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Rose Fenton and Lucy Neal, the co-founders of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), make an eccentric double-act. Having worked together intensively on the festival since 1981, in interviews they slip unselfconsciously into a kind of good cop/bad cop duality: Neal is the more bullish, talking about "quality" and "adventure". Fenton takes the gentler approach, with talk of "celebration" and "dialogue".

"We're interested in work which not only breaks the boundaries which divide the different art forms, but which transcends the boundaries of cultures," says Fenton. "London is the most culturally diverse city in the world, so we want to celebrate that, bringing artists, and audiences, into contact with each other." As part of this year's festival, for example, a Punjabi company is bringing a production of The Madwoman of Chaillot to Waterman's Arts Centre.

What is remarkable about the festival is that it never fails to live up to all these epithets of quality, adventure and celebration. When it started more than a decade ago, it was predominantly a festival of street performance, but since then it has been host to some of the best and most influential foreign work: the Maly Theatre of St Petersburg, the Wooster Group. There is still a tendency to programme work in unusual places, instead of theatres, including Bobby Baker's 1991 show in her own North London kitchen, and this year, Deborah Warner takes over the neglected St Pancras Hotel for a thoroughly adventurous project.

This week's hot tips: Japanese choreographerSaburo Teshigawara at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Noiject; Tunisian director Fadhel Jaibi's vision of the family, Familia (above) at the Riverside Studios; and Julian Clary in Jean Genet's play Splendid's, at the Lyric Hammersmith.

LIFT '95 info: 0171-312 1995

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