22 Artists Address the Legacy of WW1 in AFTER A WAR at LIFT 2014, Now thru 6/29
LIFT 2014 presents After A War, today, 24 - 29 June 2014 at Southbank Centre and Battersea Arts Centre. The artistic response to war can be poetic, profound, harsh - and sometimes even surprisingly playful; a reaction to both the war itself and the long shadow it casts many years after the event.
LIFT artistic director Mark Ball, Forced Entertainment's Tim Etchells and 14-18 NOW (WW1 Centenary Art Commissions) have crafted a unique response to the anniversary of World War One by inviting some 22 artists from across the globe to bring their own insight to contemporary issues of war and peace, and the legacy of WW1.
"Whilst the anniversary of the first world war dominates the airwaves LIFT is interested in the hidden or more unusual stories of the impact of the war that defined the 20th Century not just in Europe, but across the world. 100 years later, what's happening on the streets of Battersea, in the refugee camps in Lebanon and in the cafes of Kinshasa can be traced back to that momentous moment when Gavril Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. After A War brings to life many of the connections and relationships that go undiscussed in the wider centenary commemorations" Mark Ball, Artistic Director, LIFT
"The artists we've invited are masters at giving audiences vivid experiences and encounters; uncovering new stories and opening up new ways of seeing familiar ones. Touching on the future of war, the possibilities of peace, the complexity of lived experience, these artists also create the kind of unexpected lines of connection and that help us to see the world more clearly." Tim Etchells, Artistic Director, Forced Entertainment.
From war in Syria to turmoil in Eastern Europe, WW1 continues to define global relationships, with its black and white images inextricably linked with the technicolour wars on our nightly news. Perhaps more surprisingly it has influenced fashion in Africa, as some of Congo's more creative soldiers returned from fighting in France, inspired by Parisian design. After A War features work from Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, D.R. Congo, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Switzerland, as well as the UK, and includes:
El año en que nací / The year I was born (Argentina & Chile)
Southbank Centre 24 - 26 June UK Premiere
A new show from Argentinian artist Lola Arias, whose exceptional work using the stories of real people is seared with authenticity. Eleven performers born in Pinochet's Chile in the 1970s and early 1980s tell the stories of their parents living in the grip of dictatorship. Like stunt doubles, the actors re-create their parents' lives with photographs, letters, cassettes, old clothing, anecdotes and elusive recollections. Playful and political, The year I was born gives a highly personal insight into the impact of war and conflict as two generations face one another in a reckoning of both the joy of childhood and chilling secrets.
The Great War (Netherlands) Southbank Centre 24 - 26 June
1914-1918. Millions of soldiers wrote letters to their loved ones from the trenches. Millions died in the fire and the mud. Millions came home with stories that could not be told - or heard. Just like after any war. Using live animation and a miniature film set, Hotel Modern & Arthur Sauer attempt to make these experiences tangible. The audience is witness to the reconstruction of the Western Front on a tiny scale, using soil, parsley and rusty nails. A Foley artist provides the soundtrack of the film: a rap on the table sounds like a had grenade exploding, the striking of a match is mustard gas being released. With moving intimacy The Great War deftly reminds us of the horror of war.
The Notebook *(UK) Battersea Arts Centre 24 - 26 June UK Premiere
Based on the award-winning 1986 novel by Hungarian writer Agota Kristof, Forced Entertainment's The Notebook tells the story of twin brothers evacuated to their grandmother's farm during WW2. Though strange and dysfunctional, the unnamed narrators are slowly revealed as struggling moralists, trying to live by consistent principles in a central Europe that is unraveling, and in a world given over to vice, cruelty and opportunism. Kristof's bold, crisp and reduced language is the basis for a compelling performance, as Forced Entertainment's Richard Lowdon and Robin Arthur stand side by side on stage to tell their story: an uncanny double act of two people trapped in one voice.
After A War (International) Battersea Arts Centre 27 - 29 June 15 World Premieres
After A War culminates in a three-day takeover of BAC by 18 international artists.
Battersea Arts Centre itself has a significant connection to the WW1 as the place where many Londoners were put on trial as conscientious objectors. It was also a recruitment centre, an air raid shelter, a centre for fundraising and a meeting place for the Suffragettes' anti-war meetings, demonstrations and talks.
After A War performances and events include:
Stan's Café* (UK) use thousands of dominoes to demonstrate the impact of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Finger, Trigger, Bullet, Gun.
Lucien Bourjeily (Lebanon) will invite you to draw out new maps of the Middle East.
Lola Arias* (Argentina) meets veterans of the Falklands War to explore the personal aftermath of wars.
