Theatre lovers can firm up their calendar as the Liverpool International Theatre Festival (LITF) has announced they will be returning in 2022.
LITF is usually held at the Astor Theatre in autumn but will go ahead May 12-15 next year.
The 2020 edition of the event had been postponed until October of 2021 due to COVID-19.
Chairperson Jean Robinson-Dexter says they had hoped to host the event this year but given the state of the pandemic thought it would be prudent to hold out a few months longer.
“It’s disappointing in one sense that we can’t be together in October but we’re very hopeful that by next May most of the world will be vaccinated and we’ll have good travel protocols that we’ll be able to welcome these troupes here in Liverpool next May,” said Robinson-Dexter.
For four days every two years, the LITF welcomes up to a dozen theatre troupes to Liverpool from places as far away as Russia and Africa.
Robinson-Dexter says the influence of the festival extends deep into the community.
“We have social events and the troupes visit the schools and we have workshops and a fabulous opening ceremony then a closing ceremony where we present the awards,” said Robinson-Dexter.
Another highlight of the festival is what they call a coffee critique where experts adjudicate a troupe’s previous night’s performance in front of an audience.
“That’s usually a full house of folks that subscribe for the whole festival and attend that and there’s lots of lively discussion,” said Robinson-Dexter.
She says on March 13, organizers spoke with most of the troupes who were scheduled to perform this year to tell them of their plans to delay the event by six months.
She says they were understanding of the precautions and expects the majority will be involved with the May 2022 festival.
As to whether an audience will be waiting for the festival to return, Robinson-Dexter says from all she has seen and heard, people are craving engagement with the arts.
“My sense is that the community will happily fill theatre seats once we’re able to do that safely and we’re moving in that way,” said Robinson-Dexter.
The 2022 edition of the Liverpool International Theatre Festival will be significant not only for its return from the pandemic. It will also mark 30 years since the event was started back in 1992.
Reported by Ed Halverson
To listen to the broadcast of this story, press play below.