Monthly Archives: August 2017

Over 60s enjoy Caribbean inspired social at Sadler’s Wells

Our Lilian Baylis Arts Club (LBAC) helps those over 60 connect with the arts and our Sadler’s Wells programme. Participants have the chance to hear talks from dancers, choreographers, designers and singers and to take part in workshops. Over the summer, members of the club enjoyed activities such as a trip to the Islington Museum to see the Sadler’s Wells archive, and heard a talk by Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding about the Autumn 2017 programme.

In partnership with All Change, a charity which delivers innovative arts projects that bring together artists and communities in north London and beyond, LBAC threw a special Caribbean-inspired Rub-a-dub social celebrating the end of the summer term. ‘Rub-a-dub’ is a style of reggae developed in the late 1970s preceding dancehall.

The event included a dance workshop by Candoco, a dance company comprised of disabled and non-disabled dancers with a focus on rethinking what dance is and who can dance. Candoco has been working with residents of The Mildmay Extra Care Centre and they were joined at the workshop by Hackney Elders Group, the Holloway neighbourhood group and the African and Caribbean Senior Citizens organisation at Mildmay Community Partnership.

Donald Edwards, Co-Founder of Phoenix Dance company and RJC Dance Theatre, ran a workshop engaging participants with rock’n’roll, calypso, reggae and ska dance.

Tony Nwachukwu, member of the trip-hop band and production outfit Attica Blues, provided the music whilst the members took over the dancefloor to show off some of their best moves. There was also a delicious rum cake, baked in the Sadler’s Wells kitchen, for everyone to enjoy!

The event was a fantastic send off after a packed summer term for the club, and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back for the autumn term!

 Find out more about how to get involved in our Lilian Baylis Art Club here.


Images: Lauren Matthews for All Change

Pupils discover theatre technology at Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells inspired a group of primary school pupils to learn more about theatre technology as part of a scheme introducing children to diverse STEM role models. Designed for Hackney primary schools, iDiscover aims to excite pupils in their studying of the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) by understanding how these are applied in the workplace.

As part of the scheme, Thomas Fairchild Community School and Colvestone Primary School visited Sadler’s Wells in May and July for a week-long programme of work-related STEM activities. The workshops demonstrated how technology is used within the creative industries, with participants watching live demonstrations of how technology plays a part in the staging of Sadler’s Wells shows, as well as engaging in some hands-on group activities.

At each session, a group of around 30 children aged 8-9 took a backstage tour of the theatre. Sam McLeod, our Head of Lighting and Sound introduced the job of a lighting technician, showing the children how to focus, control and change the colours of the lights on stage. Technician Tom Pritchard also talked the students through the job of a Sound Technician, demonstrating the sound desk and showing the students how to control volume and use the microphones. Finally, Technical Manager for the Peacock Theatre Chris Booth introduced the job of Production Manager, explaining stage terminology, leading them through the process of building and designing a set and illustrating special effects such as smoke and pyrotechnics.

It was fantastic to engage the children with the STEM subjects through practical learning at Sadler’s Wells, and we hope the experience may inspire some of them to pursue technical roles in the arts in the future!

Images: students backstage at Sadler’s Wells theatre taking part in an iDiscover STEM workshop.

Family shows: From the page to the stage

Nothing beats the magic of seeing favourite characters appear live on stage, and this season we have some of our most loved fictional friends in our theatres.

Tucked away in our Lilian Baylis Studio you will find The Little Match Girl (13 – 24 December) selling her wares on a cold Italian street in Arthur Pita’s delightful dance theatre take on Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless tale. As the night draws in on Christmas Eve, she finds herself caught out in the cold with only the spirit of her beloved Grandmother to guide her.

Over on the main stage, we sneak into Geppetto’s workshop as he constructs the puppet that will one day be a real boy, in Jasmin Vardimon’s reimagining of Carlo Collodi’s original 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio (27 & 28 October), back on our stage after its successful run last year.

Stepping out of the pages of The Arabian Nights comes the mischievous thief Aladdin (31 October – 2 November), the beautiful Princess Badr al-Budur and the powerful Djinn of the magic lamp, brought to life by David Bintley and the stunning Birmingham Royal Ballet.

And of course, we could not forget our frosty friend, The Snowman (23 November – 31 December), as he makes his annual trip down from the North Pole to visit us for the 20th year in a row!


