Lara’s Placement experience
16th August 2016
My first day at LIFT began with a 7am start in a flat in Marylebone, in which a small crew armed with camera and microphone were frantically rearranging furniture, adjusting lighting and testing awkward under-glass-table angles to film the first shot of the #LIFT2016 launch video. From there we rushed to the Barbican, to Leather Lane, to Peckham to Canary Wharf to film the many faces of London for the film that would premier at the LIFT launch party. The party, brimming with yellow balloons rounded off my first week as a LIFT Content Placement.
My last day of LIFT festival also began with a small film crew, this time armed with a much larger camera and microphone, filming a mini documentary on LIFT for the German television channel. The day ended on the roof of a car park in Stratford, watching site-specific dance installations that were both fierce and fresh, created by local dancers and choreographers.
That close to six months lay between these two days is almost unbelievable. From the disbelief of first hearing about staging circus in an East End cemetery and 25 Japanese performers flooding the tiny stage of The Pit to marvelling at acrobats suspended high in the trees of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and sheltering in my rain-poncho from tofu and seaweed. Being able to watch world-class performances that I had spent months writing tweets, posts and emails about, creating films, images and other content for was such an incredible experience. Times like spending the day with near legendary playwright Neil Bartlett, visiting the old haunts of his Victorian cross-dressing muse Ernest Boulton, or sneaking a peek at intricate set design models by the talented set designer Chloe Lamford in a studio, backstage at the National, or sipping champagne in the labyrinth-like underbelly of the Barbican with French film star Isabelle Huppert, my six months at LIFT have been filled with extraordinary and surprising moments.
Even more memorable has been being exposed to work unlike anything I have seen before, theatre that is urgent, joyous, affirming and transformative, it has been reassuring coming at a time when feeling disillusioned has become very easy. It was said in a speech at the closing party ‘for those of you who have just experienced your first LIFT festival, you will never truly leave us.’ I sincerely hope that’s true.