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Stage Editorial

rsz_1rsz_gift.jpg The GIFT That Keeps On Giving

The Gateshead International Festival of Theatre (GIFT, to their friends) is shifting online. Bunting up!

GIFT is an artist led festival celebrating contemporary theatre. It was founded in 2011 by Festival Director Kate Craddock, and it brings together some of the most exciting theatre makers from across the UK, Europe and wider world for three days of festival fun. Except things, as you may have gotten wind of, are very different this year. We thought that they were going to have to kick it into the long grass, but – bing! – an email has just arrived from Kate: “In amongst all of the inevitable and understandable cancellations and postponements, I am writing with some good news. GIFT 2020 will still be going ahead between 1-3 May online, as a digital festival.

“We have been working exceptionally hard to develop plans with the artists who were due to be part of the festival in Gateshead this year, to create an online experience in keeping with the spirit of GIFT – with lots of opportunity for connection between artists, audiences and participants. We are celebrating this as a real opportunity for experimentation, and to build on the experiences from our online iteration of GIFT 2015.

“We realise that by moving online, we can’t fully replicate the live experience, but instead we are using this as an opportunity to explore what is possible across a range of open access platforms, and as a way of remaining connected as a community. We also see this as an exciting opportunity to reach new audiences and participants for GIFT globally. “Despite these times of such uncertainty, we are really enjoying our on-going work with artists who are cooking up a host of extraordinary experiences for audiences and participants to enjoy in their own homes. I am also really delighted to be able to maintain our agreement with the programmed artists and the freelance team who deliver GIFT at this point in time, at what is obviously a devastating time for the sector.”

GIFT, 1-3 May. giftfestival.co.uk