Posted 3 August 2021
Celebrate 40 Years of LIFT!
As London’s biennial international festival of theatre, we have been commissioning and presenting joyful, daring and risk-taking theatre from around the world for 40 years, using the whole of London as our stage.
Today marks 40 years since LIFT launched its first festival on 3 August 1981. That’s 40 years of:
- Connecting international artists to London and championing different perspectives;
- Supporting the best international art makers in London to present meaningful work;
- Backing intrepid artists to pioneer new forms that are now part of the mainstream;
- Evolving our practice to bring the arts to underserved communities;
- And shaping the cultural landscape of the city we love to call home.
In the context of Brexit, the pandemic, the rise of populism and the growing threat of climate change, we believe a festival celebrating London and connecting us to international perspectives is more important than ever.
LIFT is adapting to meet these changing times. This year, and for the next 40, we will strive for a just and equitable cultural rebuild. We will champion artist advancement at home and aboard. And we will be leaders in sustainable internationalism, exploring new ways to collaborate globally that reduce our impact on the climate. Join us!
A Message from LIFT Chair, Bernard Donoghue:
“Forty years ago martial law was declared in Poland; Francois Mitterand became the President of France; President Sadat of Egypt was assassinated; and President Reagan secretly gave US support to Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Rioting in Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and London occurred in response to systemic racism and IRA prisoners in Northern Ireland began hunger strikes. Only Fools and Horses was broadcast for the first time, Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision Song Contest, and we had the first London marathon.
It was a time of international and domestic unrest. Political tectonic plates were shifting and grassroots political movements were using theatre and culture to proclaim their messages and galvanise followers. This was the backdrop for the creation of LIFT. LIFT’s founders, Lucy Neal and Rose Fenton, saw the world in all of its flux, uncertainty, beauty and diversity, and wanted to bring the world’s performers, storytellers and theatre-makers to London.
Since then, LIFT has provided a platform for new voices, for the disruptive and the provocative, the political and the brave. We have been pushing the notion of theatre and performance, exposing London audiences to revolutionary artists and theatrical experiences. LIFT has literally reframed and reshaped international theatre and theatre festivals globally. It’s never been more important to listen to voices from around the world, to discuss and to converse, to learn and to share. To delight in the absurd and to be reminded of our common humanity.
Being a member and a supporter of LIFT enables that to happen. I have been privileged to be a supporter of LIFT for over 15 years. It has changed my life and the way I view theatre, and I am hugely excited for the next chapter, the next surprises, and the next 10 years of celebrating the world in London, and London in the world.”
Supporting LIFT’s Future
LIFT is a registered charity. We need regular support so that we can continue presenting brave ideas and unforgettable experiences across London.
Today also marks the launch of our new membership programme, which brings members closer to the LIFT family, our artists, processes, and the support we provide through creative activities to those that need it. LIFT members share special experiences with a network of like-minded people and are integral to our work supporting London to rebuild through innovative, invigorating and dynamic cultural experiences.
To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we’ve also launched a new membership level! We recognise that younger people want to give to the organisations’ they love and support, but don’t always have the means. So if you’re between 18 and 40 years old, you can join the LIFT family for as little as £3.33 per month, and receive the same experience as our Community Members.