LIFT, the leading London biennial festival of international theatre, has today announced the programme for LIFT 2022 – the first full festival to be presented by Artistic Director and CEO Kris Nelson and Executive Director Stella Kanu following the cancellation of LIFT 2020 due to the pandemic. The 2022 festival will form the culmination of a year of celebrations marking LIFT’s 40th anniversary.
LIFT 2022: Unexpected Perspectives will explore how the current global tensions including international conflict, ecological disaster and political turmoil impacts us all on a personal level. Through a line-up of topical, compelling and ground-breaking new work, the festival will explore personal circumstances, tensions on a global and intimate scale, and voices and issues hidden by the on-going pandemic. Bringing together a myriad of defiant voices from London to Nairobi and Milan to Helsinki, LIFT 2022 will see global experiences staged as intimate, exhilarating and powerful encounters in unexpected places. A festival rich in ideas, and a line up designed to challenge and surprise, LIFT 2022 invites audiences to see the world in a different way.
The first LIFT edition post-Brexit and post-pandemic offers audiences access to international theatre throughout the city from Islington to Ilford and Deptford to Wood Green. All LIFT 2022 shows have an allocation of £5 tickets available or are pay-what-you- can.
Kris Nelson, Artistic Director and CEO of LIFT says:
“We’re so thrilled to be bringing LIFT 2022 to life. London, it’s been too long.
Taking ‘Unexpected Perspectives’ as our theme, LIFT 2022 asks you to physically shift how you take in the world and experience performance – whether that’s from a birds’ eye view, around a campfire, or a game played in a shopping centre. In this year’s line-up you’ll meet artists from Nairobi to Vilnius, Milano to Helsinki and from right here in London. They are playing with scale – from a maximalist slice of life featuring hundreds of performers (and several tons of sand), to very intimate and personal experiences. They’re proposing theatrical and performative ways for us to interact and engage with the world’s pressing issues and urgent stories.
We’re installing a beach in the Albany as we welcome the world-renowned and absolutely sensational Lithuanian beach opera Sun & Sea. At this landmark presentation you’ll watch from above as performers sing from beach towels or play badminton matches. Sun & Sea places the threat of climate change amidst a lazy beach idyll, a contrast that makes for an unforgettably wry and poignant experience. Don’t miss it.
After you’ve immersed yourself in Sun & Sea, explore further afield in Deptford where we’re hosting an unusual event where films, DJs and a community party become a kind of performance aesthetic all unto itself. You’ll have a rare chance to dive into the world of Kenyan multidisciplinary artists the Nest Collective. Highly versatile, their artmaking encompasses empathetic and evocative films, provocative visual art exhibitions, and hosting must-attend parties. For LIFT 2022, the Nest will take up residency in Lewisham where they’ll bring us into their world. They’ll premiere The Feminine and the Foreign, their docu-portrait film of 18 activists across London and Cape Town, which together form intimate conversations on migrant, queer and Black experiences. And they’ll be hosting a Nairobi-meets-South London day party, joined by DJs from Deptford’s AJAA radio in an incredible garden setting.
In three shopping centres scattered across London, interactive theatre maestros ZU-UK will refresh your experience of the everyday. They’re inviting you on a ghost hunt where you seek out spirits found in everyday products, and the hidden stories of how products make it into our hands are revealed while you play.
On a more intimate scale, Italian-Armenian artist Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin will draw you close, submerging you in personal and political visuals and voices. For the UK premiere of Գիշեր -gisher, they will collaborate with eight London-based artists, including choreographic trailblazer Jamila Johnson-Small. Calling on their shared South West Asian and North African (SWANA) heritage, Nardin assembles a collage of reflections on geography, the body, heritage and conflict in this performance that begins in a Sadler’s Wells auditorium and ends in a gathering around a fire.
Glasgow couple and artist duo Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill offer a different kind of intimacy, an autobiographical meta-theatre that’s full of tenderness and surprises. Surrounded by puppets and cameras in the Grand Hall at BAC, the artists attempt to recreate Pinocchio amidst Ivor’s gender transition. The result is The Making of Pinocchio, a cheeky, tender and sexy performance that shows us how to create and recreate the terms of who we are to the people we love the most.