Vlatka Horvat* (Croatia) with seven artists from each of the countries making up the former Yugoslavia, replays the history of the disintegration of their country.
andcompany&Co.* (Germany) play with the double meaning of the word 'Kriegserklärung' which signifies both a declaration, and an explanation of war.
Lara Pawson & Tim Etchells * (UK) create a sound installation drawing on her experiences as a war reporter in Angola.
Faustin Linyekula* (Democratic Republic of Congo) makes a dance performance about Paul Panda Farnana, WW1 veteran and the first Congolese person to receive higher education.
Tom Chivers & James Wilkes* (UK) deploy archival materials to uncover hidden and unexpected histories of wartime Battersea In The Listening Post.
Tim Etchells* (UK), creates a neon artwork for the front of BAC commemorating a group of conscientious objectors tried in the building.
Nassim Soleimanpour (Iran) and Actors Touring Company/Ramin Gray (UK), present interactive discussions of the choices that lead to acts of war, decisions taken during wars and judgments that end them in Blind Hamlet.
Inua Ellams* (Nigeria/UK), explores the experiences of Nigerian soldiers through letters written home.
Nutkut* (UK), discuss the impact Indian soldiers made on British culture and cooking, as the Royal Pavilion in Brighton was turned into an Indian Army Hospital in WW1.
After A War also includes durational installations.
A Dream Turns Sour* (UK) Battersea Arts Centre 28 - 29 June World Premiere
Operating within their own eccentric definitions, The Tiger Lillies are recognised as one of the world's foremost avant-garde bands, and the Godfathers of alternative cabaret. In A Dream Turns Sour they move between the trenches and the music hall to transform British First World War poetry - by the likes of Arthur West, John McCrae, Noel Hodgson and Wilfred Owen - into a haunting, angry, lyrical set of songs. Expect a startling mixture of opera, Gypsy song, Left-Bank Paris and black humour in a spectacular musical finale to After A War "Just brilliant and utterly fantastic! You'll never hear more perverse and twisted as well as haunting and sorrowful songs." - Marc Almond
*signifies LIFT commissions
Tickets to individual After A War events: £12 - £25. One ticket gives access for the whole day (except the Tiger Lillies A Dream Turns Sour - details below). However, it will not be possible to see all 18 events in one day, so each audience member will make choices which will influence their experience.
Multibuy Ticket Deals:
£30 for The Notebook and After a War Fri 27 June Day Ticket
£35 for The Notebook and After a War Sat 28 / Sun 29 June Day Ticket
£35 for A Dream Turns Sour and Fri 27 June After a War Day Ticket
£40 for A Dream Turns Sour and War Sat 28 / Sun 29 June After a War Day Ticket
LIFT is a festival of international theatre and performance that connects the World with London and
London with the World. LIFT turns the city into a stage on which artists with radical imaginations conjure visions of other lands, enthralling us with stories born in the worlds from which they come. Extraordinary global stories and intense visual and personal experiences come from dynamic new international voices, linking Londoners with artists around the world in events and productions that take place across the breadth of the city. From 2 to 29 June 2014.
14 -18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions - A programme of special commissions by leading artists from Britain and around the world to mark the centenary of the First World War as part of the UK's official centenary commemorations. The programme will centre around three key moments: 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), July 2016 (start of the Battle of the Somme) and November 2018 (Centenary of the Armistice). The first events will take place from June to August 2014. 14 -18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and by additional fundraising.
First World War Centenary Partnership Programme: LIFT is a member of the First World War Centenary Partnership. The First World War Centenary Partnership was established by IWM (Imperial War Museums) in 2010 and to date has over 2,500 members from across 45 countries. The Partnership is presenting a collective programme of activities and events to mark the centenary, developed at grass roots levels. This diverse and far-reaching programme has been developed to reflect how people want to remember, commemorate and debate the conflict in their own communities, in a way that is meaningful for them. 1914.org is the official website for the First World War Centenary Partnership. Throughout the centenary new events and activities will be added each week to the events calendar, produced in partnership with Culture 24.
Southbank Centre is the UK's largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits at the heart of London's most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. The Royal Festival Hall reopened in June 2007 following a major refurbishment and redevelopment of the surrounding area and facilities.
A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union and the National Lottery through Arts Council England; in partnership with the BritishCouncil and with the support of the Representation of the Government of Flanders in the UK, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Swiss Cultural Fund in Britain and Theater Formen.
Pictured: Hotel Modern and Arthur Sauer (Netherlands) present THE GREAT WAR, part of AFTER A WAR at Southbank Centre 24-26 June. Photo © Joost van den Broek.