TitleRecords of the London International Festival of Theatre
DescriptionRecords relate to the organisation and running of LIFT festivals and other events from 1981-2001 and include material about the companies that performed, planning documents, directors' notebooks, technical and artistic documents, and research and marketing material. Records exist here that also show the history of the company since its inception and include board papers and funding documents. The photograph and video series includes promotional material from companies and documentation of festival events, and spans 1981-2001, as does the audio collection which mainly includes recordings of LIFT talks and discussions. There are also some objects in the collection that are related to LIFT events. A large collection of international festival programmes also spans 1981-2001 and print material such as programmes, flyers, and posters exists for this period also.
AdminHistory Originally called the London International Festival of Student Theatre, LIFT was formed in 1980 by Rose de Wend Fenton and Lucy Neal inspired by their participation in a Student theatre festival in Portugal. LIFT became a registered charity in 1981 and in that year, along with another student, Simon Evans, Rose and Lucy organised the first London International Festival of Theatre which presented companies from Poland, France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Malaysia, West Germany, Japan, Peru, and the UK. Following the success of the first festival Rose and Lucy, along with a growing number of permanent and freelance employees, volunteers and placements, researched and organised another eleven festivals including one 'Out of LIFT' season especially for young people. In the early years LIFT had to overcome a number of funding problems including almost having to cease trading in 1983 and the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986.

LIFT continued to present and commission work from all over the world; in the period 1981-2001 companies from over 60 countries participated in the festivals. LIFT presented theatre for a variety of audiences, both in conventional theatres and at unusual and different sites. Over the years work has been presented at places such as Bankside Power Station, the site for the LIFT ‘93 Launch, Limehouse Basin, the site for Welfare State International's 'The Raising of the Titanic' LIFT '83, and Euston Tower, the site for Deborah Warner's 'The Tower Project' in LIFT '99. LIFT not only presented new theatre it also re-presented old or forgotten places in London.

In 1991 LIFT piloted an Education and Community Programme in order to devise a long term strategy for working in this sector in the future. An Education Officer, Tony Fegan, was employed in 1993 and produced LIFT's first Education Programme for the 1993 festival called the BT LIFT Education Programme. By LIFT '95 the Learning Programme was integrated into the main programme of festival events and has remained so ever since. Festivals presented many education and community projects including 'Sang Song 'River Crossing' at LIFT '93, 'Sirk Uzay 'Celestial Circus' at LIFT '95, and 'Utshob' in LIFT '97.

From early on LIFT, realising the potential for debate and learning that existed in the coming together of different cultures and countries included workshops and discussions in the festivals. LIFT '93 launched the first Daily Dialogues and each festival had lectures or forums in addition to the main programme of events.

Other projects grew out of LIFT's passion for learning and participation. In 1996 Phakama, an international arts exchange project for young people, was born, the first Business Arts Forum took place in 1995 and the Teachers Forum began in 1999.

After twelve festivals LIFT decided to break with the traditional biennial festival format and enter the Enquiry period, a five-year venture to investigate theatre and present year round events.

The organisation changed its name to Lift in 2006.
ExtentApproximately 41 linear metres
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