Over in Brixton at the Black Cultural Archives, Finnish artists Sonya Lindfors and Maryan Abdulkarim will guide you to discover the radical potential of dreaming in a celebration of community that is part performance, part think tank and part space for collective imagination. Across the river, 11 up-and-coming creatives from across London – the UpLIFTers – are taking part in LIFT’s Young
Producers Programme to devise, produce or present a multidisciplinary performance in a unique basement space in Shoreditch.
Each of these works asks you to shift your viewpoint, and they do it with a sense of adventure, curiosity and empathy. From all of us at LIFT and on behalf of our incredible partners across London, we welcome you. Enjoy uncovering these fresh takes, new views and unexpected perspectives.”
Sun & Sea – UK Premiere
Lina Lapelytė, Vaiva Grainytė and Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Curated by Lucia Pietroiusti
Vilnius and Kaunas, Lithuania
The Albany, 23 June – 10 July
Tickets: £5 – £25
A climate opera-performance on a beach that you watch from above
A crowded beach, the burning sun, bright bathing suits and sweaty brows and legs. Tired limbs sprawling lazily across a sea of towels. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. The squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance. Sunbathers sing languid songs of worry, of boredom, of almost nothing. Songs of early morning flights and half-eaten sandwiches in the sand, the crinkling of plastic bags whirling in the air then floating silently, jellyfish-like below the waterline.
Stories that glide between the mundane, the sinister and the surreal. Witness from above as an afternoon at the beach reveals a mesmerising exploration of the relationship between us and our planet.
Lithuania’s national entry for the 2019 Venice Biennale with an all-female creative team – visual artist and composer Lina Lapelyte (she/her)̇, writer and poet Vaiva Grainytė (she/her) and film/theatre director Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (she/her),. Sun & Sea received the festival’s top award, the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.
Curated by Lucia Pietroiusti (she/her), founder of the General Ecology project at Serpentine, the work has toured the world. Notable presentations include BAM (New York), New European Theatre Festival (Moscow), MOCA (Los Angeles), Teatro Argentina (Rome), Zurcher Theaterspektakel as well as presentations in Athens, Bentonville, Copenhagen, Hanover, Luckenwald, Malmo and Philadelphia.
An open call has been issued for volunteers from Lewisham to take part in the production, joining the thirteen performers on stage for an afternoon at the beach. For further information on how to apply, visit thealbany.org.uk
The UK premiere of Sun & Sea is presented by LIFT, the Albany and Serpentine as part of LIFT 2022, Back to Earth and We Are Lewisham.
We Are Lewisham is presented by Lewisham Council in partnership with the Albany. London Borough of Culture is a Mayor of London initiative.
Supported by the Embassy of Lithuania.
The Feminine and the Foreign – World Premiere
The Nest Collective
A LIFT Commission, supported by We Are Lewisham
Films, DJs and a garden party honouring Black Activism.
Nairobi meets south-London on the banks of the Thames. Kenyan multidisciplinary artists the Nest Collective are hosting a party, bringing Black sounds from the diaspora and intimate portraits of the lives of Black activists into a hidden palace in Deptford. Move from day to night in an explosion of music and film fuelled by street food and cocktails from local Black-owned businesses.
Internationally renowned filmmakers, fashion designers, visual artists and DJs the Nest Collective have collaborated with activists and artists in London and Cape Town all the way from their home in Nairobi, Kenya, to create a series of brief, evocative documentaries. Screening in the garden of Shipwright, these are intimate profiles of people who have pushed back against the forces that oppress and violate minority communities worldwide, with a focus on feminist, queer and migrant rights. The Feminine and the Foreign elicits memory, tenderness, and solidarity through evocative and expressive narration and visuals.
The garden will be brought to life by the Nest and a line-up of London DJs, including Deptford-based AAJA Radio, to soundtrack the afternoon.
