of Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad marked the debut appearance at LIFT of the Iraqi Theatre Company, which was founded in 2008 by Monadhil Daood to revive the dynamic theatre tradition of a country which was, until recent times, a theatrical powerhouse in the region.
Ganesh Versus the Third Reich
A poignant, beautiful, disarming, full of vulnerability and sly transparency, this story begins with the elephant-headed God Ganesh travelling through Nazi Germany to reclaim the Swastika, the sacred Hindu symbol of auspiciousness.   As this intrepid hero embarks on his journey, the actors themselves begin to feel the weighty responsibility of storytellers and question the ethics of cultural appropriation, told through the tale of a young man inspired to create a play about Ganesh, God of overcoming obstacles.
Before Your Very Eyes
Performed by a cast of nine young actors aged 8 to 14 locked inside a room of one-way mirrors, the show turned ideas about age and innocence upside down as children peered into the future at their adult selves and back at their recent past, before leaving their childhoods behind forever.  In reflecting on the uncomfortable truths about society’s obsession with youth and the ageing process, this production provided a rare and magnificent opportunity to witness lives lived in fast forward… Before Your Very Eyes!
100% London
In a world bombarded with 'lies, damned lies and statistics' 100% London tells the truth of modern London life in a way graphs and pie-charts never can. 100 people representing a cross section of London's 7.8 million population were brought together to tell their stories on stage.  100% London has evolved from Rimini Protokoll's ‘reality trend’ practice that draws on the views of ‘experts in daily life’ and where everyday people are the principal characters.
Macbeth: Leila and Ben - A Bloody History
In partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, while the rest of Tunisia looks forward to a hopefully brighter future following the Arab Spring, look to the Scottish play for a new perspective on the seismic events that played out on the streets of Tunis and across the Arab world.  Macbeth: Leïla and Ben – A Bloody History made Shakespeare’s text startlingly and shockingly relevant to today, blending the company’s trademark multimedia techniques with TV reportage to portray deposed Tunisian dictator President Zine El Abadine Ben Ali and his wife Leïla as the North African equivalents of Shakespeare’s infamous King and Queen. Their determination to keep their grip on power shows that Macbeth’s story of brutality, backstabbing and blind ambition remains chillingly current.
Rio Artists Occupation
Marking the link between London 2012 and Rio 2016, 30 of the city's most exciting artists turned up the Brazilian heat in London in the run up to the Olympics with an eye-watering series of performances, parties, pop-up films and music events presented across the city.  This month-long occupation kicked off with a big Brazilian party thrown at Battersea Arts Centre featuring film, theatre and music. Guests were encouraged to grab a caipirinha, explore the building and enjoy the best Rio had to offer all wrapped up in one long party.
Where The Heart Is
The voices of East End women share tales of passion, friendship and belonging, guiding you through Aldgate and Brick Lane.  Over several months, a group of East End women aged between 15 and 80 met each week to share and map their tales of passion, friendship and belonging. Over the weekend of the 30th June – 1st July, they revealed their personal testimonies to the public.
One Extraordinary Day. STREB: Extreme Action
Guerilla actions of great beauty and awe-inspiring bravery, Surprises: STREB - One Extraordinary Day was just that, a series of breathtaking happenings taking place on and around some of the most iconic sites and structures of London, including the Millennium Bridge, City Hall, Paternoster Square, Trafalgar Square, the National Theatre and the London Eye.  A performance of power, daring and beauty that totally disarmed those lucky enough to see it, leaving them gasping in disbelief.
Credits: Story

Thank you to all our supporters and partners who enable LIFT to deliver a diverse and dynamic festival.


Arts Council England
Mayor of London

The Keir Foundation
Arts Victoria
Australian Government
Australian Council
British Council
EU Culture Programme
Time Out London
Saatchi & Saatchi Vintage
London Thames Gateway Foundation
Grange Hotels
Hackney The Rumi Foundation
Peyton and Byrne

Contemporary Myths - a project by Visiting Arts
Coutts Charitable Trust
Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation
Julia Rowntree
The Funding Network
The Tunisian Ministry for Culture
The Leche Trust
Goethe Institute
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
And the host of generous individuals who have supported us.

Directors Circle:

Kate & Paul Brundage
Judi Caron
Lily & Julian Harriss
Lydia Lee
Gerard Lemos & Paul Crane
Theresa Sackler
Alisa Swidler
Jay Verjee

And all the LIFT Board:
Bernard Donoghue (Chair)
Pat Brown
Jo Burns
Manisha Ferdinand
Craig Hassall
Phillip Keir
George Kessler
Karen Napier
John newton
David Phillip

LIFT works in association with WWF-UK


Battersea Arts Centre
British Council
Brighton Festival 2012
Delfont Mackintosh Theatres
Fairfield Halls
Gate Theatre Notting Hill
GDIF 2012
Hackney Empire
National Theatre
Norfolk & Norwich Festival
People's Palace Projects
Riverside Studios
Royal Shakespeare Company
Shoreditch Town Hall
Stratford Circus
Southbank Centre
Without Walls
The Women's Library
Young Vic

Imagine 2020 - LIFT is committed to developing a festival which promotes sustainability and minimises its environmental impact. This guides all of our activities, from ensuring the organisation is resource efficient to sourcing and creating our productions responsibly and working with staff, partner venues and suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of LIFT.

To see a complete listing of our supporters please visit

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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