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Stage One bursary recipient – LIFT at Southwark Playhouse

Harriet Hughes

By Harriet Hughes First Published 24 May 2022, Last Updated 24 May 2022

Liam Gartland, who received a Stage One producer bursary in 2022, is producing the revival of LIFT. A musical set in a London underground lift, in one man’s imagination, on its way to the surface during one minute. The show is now playing at the Southward Playhouse.

LIFT crystallises around the lives of eight everyday protagonists who chance to ride in the same elevator at Covent Garden tube station. In the 54 seconds of the lift’s passage, we are taken on a much longer journey that reveals the people behind the masks they wear, the secrets they dare not speak, and the unrealised connections between them.


The Stage One producer bursary scheme provides financial and practical assistance to help new producers get their first productions up and running, and to support their development. They support new producers all around the UK, and help over 120 new producers every year, with £130,000 in bursaries awarded every year. Liam Gartland is currently supported by the Stage One Bursary for New Producers.

Gartland Productions was founded in 2021 by Liam Gartland. With a continued passion for supporting graduates, Gartland Productions ensures three performers make their professional debut within the company of LIFT.

Leading the company, X Factor finalist Luke Friend (Footloose, American Idiot) will play the role of Busker. He will be joined by West End star Hiba Elchikhe (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Fiver), playing the role of Secretary. Direct from Westerburg High School, Kayleigh McKnight (Heathers, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) will play the role of the French teacher.

Liam Gartland started producing in 2020 founding both Gartland Productions and The Grad Fest. In 2020 The Grad Fest was awarded a ‘ONEOFF Special Award’ for their dedicated work throughout the pandemic supporting theatre graduates and was a nominee for the Industry Minds ‘Recognition Award’.

In 2021, Liam marked his West End producing debut at The Garrick Theatre with a sell-out production of Drew Gasparini’s award-winning ‘I Could Use A Drink’ after the critically acclaimed streaming production and was named one of Nica Burns’ ‘Rising Stars’.

In just under two years Liam has worked across a variety of London’s theatres with his producing credits including; Tell Me Straight (King’s Head Theatre), Maiya Quansah Breed & Billy Nevers In Concert (Phoenix Arts Club), I Could Use A Drink (Online Stream & The Garrick Theatre) & A Song For Christmas (Iris Theatre), Graduates At Cadogan Hall (Cadogan Hall), Grad Tidings 2020 (Southwark Playhouse), Next Thing You Know (Garden Theatre), Unplugged (Phoenix Arts Club), Grad Tidings 2021 (The Actors Church).


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