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LIFT Festival 2018 to feature 1,500 glowing pigeons, new Punchdrunk and a party in the Tower of London’s moat

Andrzej Lukowski

The biennial London International Festival of Theatre is back for 2018, with another gloriously attention-grabbing programme. 

The show that everyone will no doubt be talking about is US artist Duke Riley’s ‘Fly By Night’, which will see 1,500 trained, LED-wearing pigeons soar over East Thamesmead in a beautiful homage to the 100,000-plus carrier pigeons that aided the British effort during the First World War. A co-production with GDIF and 14-18 NOW, it’s so audacious as to be essential. It’ll run in the skies above East Thamesmead from June 21-23.

Other highlights include a brand new show for kids from immersive theatre legends Punchdrunk called ‘Small Wonders’, in which audiences aged five-to-11 (and families) can venture into the flat of Nanny Lacey, which is full of miniatures detailing her extraordinary adventures (running at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham Green, June 2-July 13). 

Also a treat should be ‘Phobiarama’, a theatrical ghost train from Dutch artist Dries Verhoeven that seeks to explore ‘our contemporary culture of fear’ and will run in the middle of King’s Cross from June 8-18. Mammalian Diving Reflex’s ‘Nightwalks with Teenagers’ will be a ‘rebellious’ nocturnal tour of the City in the company of the group of Tottenham teens who devised it (June 1-3), ‘East Wall’, which will see 150 dancers and musicians under the eye of Hofesh Schecter fill the Tower of London’s West Moat in a celebration of the vibrant culture of East London (July 18-22).

Plus! Way more, including works from Taylor Mac, Anna Deavere Smith, Faustin Linyekula, Back to Back Theatre, National Theater of Korea, Gob Squad, Ahil Ratnamohan, Krista Burāne & Andy Field, and literally more.

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