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This year’s London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) kicks off with a climate opera-performance which takes place on a busy beach at the height of summer. The audience look down on the action from above as the beach goers frolic, children scream and laugh and the music from the ice cream van tinkles in the distance. But is all quite as it seems on the surface? This award-laden show has already been seen at BAM in New York and around the world. There is plenty more in LIFT that catches the eye from Rosana Cade and Ivor MacAskill’s The Making of Pinocchio, a performance about what is true and what isn’t, which plays Battersea Arts Centre at the end of the month to the world premiere of Radio Ghost, an audio-driven, app based ghost-hunting game which will be at shopping centres in Brent Cross, Wood Green and Ilford in Early July.
The theatrical installation that stunned audiences in 2019 Venice Biennale will make its UK debut next year at the Albany in partnership with LIFT and Serpentine. The main house of the Albany will be transformed into a crowded beach, complete with 10 tons of sand and 13 vocalists taking on the role of beachgoers enjoying the sunshine. Imagine a beach – you within it, or better: watching from above – the burning sun, sunscreen and bright bathing suits and sweaty palms and legs. Tired limbs sprawled lazily across a mosaic of towels. Imagine the occasional squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. Then a chorus of songs: everyday songs, songs of worry and of boredom, songs of almost nothing. And below them: the slow creaking of an exhausted Earth, a gasp. Sunbathing characters will offer up a range of seductive harmonies and melodic stories that glide between the mundane, the sinister, and the surreal. From the sprawling tapestry of their lives emerges a piercing exploration of the relationship between people and our planet, captured in one afternoon on a crowded beach. Time to step into a sunny day by the sea and be reminded of the physical impacts of climate change.