Artbeat: weekly arts column

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. 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. 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". Twelve men reborn on the prison-asteroid Planet Alabama look back over the history of the African diaspora.

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.

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. The Teacher Forum is part of a wider project called Lift Learning, which is also running Lift 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 matine 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.


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