Going deeper, the Nest will host a series of salons, Kitchen Conversations, in partnership with London Borough of Culture and supported by SOAS. Bringing together London’s feminist, trans, queer and ecological activists, Kitchen Conversations will connect Londoners who identify as Black, African, and African diasporic, for a series of intimate and in-depth conversations where they’ll explore activism, identity, and create new connections between the African Diaspora and people who live on, and are more connected to, the African continent.
While these salons are invite-only, they’re an example of how LIFT 2022 enables artists to connect deeper and more locally to London than ever before.
Commissioned by LIFT, Institute for the Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, the British Council and LIFT Tottenham. Supported by British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa new Art new Audiences programme, the Goethe-Institut London, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, We Are Lewisham and the Albany. Presented in association with Shipwright.
We Are Lewisham is presented by Lewisham Council and the Albany as part of the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022.
Գիշեր | gisher – UK Premiere
Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin
London facilitation by Jamila Johnson-Small
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells
Move from film to fireside and witness ideas of belonging and conflict
Գիշեր | gisher, by artist Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin (they/them), is a live work and video performance that touches on ideas of geography, the body, identity, heritage and conflict. Filmed and mostly written in Armenia, Գիշեր | gisher is a piece of two halves. Starting in the theatre, audiences experience a collage of sound and film. Then, echoing the oral traditions of SWANA (South West Asian, North African) communities, they will move outside to sit around a fire where the recorded audio responses of eight London-based artists will surround them as Nardin tends to the fire. It’s a captivating and lyrical work, bravely exploring the impact of geopolitics through poetic movement and visuals. Գիշեր | gisher’s first performance in July 2020 coincided with the re-emergence of the conflict between Armenia and Turkey/Azerbaijan.
A LIFT Commission. Supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Produced by Associazione Culturale VAN, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Regione Emilia-Romagna, Centrale Fies Art Work Space. Co-produced by Be My Guest – Network for Emerging Practices.
Supported by AtelierSì Bologna, ICA Yerevan, Movin’Up – sostegno alla mobilità degli artisti italiani nel mondo, Spazio Fattoria Milano, DiD Studio Milano.
Radio Ghost – World Premiere
Brent Cross, The Mall Wood Green and Exchange Ilford
Unlock ghost stories hidden in a shopping centre
Let DJ Iva Toguri guide you in an interactive ghost-hunt through a shopping centre. But you won’t be searching for headless kings or grey ladies in attics; these ghosts are of a different nature altogether…
In Radio Ghost you are a ghost-hunter, broadcasting your journey as you travel through the haunted shopping mall. Discover how things come to be in our hands, delivered to us by the hands of ghosts.
Radio Ghost is an audio driven, app-based walking game. You and your team will have to blend in as perfect shoppers to unlock the stories of the mall, following prompts as you navigate a world that knows the price of everything, and the cost of nothing.
A LIFT Concept Touring Commission, supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and co-commissioned by Tramway Glasgow and The Lowry.
The Making of Pinocchio – UK Stage Premiere
Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill
The Grand Hall, Battersea Arts Centre
29 June – 2 July
A true tale of love and transition told through the story of Pinocchio.
Join two artists on a fantastical journey through a real-life story as they make a new version of Pinocchio.
Set in a film studio crafted from real wood, and fake wood, and real fake wood, you are invited to go behind the scenes of Cade & MacAskill’s creative process and their relationship, and question what it takes to tell your truth.
Artists and lovers Rosana Cade (they/them) and Ivor MacAskill (he/him) have been creating The Making of Pinocchio since 2018, alongside and in response to Ivor’s gender transition. In this theatrical, and cinematic spectacular, their tender and complex autobiographical experience meets the magical story of the little lying puppet who wants to be a ‘real boy’.
With a rich scenography designed by Tim Spooner, layered with sound by Yas Clarke, lights by Jo Palmer and cinematography from Kirstin McMahon, the show constantly shifts between fantasy and authenticity, the playful and the political, humour and intimacy, on stage and on screen.
