LIFT, London’s international biennial festival of theatre, has today announced the appointment of Rosie Millard OBE as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Rosie, who is currently Chair of BBC Children in Need, Firstsite Arts Centre and Deputy Chair of Opera North, will take up the position from Bernard Donoghue in November 2021.

Rosie joins LIFT as the organisation marks four decades of commissioning and presenting joyful, daring and risk-taking theatre from around the world, using London as its stage. In her new position as Chair of the Board, Rosie will work closely with LIFT Artistic Director & CEO Kris Nelson and Executive Director Stella Kanu as the festival adapts to meet the political, social and cultural challenges ahead, helping to create a just and equitable cultural rebuild and championing artist advancement in the UK and internationally.

A journalist and broadcaster, Rosie has been reporting on and writing in the national press on the arts, popular culture, lifestyle and politics for over 30 years. For four years she led Hull 2017 City of Culture as Chair of the Board. Under her leadership the £35 million national event achieved unprecedented acclaim and international reputation for the city of Hull, for which she was appointed OBE. Rosie is the author of four books, one of which, The Tastemakers: British Art Now, is recommended reading at London University of the Arts.


Rosie Millard, OBE says: “To be immersed in LIFT’s unique blend of daring and artistry will be an enormous privilege. Theatre has always been at the heart of London life, but perhaps the joy and innovation of LIFT has never been so necessary. Helping bring the best of the world’s theatre to wider audiences right across the capital will be an honour, and I am delighted to follow the remarkable leadership of Bernard Donoghue as Chair of LIFT. Here’s to some very late nights and exciting days next summer!”


Kris Nelson, Artistic Director and CEO says: “LIFT is thrilled to welcome Rosie Millard as the new Chair of the LIFT Board. Rosie has demonstrated tremendous leadership in the cultural and civic spheres, lending her expertise and passion to some of the country’s most dynamic and vital charities. Her passion for maverick ideas, civic leadership and cultural democracy will find a good home at LIFT and her deep knowledge and skills will carry us far as we write this next bold chapter for LIFT.

This marks a great passing of the torch as Bernard Donoghue, LIFT’s longest-serving chair, moves on to new opportunities. Bernard’s impact at LIFT has been transformational. Through his 15-year tenure as a trustee and Chair, he gave LIFT’s board, leadership and team a rare and enduring commitment – for 15 years he offered us unflagging commitment, wisdom and enthusiasm for LIFT’s role as a life-changing arts organisation. That’s 15 years of backing LIFT’s audacious artistic adventures and the creation of innovative place-making initiatives like LIFT Tottenham. Ardent, empathetic and loyal, Bernard has been at the heart of LIFT and an invaluable collaborator, leader and advocate for us all. We will miss him tremendously and we thank him enormously for the boundless passion he infused LIFT with as our Chair.”


Bernard Donoghue, outgoing Chair of LIFT’s Board of Trustees, says: “It’s been a huge privilege and an honour to have been Chair of the Board of Trustees of LIFT and to have worked alongside 4 artistic directors, our amazing and generous trustees, and our creative and brilliant staff and volunteers. They have all taught me so much about what theatre can be and do, and I am so pleased to be passing on this responsibility to Rosie who completely understands the transformative power of theatre and festivals. You never really leave LIFT so whilst I am stepping down as Chair I’m renewing my membership and looking forward to being an audience member at the next extraordinary festival.”