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CRACKz c. Nika Kramer

We Have LIFT Off!

23 May 2014 Charlie Kenber

With so much to choose from, we pick out some highlights from this year’s festival…

Returning for its 20th year, LIFT (the London International Festival of Theatre) is becoming an increasingly important event in the capital’s cultural calendar. Celebrating the very best of theatre from around the world, you can always expect shows that will inform, move and question. With a remarkable eleven bones broken by performers since its first occurrence in 1981 however, the festival hasn’t been without controversy and struggle…

But that’s all part of it. When you state your mission as “searching the globe to bring Londoners the most powerful performances of our time,” you’re going to have to crack a few eggs, proverbial or not.

The festival has done it all: from performances at London Zoo, in power stations or on rooftops to the epic 8-hour-long Gatz in 2012, organisers continue to programme theatre that will challenge, provoke, and perhaps most importantly, encourage you to dream.

This year’s line-up is bursting with talent, and in true LIFT fashion all the shows are right up to the minute. Whether the performances deal with the rapidly approaching (as I’m sure Brazilian authorities are all too aware) World Cup, or the centenary of the First World War, this is contemporary theatre at its most relevant.

Tough as it is to pick some highlights from such a strong field, here are a few shows that particularly caught our eye…

 

 The Roof

Co-directors Frauke Requardt & David Rosenberg collaborate on their third show for this site-specific performance, taking place at Doon Street Car Park by the National Theatre. Details are pretty hush-hush, but if their last two projects Electric Hotel and Motor Show are anything to go by, it’s sure to be excellent. Audience members wear headphones throughout, with 3D sound design immersing you in the show, whilst free-running-inspired movement brings the action home.

To really get a feeling for The Roof check out the frankly excellent trailer below:

 

 

The Roof is on from 30th May – 28th June. Tickets from £19.50, available here. The show involves standing throughout and will take place in all weathers.

 

 Red Forest

The remarkable Belarus Free Theatre head to the Young Vic for this show inspired by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 which killed nearby forests, and turned them a bright red. The play examines the impact man has on his environment, weaving together tales both ancient and modern. The company have had to struggle much more than most to bring their work to the stage – formed in 2005 under Europe’s last surviving dictatorship, many of their members have served time in prison or even been exiled, but they continue to produce groundbreaking work that questions our time.

Red Forest is on at the Young Vic from 12th June – 5th July. Tickets from £10, available here.

 

 After a War

Taking over the Battersea Arts Centre for three days, this festival-within-a-festival examines the fallout of the First World War in depth. Co-curated by Tim Etchells (Artistic Director of Forced Entertainment) and 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, 25 artists from across the world will be coming together to explore the global legacy of the conflict. From a representation of the impact of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination using thousands of dominoes, to an invitation to redraw the maps of the Middle East, there’s plenty to get you thinking.

After a War takes place at the Battersea Arts Centre from 27th – 29th June. Tickets from £20, available here.

 

 CRACKz

Founded in 1996 and headed up by Brazilian choreographer Bruno Beltrão, street dance company Grupo de Rua continue to subvert the stereotype that surrounds the form, in an attempt to transform its place in theatre. This new show was inspired by movements and gestures that Baltrão’s dancers found on the internet, which were then pieced together into a fusion of street and contemporary dance. Head along to see a real challenge to the conventions of hip-hop dancing.

CRACKz takes place at Sadler’s Wells on 3rd & 4th June at 7.30pm. Tickets from £12, available here.

 

 Turfed

Directly inspired by the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, this promenade performance uses football to explore youth homelessness around the world. The title itself is a play on words: referencing both the surface of a football pitch and the experience of being expelled from a home. The show takes place in a secret London location, and uses choreography, visuals and personal stories to drive its point home.

Turfed is on at a secret location from 9th – 21st June. Tickets from £10, available here.

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