Discover Acosta Danza: Dance legend Carlos Acosta begins a new chapter inspired by Cuba

After over 20 years as one of the world’s leading ballet dancers, Carlos Acosta has embarked on a new endeavour – a company of his own. Acosta Danza, which launched in Cuba in 2016, will tour the UK for the first time this autumn, starting at Sadler’s Wells where it became an Associate Company last year.

Based in Havana, the company is entirely made up of Cuban dancers including Acosta himself, who will make occasional guest appearances. Speaking about the company, Acosta says “I had been asking myself for a long time what’s next? I wanted to help Cuba. I wanted to help my nation. I wanted to make bridges with other nations and make collaborations. I wanted my company to contribute to the artistic scene in the nation.” The company draws on a wealth of artistic talent that has previously been hidden from the world, and aims to develop new talent for the future.

Alongside existing pieces, the company will perform new commissions created by some of the world’s most exciting dance-makers. These new works will have one strict guideline: they must be inspired by the richness of Cuban culture.

The company dancers have trained in a variety of disciplines and will embrace many genres. Acosta continues “I wanted to create a company that doesn’t quite look like any other company in the country. A company that embraces all art forms and dance forms. You could dance something on pointe, something very avant-garde contemporary or even some folkloric elements and always from a Cuban perspective.”

Acosta Danza will tour the UK in autumn 2017, with the premiere at Sadler’s Wells 27 – 30 September.

Acosta Danza is produced by Sadler’s Wells and Valid Productions with coproduction support from The Movement and Festspielhaus St Pölten. The Movement is a dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry in Salford and Sadler’s Wells. Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences.

Sadler’s Wells on tour September – November 2017

Sadler’s Wells’ impressive portfolio of productions continues to tour across the UK and internationally, giving more and more people the opportunity to experience high quality dance in their own neighbourhood.

This autumn sees the first major tour of Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza, as part of our regional touring initiative The Movement, with The Lowry, Salford and Birmingham Hippodrome. There’s also the world premiere of the new collaboration between composer Nitin Sawhney and contemporary dance duo Wang Ramirez, Dystopian Dream, in Luxembourg.

This summer, Sadler’s Wells headlined the Waterfront stage at Latitude Festival for the tenth consecutive year. Audiences were treated to innovative dance from Boy Blue Entertainment, National Youth Dance Company and New Adventures amongst others. Click here to watch our Latitude Festival 2017 highlights. For the second year in a row, Sadler’s Wells presented work at Wilderness Festival.

For full tour dates see

Find us on tour:
Nitin Sawhney & Wang Ramirez  – Dystopian Dream
29 & 30 September

Acosta Danza – Debut
3 October – 11 November
Neuss, St Pölten, Salford, Birmingham, Southampton, Brighton, Istanbul, Edinburgh

Breakin’ Convention
13 October – 5 November
Charlotte, Miami, Harlem, Denver

Vamos Cuba!
20 October – 17 November
Bromley, Luxembourg

Beyond the theatre: Inspiring young artists

Sadler’s Wells’ learning and engagement work draws directly on the organisation’s artistic programme to inspire people of all ages and abilities to connect with dance and explore their own creativity. We are passionate about engaging young people in our work and strongly believe that dance can play a positive role in their lives as they grow up. Through the work of our Learning & Engagement team, we are able to connect young people with our artistic programme in schools and colleges as well as with opportunities outside of formal education.

The performances presented at Sadler’s Wells are of huge relevance to young people who are studying dance at school or college. This season features five choreographers who are included on the A-Level Dance curriculum: Matthew Bourne, Shobana Jeyasingh, Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter and Jasmin Vardimon. There will be opportunities for teachers to gain further insight into these choreographers’ works through a series of talks and masterclasses.

We are also delighted to be supporting New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley on the delivery of a project for primary schools, which will use his production 8 Minutes to explore the relationship between dance and science. This autumn Whitley will be leading an intensive residency at one of our Associate Primary Schools in Islington. The project will culminate with the school performing their work to an invited audience in the Lilian Baylis Studio, as well as watching an extract of 8 Minutes performed by Alexander Whitley Dance Company.

