Caroline Ansdell

Sadler’s Wells East Celebrates Topping Out

Today we held a topping out ceremony for Sadler’s Wells East, our fourth venue that’s due to open next year at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. And we invited local young people to be part of the first show to hit our new stage. 

At this morning’s ceremony to celebrate completion of the concrete structure, Justine Simons OBE,Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries announced that local young people are invited to be part of immersive dance show Our Mighty Groove

Directed and choreographed by Vicki Igbokwe, Our Mighty Groove tells of the transformative power of the club dancefloor where anything can happen. Inspired by the New York club scene, it’s about how people can feel empowered to be their authentic selves through dance. The production blends club styles house dance, waacking and vogue with African and contemporary dance.   

Young people living or studying in east London, who will be aged 16 – 21 on 31 August 2023, are invited to take part in workshops starting this summer, delivered by Vicki’s company Uchenna Dance. Some workshop participants will then be invited to join the professional dancers on stage. 

Find out more about the workshops for Our Mighty Groove

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “East Bank is the biggest investment in London’s cultural offering for a century and today’s ceremony at Sadler’s Wells East brings us another step closer to the completion of this exciting journey. Talented young Londoners will have the opportunity to take centre stage in the opening production at this fantastic venue, which will be rooted in the local community, helping to build a better London for everyone.”  

Justine Simons OBE,Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: Access to contemporary dance at school massively changed my life, it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the creative industries. So I couldn’t be more excited to announce that young people in east London will get the chance to be part of Our Mighty Groove, the very first show at the brand new Sadler’s Wells East in November 2023. I can’t wait to see it!”   

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: “This is an amazing opportunity for us to get local people involved with Sadler’s Wells East, and I hope people living in east London will feel they are at the centre of our activities and connected to the work on our stages. This is a historic moment for Sadler’s Wells, and I am overjoyed that Sadler’s Wells East will provide such a fantastic resource for the local community as well as for dance in the UK.”  

  Vicki Igbokwe said: “Uchenna Dance and I are really looking forward to meeting the young people of East London. We are excited to share the Uchenna way of life as we empower, entertain and educate these incredible people who will also teach us a thing or two as well.”  

Sadler’s Wells East is part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Funding has been provided by the UK Government and GLA as part of the Olympic legacy strategy. Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will provide a platform for UK dance companies, and productions created at Stratford will tour the UK. It will be home to Sadler’s Wells’ Hip Hop Theatre Academy, directed by Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, and Choreographic School with modules led by world-class dance artists.  

The topping out ceremony featured a performance from east London-based hip hop crew EASTablishment, who are all aged 16 – 24.  

 Did you know, the volume of concreate used in the construction of Sadler’s Wells East would fill two Olympic sized swimming pools, at just over 5,000m3. The weight of steel reinforcement within the construction is the equivalent of more than 12,000 dancers, at 607 tonnes. 

Photo by Sian-Estelle Petty