Mark Ball was appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Executive of LIFT in April 2009. Prior to his appointment at LIFT, Mark established Fierce Earth Ltd in 1997, which specialises in the production and presentation of cultural events, festivals and programmes. From 1998 - 2007 he directed Fierce!, an annual international festival of theatre, live art and contemporary dance taking place across the West Midlands which is now widely recognised as one of the UK's most vibrant contemporary arts festivals. In January 2008 he was appointed Head of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, leading a new department responsible for developing the profile of the RSC amongst new audiences by producing and delivering a range of high profile artist-led projects and commissions. In November 2005, Mark was named the Institute of Director's (IoD) Young Director of the Year and was made a Clore Fellow in 2006/2007 and in 2012 was named by Time Out and The Stage as one of the ten most influential people in British theatre. He also holds posts at a number of arts organisations including trusteeships at Frantic Assembly and the Live Art Development Agency.