Sadler’s Wells’ touring progress report

Commissioning and producing original work for its three stages and touring it to major arts venues around the world is an integral part of Sadler’s Wells’ mission to promote the public’s enjoyment and understanding of contemporary dance and encourage the development of the art form. In 2013-14, 13 of Sadler’s Wells’ shows toured in 50 UK and international cities, attracting audiences of 121,000.

In the last few months, Sadler’s Wells productions have been enjoyed by audiences in four continents, from North America to Australia and from Asia to Europe.

Havana Rakatan’s USA premiere at City Center in New York at the end of February was a huge success, with audiences rising from their seats to cheer and dance to the Cuban beats well before the part in the show where performers usually invited them to get up and move to the music.

At the beginning of March, New York’s City Centre hosted another USA premiere – this time of Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s m¡longa. The show was positively received by critics and audiences alike for its imaginative choreography and the exceptional skills of its dancers, and continued to wow viewers in Serbia, where it toured to Novi Sad and Belgrade, before making a much anticipated trip to Arts Centre, Melbourne – m¡longa’s second visit to Australia since it played Sydney Opera House in 2014.

On 3 March, Sadler’s Wells presented Associate Artist Russell Maliphant’s duet Critical Mass as part of the UK’s GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai. The performance was enjoyed by an invited audience of 900 delegates, including HRH The Duke of Cambridge. A few days later, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Sutra was performed to huge acclaim at the Wei-Wu-Ying Centre for the Arts, as part of the Kaohsiung Festival in Taiwan. As part of the warm welcome they received, the Shaolin Temple monks and the production’s team were treated to a tour of the new National Arts Centre currently under construction. Sutra then travelled on to France, where it stopped in four cities, completing its successful tour with a run at Maison de la Danse in Lyon.

Meanwhile, Associate Artist Sylvie Guillem’s Life in Progress received its world premiere at the Teatro Comunale Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, Italy, on 31 March. The sold-out show received a rapturous response from the audience and prompted a unanimous standing ovation.

Finally, Sadler’s Wells’ latest touring production Varmints – choreographed by Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Wilkie Branson in collaboration with children’s theatre director Sally Cookson – opened at the Lilian Baylis Studio on 3 April before heading off on a UK tour.

For a full calendar of Sadler’s Wells’ touring dates, visit


Photo: The cast and crew of Havana Rakatan in New York, by Andrew Lang