LIFT, London International Festival of Theatre, is one of London's great experimental spaces. The festival began in the early 1980s, with the goal of bringing innovative international theatre to London. At that time, London's theatrical scene was more accustomed to celebrating British playwrights and productions. Year by year, LIFT introduced one innovation after another, and continues to break new ground today. See the LIFT website for their latest work.
Barbara Heinzen became involved with LIFT in 1995, acting as one of the advisors to LIFT's Business Arts Forum. Julia Rowntree, LIFT's Development Director, started the Forum which ran from 1995 to 2005. This experiment brought artists, business people and young people together to learn from each other and from the innovative theatre produced in the LIFT festivals.
The Business Arts Forum broke new ground be redefining the relationship of arts and business. Rather than seeing artists as supplicants asking for business money, people of all ages and professions engaged with each other in a process of shared exploration and learning. Many of the ideas in Barbara Heinzen's book, Feeling for Stones, were first tested in the Business Arts Forum.