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London’s biggest theatre festival has announced its 2024 line-up

LIFT 2024 is upon us, with everything from provocative takes on Shakespeare, to a bat market

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski
Theatre & Dance Editor, UK
Bacchae: Prelude to a Purge, LIFT 2024
Photo: Laurent Philippe
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London’s biennial international theatrical blowout LIFT (that’s London International Festival of Theatre) is back with us for 2024, and has just announced an exciting new summer season that’ll take place across multiple London venues. 

As ever, some of this stuff can be a little difficult to get your head around until you see it, but on the whole it’s high-concept global theatre with hefty international budgets, work that you’d never normally see in the UK brought handily to London for your perusal – each of these shows is something you’re unlikely to ever see the like of again.

‘The Land Acknowledgement or As You Like It’ (Jun 5-9, Southbank Centre) is Indigenous Canadian provocateur Cliff Cardinal’s acclaimed, surprising marriage of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ and critique of the state of the reconciliation process between Indigenous communities and colonial settlers in Canada.

‘Bat Night Market’ (Jun 11-15, Science Gallery London) is a Taiwanese collaboration with LIFT that ‘ intersects performance, speculative design and science’ to plunge you into market set in a future where bats are extinct, in a show that celebrates bats and also interrogates differing ideas regarding eating them between the Eastern and Western world (probably one of those ‘you have to see it’ ones).

‘L'Homme rare’ (Jun 12-13, Southbank Centre) is a dance work from Ivory Coast dancer Nadia Beugré that subversively questions gender roles by having her male dancers perform gender-blurring choreography.

‘The Trials and Passions of Unfamous Women’ (Jun 14-22, Brixton House) is a collaboration with the great Clean Break women’s theatre company that compares the theatricality of our justice institutions to actual theatre.

‘Bacchae: Prelude to a Purge’ (Jun 18-19, Sadler’s Wells) is a wild dance carnival response to Euripides’s ‘The Bacchae’ by Lisbon-based choreographer and performance artist Marlene Monteiro Freitas.

‘L’Animale’ (Jun 22-23, Old Bailey), by Italian performance artist Chiara Bersani will take place in Old Bailey, and casts her a dying swan surrounded by elaborate sound and vocal design that makes each show different.

Finally, ‘ECHO (Every Cold Hearted Oxygen)’ (Jul 13-27, Royal Court Theatre) is a new work from exiled Iranian provocateur Nassim Soleimanpour, in collaboration with director Omar Elerian that will see a different unprepared performer each night attempt to tell the absent Soleimanpour’s life story. 

LIFT 2024 runs Jun 5-Jul 27. Tickets are on sale now. More details can be found on the official website.

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