Nothing is Impossible / LIFT Festival

Image of London skyline with hot air balloons for Nothing is Impossible by MA Creative Producing students at Central

A two day event exploring the arts festival revolution: LIFT and The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama are proud to announce Nothing Is Impossible, a public event exploring the power of arts festivals, connecting with local and global audiences and realising our creative potential


~ Vikki Heywood (CBE, Chairman, RSA)

About the event

Over two days of dialogue and presentations and inspiring and practical insights, pioneers of the cultural and media sectors will share why they find the festival model so compelling and how they have conjured up and delivered festivals in various forms.

As the UK theatre critic Lyn Gardner once wrote, ‘a great festival can show us a map of the world, a map of the city and a map of ourselves’ and for almost 40 years, LIFT’s world-renowned biennial festival has taken artists, partners and audiences on radical journeys – disrupting convention, uniting strangers, celebrating humanity and bursting open political and social urgencies of our times.

With over 1000 festivals across the UK from one day events to several months; in cities, fields, online and across oceans – what is it about this model that is so compelling and can it withstand the challenges ahead? The event will feature panel and breakout discussions, as well as artistic presentations and film.

Keynote speakers include: Beki Bateson, LIFT (CEO), Richard Huntington, Saatchi & Saatchi London (Chairman & COO), Selma Nicholls, Looks Like Me (CEO & Founder), Kris Nelson, LIFT (Artistic Director/Joint CEO Designate), artists and Alice Fleming and Darren O’Donnell, Helen Shute, Rambert (COO) and Bernard Donoghue, ALVA (CEO) and Mayor of London (Ambassador for Cultural Tourism) and David Binder (Guest Artistic Director LIFT 2018 and Artistic Director Designate, BAM)

This event is for you if you want:

  • some space to reflect and refocus on your festival game
  • to get a flavour of how festivals work and resonate with communities and shared values
  • to hear from experts in the field and meet fellow makers
  • to set up a festival and need some tools and encouragement to make it a reality

With inspiring and practical insights from pioneers of the cultural and media sectors Nothing Is Impossible will give you some top tips, lessons from major successes and epic fails and a network of peers. The event will enable you to join the dots and help you work out how to realise those ideas which might have appeared impossible or in the future. Built around a series of talks, panel discussions, surgeries and conversation, you will come away with a bundle of inspiring new ideas and an address book full of new sector friends.

Day One, Friday 23 March, 2-9pm

  • Arrival & networking
  • Festival Revolution – TED talk and presentation with David Binder and Beki Bateson
  • Festival Flavours – a panel of festival makers reflect on their craft and purpose chaired by Bernard Donoghue – CEO, ALVA, LIFT Chairman and Mayor of London Ambassador for Cultural Tourism
  • Curating to Connect – how a festival programme can engage communities and support visions with reflections on the renowned WOW festival
  • Shaking Up the System – a conversation with change-makers who dared to step into their dreams including Selma Nicholls, Looks Like Me Founder and CEO
  • Field of Dreams – active session engaging with participants ambitions
  • Networking & drinks

Day Two, Saturday 24 March, 9am – 5pm

  • The revolution will not be televised – a game led by our UpLIFTers (13/14 years) to challenge our preconceptions of working with young people
  • Creating to Connect – reflections on creating work that draws on the local population and working with atypical collaborators from practioners Darren O’Donnell and Alice Fleming
  • Thumbstoppers – how to stand out, have a great brand and be distinct with Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi London Richard Huntington
  • Breakout sessions
  • Risk, Relevance, Resilience – how ambition and risk can reap rewards
  • Artist talk
  • The Future of Festivals – LIFT Artistic Director Kris Nelson
  • Q&A


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Venue Location

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

62-64 Eton Avenue
Greater London, England NW3 3HY

Event price


Event dates

23 Mar 2018 - 2:00pm to 24 Mar 2018 - 5:00pm

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