15th June 2001 at 01:00
Imagine being tucked into a bunk bed in a dimly lit room to listen to the tale of Thumbkin, the boy no bigger than a thumb, and being transported through the forest to the scary Ogre's house. You don't leave the security of your bed, but the sounds of the forest - and other noises, such as footsteps and knives - crowd in on you. This is what happens in Buchettino, one of the plays in this year's London International Festival of Theatre (Lift). Afterwards, children can take part in a free workshop and exercise their imagination still further. Buchettino is performed by Societas Raffaello Sanzio, an Italian company. Lift runs until July 8 and includes high-quality theatre from many countries.

Hittite Empire, a US-based black men's theatre collective, has created Skeletons of Fish, prompted by the bleak fact that one in every three black eight-year-old boys in the US will be locked up before he reaches the age of 25. The company has been working with UK artists Chakra Zulu for a year and has come up with a piece described by performance artist Keith Antar Mason as "Bluesiac - a cross-disciplinary, urban, micro-opera form in which the African's love of the spoken word meets visual imagery and technology to transform human perception and emotions". Twelve men reborn on the prison-asteroid Planet Alabama look back over the history of the African diaspora and tell stories from places as diverse as ancient Troy, Los Angeles, Strangeways prison and Greece, with the help of Japanese Butoh dance, hip-hop and cyber-imagery.

Lift is running Teacher Forum: the Creative Teacher, a course accredited by the London University Institute of Education designed both to encourage teachers' own creativity and provide them with support and professional resources. Twelve teachers, specialists at all levels, from nursery to FE, have committed themselves to monthly sessions and to evenings and Saturdays during Lift. Anna Ledgard, the course co-ordinator, says that the Lift productions will be source material for her students.

The next phase of the course, starting in September, will pair teachers with artists to devise a project in their schools, either with pupils or staff. Between Christmas and the end of the course in March, each participant will be required to produce an analytical assignment. This could be a 6,000-word essay, but can also be presented as a CD-Rom or video or in some other innovative form. There are Lift education projects taking place all over London, not only during the festival. The Teacher Forum is part of a wider project called Lift Learning, which is also running Lit Business Arts Forum, a year-round programme of seminars about cultural issues affecting the workplace. Festival tickets: 020 7863 8017. Information: 020 7490 3965; or

The Rambert Dance Company is celebrating its 75th birthday with a special season at Sadler's Wells in London which includes a family matinee tomorrow. This will be compered by Richard Wilson, best known for his curmudgeonly Victor Meldrew, who is a big dance fan. Some of the seats have been removed to provide standing room for 400 people who like the idea of promming near the stage. The programme includes Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, an athletic piece for 16 dancers, and Christopher Bruce's Rooster, with the music of the Rolling Stones. Tickets: 020 7863 8000.

Malcolm Morley won the first Turner Prize in 1984. To celebrate his 70th birthday, the Hayward Gallery has brought together 50 examples of his work - paintings, models and holograms - which chart his development as an artist over 40 years. Malcolm Morley in Full Colour includes "Superrealist" pieces from the Sixties and more recent models of boats and planes. Often autobiographical, Morley's work has been influenced by film and advertising. A series of talks and events will accompany the exhibition, and activities for children include a guided tour, workshops with a nautical theme and summer playschemes. Tickets: 020 7960 4242. Information: 020 7921 0951.

Patrick Stewart, once captain of the Starship Enterprise, is coming down to Earth at the West Yorkshire Playhouse this summer. His one-man show, Shylock: Shakespeare's Alien, does not link with his monster-filled past, but is a chance for him to reflect on playing this character, with plenty of examples from Shakespeare. There will be post-show discussions during the run from next Friday for two weeks. Tickets: 0113 213 7700.

At the Watershed in Bristol, Mark Kermode will discuss the impact of digital film-making on cinema in a special event on June 27, The Future of Film: Digital or Die. Organised with Sight and Sound magazine, the conference will include screenings and an exploration of the impact of new technologies on the industry. Tickets: 0117 925 3845.

Between June 25 and 29, the East Brighton education action zone will present Showcase 2001, a week-long celebration of the arts at the Gardner Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton. Work from 10 schools will be on show and there will be workshops on dance, creative writing, ceramics and music and evening performances of dance, drama, music and a fashion show.


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