The Making of Pinocchio joyfully embraces the importance of imagination in queer worldmaking and the idea of transness as a state of possibility that can trouble fixed perspectives and inspire change.
LIFT, Artsadmin and BAC are thrilled to present the UK-premiere of this captivating, sexy and intimate new work that will receive its UK premiere in London ahead of a series of national and international dates.
Commissioned by Fierce Festival, Kampnagel, Tramway & Vooruit with support from Attenborough Centre of the Arts, Battersea Arts Centre and LIFT.
Produced by Artsadmin.
Funded by Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and Rufolf Augstein Stiftung with development support from The Work Room/Dianne Torr Bursary, Scottish Sculpture Workshop, National Theatre of Scotland, Live Art Development Agency, Gessnerellee, Mousonturm, Forest Fringe, West Kowloon Cultural District & LGBT Health & Wellbeing Scotland.
We Should All Be Dreaming – UK Premiere
Sonya Lindfors and Maryan Abdulkarim
Black Cultural Archives
24 – 25 June
Dream and dine together of radical futures.
We Should All Be Dreaming invites people to spend time listening and dreaming together in an attempt to collectively imagine new futures. Situating itself somewhere between a collective think tank, a choreographed gathering and a performance – the project invites participants to radically dream of new utopian futures together. We Should All Be Dreaming is a collaboration between choreographer
Sonya Lindfors (she/her) and writer and activist Maryan Abdulkarim (she/her), who both are interested in radical utopian and decolonial practices.
Over the course of a curated dinner party, invited guests will be led in group discussions to dream up common futures. This restorative and subversive work attempts to reveal, shake or break existing power structures and hierarchies to create a more inclusive society. The world around us is plagued by fear, anger and hatred, but We Should All Be Dreaming offers a different path – we propose gathering and dreaming as an act of soft resistance, making space for communal coexistence.
“The possible has been tried and failed. Now it’s time to try the impossible!” – Sun Ra Radical dreaming is how we get there.
WSABD is supported by Perform Europe, Rosendal International Theatre (Norway), CODA Oslo International Dance Festival (Norway), Oyoun Kultur NeuDenken gUG (Germany), LIFT (UK), Independent Dance (UK), Urban Apa (Finland) and H2DANCE/Fest en Fest (UK). Co-produced by Spring Utrecht – festival, Baltic Circle – festival and Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux. Supported by the Black Cultural Archives and 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance.
LIFT & Black Cultural Archive present
Black Cultural Archive
Artists, activists, leaders, thinkers, and dreamers from the diaspora come together for a week long residency to exploring one of the most significant collections preserving and celebrating Black British history in the UK. The residency culminates in a curated focused event inspired by this powerful collection. Performance, food and essential conversation unfolds as young Londoners explore the future of art and culture in London, amidst an ever-changing landscape fueled by gentrification, underfunding and racial disparity.
Presented by LIFT with support from the Black Cultural Archives.
LIFT Young Producers Programme – World Premiere
The Ditch, Shoreditch Town Hall
A mystery performance produced by the next generation of creatives.
LIFT is passionate about supporting the next generation of creatives. To fill the final spot in the 2022 programme, LIFT has partnered with Shoreditch Town Hall to bring together a group of young Londoners to take a deep dive into the live event producing process. Over 16 weeks a group of 11 young people passionate about social change, inclusivity and making live events a more accessible and representative space, will learn everything they need to know about producing multidisciplinary performance. They’ll be working together to animate the unique basement space, The Ditch, at Shoreditch Town Hall. Take a leap into the unknown and join us for a show created by London’s up-and-coming young creatives.
LIFT’s Young Producers Programme will see UpLIFTers – the festival’s six-year project in Tottenham – go London-wide, connecting young people across boroughs to learn and create together.
Supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, presented by LIFT and Shoreditch Town Hall.
LIFT 2022 will take place in various locations across London from 23 June – 10 July. Affordable ticket prices are available across the programme to allow more people to access festival events whatever their circumstances.
Tickets are on sale from midday – full details can be found on the LIFT website: www.liftfestival.com