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David Binder announced as Guest Artistic Director for LIFT 2018

David Binder

Theatre news

TONY Award-winning producer David Binder has been named as the Guest Artistic Director for London’s pioneering biennial festival of theatre, LIFT 2018, following Mark Ball’s departure to become Associate Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival.

Binder will work with Beki Bateson (CEO) to drive forward the artistic vision of LIFT 2018 and to deliver an ambitious programme of international work across London throughout the month of June 2018.

An international search for the recruitment of a permanent Artistic Director will commence this summer.

Binder has worked with LIFT over the past four years, most recently as LIFT’s Artistic Associate. He spearheaded LIFT’s presentations of Taylor Mac at the Hackney Empire, Andrew Schneider’s YOUARENOWHERE at Shoreditch Town Hall, Constanza Macras’ Open For Everything at the Royal Court, and Rara Woulib’s Deblozay in the streets of Greenwich and Deptford, during the 2014 and 2016 festivals.

In New York, inspired by Meltdown, Binder produced The High Line Festival curated by David Bowie. He also produced the Dutch New Island Festival on New York’s Governors Island — ten days of performance, music, theatre and dance from the Netherlands. His TED talk, “The Arts Festival Revolution,” has been seen online by more than a half million people.

Other credits include the Tony Award-winning production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 33 Variations starring Jane Fonda, and Of Mice and Men starring James Franco and Chris O’Dowd, the first Broadway show to be filmed by NT Live, plus a revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald.

After being introduced to De La Guarda at LIFT ’97, Binder was inspired to produce the show in New York and later around the world. Currently, he is co-producing the Barbican/Toneelgroep Amsterdam production of Obsession directed by Ivo van Hove starring Jude Law.

Alongside this new appointment, Beki Bateson will become CEO of the company. As an integral part of the LIFT team since 2009, Beki has been influential in enabling the dynamic collection of international work, which has become the festival’s trademark. Working alongside Mark Ball, Beki has been fundamental to LIFT’s growth, overseeing its development and establishing it as a cultural force on the London, UK and international landscape.

LIFT has been London’s landmark international theatre festival since its conception in 1981. Now with a year-round programme which culminates in a biennial festival, the work is consistently ambitious, presenting and collaborating with outstanding artists from across the world. Mark Ball leaves LIFT as the third Artistic Director following previous artistic leadership under Angharad Wynne-Jones, and co-founders Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal.

David Binder said: “I’m thrilled and honoured to be LIFT’s 2018 Guest Artistic Director. For two decades, the festival has acted as my unparalleled guide, taking me to every corner of London. It has introduced me to new forms, new ideas and new communities, and to international artists, who again and again, have changed the way I perceive the world. It has been inspiring to work alongside Mark and the team for the past four years and it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to work with Beki in leading the 2018 Festival. In these very challenging times, I think LIFT’s role is more vital than ever.”

Beki Bateson said: “The beauty and privilege of LIFT is that the values at the heart of our vision are held across the organisation. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with David, the Board, the team, artists and partners to deliver a world class, international festival and will relish the opportunities afforded in leading LIFT as CEO and welcoming and supporting the new Artistic Director.”