This year our work supporting young talent enters into an exciting new phase. We will start our sixth year of running the National Youth Dance Company with a large number of dancers from the company’s first cohort in 2013 graduating from full time training. We look forward to seeing what they go on to achieve and the contribution they make to the dance sector in the future. Two alumni from the National Youth Dance Company, Emma Farnell-Watson and Molly Walker are due to perform at Sadler’s Wells in the autumn in Jasmin Vardimon’s Pinocchio and Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala respectively.

Sadler’s Wells’ learning and engagement work also extends towards artist development through supporting young artists as they embark on careers after they leave school. This support continues through the Summer University, New Wave Associates and Associate Artists schemes.

For more information about our Learning & Engagement work, see

First encounters: New names on the Sadler’s Wells stage

First encounters can happen anywhere, including the theatre. Entering an artist’s world and experiencing its idiosyncrasies is like meeting someone for the first time. Not quite a blind date, these encounters do however require trust, as the experience becomes a journey of discovery once the curtain goes up.

This autumn three distinguished dance artists bring their world to Sadler’s Wells for the first time. New to the theatre, but by no means to London, is seasoned choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh presenting Bayadère – The Ninth Life (16 & 17 October), a work inspired by the famous 19th century ballet. Born in Chennai, India, with roots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, Jeyasingh has lived and worked in London for the last 29 years. She creates an inventive, hybrid world which draws from a variety of dance styles both classical and contemporary. Strong in the belief of the power of dance, her work engages with it both as a physical and intellectual form.

American choreographer Meg Stuart comes to Sadler’s Wells for the first time via Berlin and Brussels, her home for the last 20 years. Stuart is a major dance artist at the forefront of choreographic developments. Her work crosses different territories from theatre to visual arts, anchored in the idea that the body, however uncertain and vulnerable, holds meaning. This is a rare chance to experience the peculiar beauty of a world where charismatic performers surrender to a seemingly chaotic universe with striking commitment and risk. UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP (15 November) questions many norms, not without humour. Don’t miss this performance in London for one night only.

As part of our Debut series, introducing rising dance names to Sadler’s Wells, American choreographer Kyle Abraham presents the poignant Pavement (17 & 18 November). From New York City the company Abraham.In.Motion delves into racial tension and discrimination with a distinctive movement style rooted in hip hop, both sensual and provocative, putting the emphasis on human personalities. This is a chance to catch a rising company with something to say.

We hope you will take that step and have your own first encounters this season.


Tal Rosner receives KOI Award nomination

Congratulations to Tal Rosner, who has been nominated for a Knight of Illumination (KOI) Award for his projection design work on 8 Minutes, a new production by Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley.

Jerusalem-born, London-based Rosner is a Bafta-winning moving image and video artist. His work spans orchestral music, theatre and dance, including creating the video design and animation for The Most Incredible Thing at Sadler’s Wells back in 2012.

8 Minutes, created by Whitley in collaboration with Rosner and composer Daniel Wohl, draws inspiration from the images and data of solar science research to explore the spectacular forces at work in the universe. Rosner’s visual installation evokes the breathtaking scale of space through scientific footage and original artwork, contributing to create the striking, immersive environment of dance, music and film the production was acclaimed for following its world premiere in June.

Rosner is nominated for The Hawthorn Theatre Award for Projection Design, which honours outstanding examples of lighting design, video, graphic display and projection design.

The (KOI) Awards ceremony will take place at the Eventim Apollo on 17 September.

Images: 8 Minutes by Alexander Whitley Company. Photo: Johan Persson

Audition For a New R&D Dance Project!

Kate Prince, Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells and Artistic Director of ZooNation Dance Company (Into the Hoods, Some Like it Hip Hop, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Groove On Down The Road) will be auditioning dancers for a new research and development project with Sadler’s Wells on 17 August. 

She is looking for dancers who are charismatic, highly skilled and diverse, whose abilities span more than just one genre of dance, including but not limited to contemporary, breaking, locking, popping, house dance, krump, African dance, lindy hop, swing, experimental and freestyle. Dancers who love to tell stories and feel comfortable doing character work.

This is a pure dance piece and there is no requirement to speak or sing. The R&D period is from Wednesday 4 to Thursday 19 October 2017. All applicants must be available for this period. Audition will be by invitation only and is subject to the requirements above.

Send CV, photo and video link submissions to Please note that without a video link where you can be clearly identified, we won’t be able to invite you to audition. Deadline for applications is noon on Friday 11 August. 


Image: Kate Prince, Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells and Artistic Director of ZooNation Dance Company.