Kris Nelson announced as LIFT’s new Artistic Director and Joint CEO
5th July 2017
We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Kris Nelson as our new Artistic Director and Joint CEO
Kris is currently Festival Director of Dublin Fringe Festival, Ireland’s largest multi-disciplinary arts festival and one of the world’s only fully curated Fringe Festivals. His leadership of the 2014-2017 editions has made Dublin Fringe the place where experimental work becomes popular, and the popular can get daring. During his tenure, Fringe has launched hundreds of bold new works by some of Ireland’s leading independent and emerging theatre, dance, circus and comedy artists, and introduced iconoclast international makers to Irish audiences. He has created new Irish and international co-presenting, touring and artist exchange partnerships and secured foundation and sponsorship support for the festival’s ambitious programme. In 2016, Dublin Fringe Festival attracted its highest audience in over a decade with almost 40,000 people attending.
Kris Nelson said “It’s an honour to be appointed LIFT’s next Artistic Director and Joint CEO. LIFT’s dedication to artistic ambition and commitment to connecting London to the vanguard of British and international theatre is unparalleled. After four wonderful years in Dublin, I am looking forward to making London my home, strengthening ties with UK and international artists and colleagues and making my mark on a festival that creates such a singular celebration of the city. LIFT has an incredible legacy, shaped by visionary artists and leaders and I’m thrilled to be charting its next bold moves alongside Beki Bateson and LIFT’s dynamic team and Board of Trustees.”
Kris will take up the role in April 2018, joining the team ahead of next year’s Festival where he will lead on the development of the year round programme, LIFT 2020 and beyond while David Binder continues as Guest Artistic Director for LIFT 2018 with Beki Bateson as CEO.
Beki Bateson said “I’m delighted that Kris will join me in leading LIFT and driving forward the artistic vision of one of our most relevant cultural institutions. His verve and commitment to supporting bold artists makes him the perfect fit for LIFT as we continue to pioneer original international work. I and the team are excited to collaborate with him on the next chapter of the LIFT adventure.”
Bernard Donoghue, Chair of the LIFT Board, said “I am delighted that Kris has accepted our invitation to be the next Artistic Director of LIFT and Joint CEO with Beki Bateson. Kris has the most fantastic track record in programming and producing provocative, entertaining, disruptive, energising theatre and events. His work most recently at Dublin Fringe Festival has been inspiring and I know he will be a wonderful new addition to the London and UK festival and theatre scene. The team and I are very excited to be working alongside Kris when he takes up the role next year.”
Director, Dramaturg and Artistic Director for over 10 years, Kris Nelson has worked extensively in multi-disciplinary arts in Canada, where he lived until 2013, and Dublin for the past four years, leading the fully curated Fringe Festival. After 4 years at the helm, Kris will leave the Dublin Fringe Festival at the end of the year, having curated over 300 shows during his time there. Through his tenure Kris’ artistic vision has seen audience numbers grow from strength to strength with landmark productions including; brave large-scale outdoor work such as HARP | A River Cantata with Ulysses Opera Theatre on Samuel Beckett Bridge; Dublin Oldschool, How to Keep an Alien, Charolais and Hope Hunt; the return of the Spiegeltent first to Dublin’s northside in 2015, then in a 16-day garden party in Merrion Square in 2016 marked by the co-production of RIOT by THISISPOPBABY, the first-ever all-Irish Spiegeltent show; world premieres from Irish companies Brokentalkers, Junk Ensemble, Emily Aoibheann, Philip Connaughton, Aoife McAtamney and Ruairí Donovan and theatrical adventures from Collapsing Horse, Louise White, Shaun Dunne and Company SJ. Kris introduced Dubliners to new works by leading international artists including Tanya Tagaq, Kim Noble, Claudia Dias, Hot Brown Honey, Matija Ferlin, Company 2 and Justin Vivian Bond.