One year ago today, Sadler’s Wells opened its doors again after lockdown.
For many of us, art was a chance to escape the everyday and celebrate human creativity and resilience.
Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director & Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Executive Director Britannia Morton share a letter:
Dear Sadler’s Wells audience,
A year ago today, Sadler’s Wells re-opened after the pandemic which impacted our industry, our artists and our audiences. What a year!
This week, we went on sale for 27 amazingly diverse new shows and we take a pause and give thanks to all our teams, the companies, artists, audiences and supporters. It’s a signal that we made it through the toughest challenges we’ve faced in our long history, that we are back at full strength on all our stages, and that more than ever, we believe in dance and the power of live performance to celebrate the magic of humanity. And to give us a great night out!
On behalf of all of us at Sadler’s Wells – thank YOU. It’s not always easy in these uncertain times, but if you had any doubt… we’re really back!
Alistair & Britannia
We hope that you will come and make new memories with us this year. Without you, we would not be able to celebrate our new season of 27 shows.
Today is Earth Day! We wanted to mark this day by sharing our sustainability mission and goals.
Earth Day is an annual event which marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970, to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
Sadler’s Wells takes part in Earth Day and Earth Hour yearly and is as an important part of our commitment to work towards a greener future.
Earth Hour is a symbolic lights out event organised by WWF, uniting individuals, schools, businesses, landmarks and public building across the globe, to focus attention on protecting the planet.
Each year, we switch off all external lights, including architectural lighting of the building and signage, between 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm. Joining Earth Hour is one of many initiatives undertaken by Sadler’s Wells in a drive to increase the sustainability of the building and its operations. We are committed to reducing our energy demand, CO2 emissions and waste consumption across all departments.
Sustainability at Sadler’s Wells
Sadler’s Wells stages dance productions in the UK and around the world, and we acknowledge our responsibility as a cultural leader in the arts. We proactively address the challenges set by our activities and have a targeted action plan that frames all aspects of our work.
Our sustainability policy aims are to continue to improve current environmental performance by reducing the impact of our activities on the environment, as well as educating and increasing environmental awareness amongst colleagues and audiences to promote sustainability.
Q&A with Sadler’s Wells Director of Visitor Experience& leader of the Green Team
We spoke to Howard Clark; Director of Visitor Experience & leader of the Green Team on all the ways in which Sadler’s Wells is acting sustainably and why it’s so important:
Why is sustainability important to Sadler’s Wells?
Howard: As a cultural leader in the arts, we have a responsibility to be as sustainable as possible and to support the awareness of climate change in the sector. We have an environmental policy which is supported by an action plan and set against KPIs, and we review this annually. We are constantly making improvements across the organisation.
Why does Sadler’s Wells celebrate Earth Day?
Howard: We play a major part within an international community and recognise the need for global change. There has a been a great shift in the last few years on more awareness of climate change and we need to demonstrate how we are making improvements, especially as we have a new venue opening in 2023. There will be more impact on our environmental footprint, so we realise we need to strive to keep this footprint as low as possible. Earth Day is a moment for us to demonstrate our commitments and to raise awareness on a wider scale.
What are some of the ways Sadler’s Wells is being sustainable?
Howard: We commit to environmental practice every day. We have made changes to certain sustainability elements of the organisation, for example, reducing the use of single use plastics and we use recyclable materials in print programmes. Also, when you come to Sadler’s Wells, if you use our toilets, then we use the borehole underneath Sadler’s Wells to supply our water to these and support our temperature control. We have a procurement policy which supports our purchasing processes and sourcing strategies, and we aim to work with companies and organisations that follow good environmental practices.
What is Sadler’s Wells’ long-term sustainability goal?
Howard: Ultimately, we would like to be a net zero organisation, but we recognise this is a journey. It all comes down to the improvements we make for the long-term. By educating colleagues, visitors and artists, we allow this journey to be bigger than just the organisation and we truly believe this is the way we can reach our long-term goals. We have made great sustainable changes already, but we need to keep moving forward and thinking about the next steps.
What are you most proud of in this journey?
Howard: The strides we’ve made, especially since the pandemic. We have been forward thinking about the organisation, as well as the community and this is something to be proud of. We have been awarded for our work, for example, our five-star Creative Green rating for environmental best practice and we have made long-term connections in the industry, with organisations who are on the same journey. Together we can all make a change.
Ways We Are Acting Sustainably
We’re working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and have a commitment in place to keep us focused. Our dedicated Green Team make sure we keep improving and they are always looking for more ways we can reduce our impact on the environment.
We use plastic reusable cups in our bars instead of single-use plastic and encourage performers to use water fountains backstage rather than providing bottled water
All our packaging is biodegradable, and plant based
We use the borehole underneath Sadler’s Wells to supply our sinks, toilets, and temperature control
We use LED lights throughout our foyer spaces, the theatre auditorium, and backstage areas
We use renewable sources to generate 100% of our electricity
Our solar panels produce an average of around 17,000 kilowatt hours per year – enough to power two family homes for a year
We take part in the Earth Hour campaign every year, by switching off our external lights
We’ve developed Green Riders for visiting companies and our touring productions
We’re part of the Spotlight Programme – 29 cultural institutions working across England to drive down the environmental impacts of our activities
We reduce the amount of paper we use with a paperless invoicing system
A few things we’re proud of
Being part of the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement
Our five-star Creative Green rating for environmental best practice
Being a member of the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership
Our 5/5 rating in the Creative Green certification by Julie’s Bicycle
Colleague Sunflower Campaign
Our Green Team invited colleagues to take part in the Sadler’s Wells Sunflower Challenge throughout April and grow a sunflower to mark Earth Day. We wanted to raise more awareness on environmental matters among colleagues and chose a sunflower growing competition, that is fun and sets some challenges amongst our teams. The centre of a sunflower is made of lots of little flowers and the seeds can be harvested and eaten after the sunflower has grown. The sunflower is also the national flower of Ukraine, where we share our support. The competition winner for the tallest sunflower wins gardening vouchers!
The campaign has been a great initiative and colleagues have been able to get involved in Earth Day by planting their own sunflowers. Some colleagues have enjoyed getting their children involved in watering and looking after the flower too, so it has allowed the awareness to go beyond just colleagues and Sadler’s Wells Theatre’s, but into their homes too!
Arts Council England Report
Arts Council England remains committed to delivering on Environmental Responsibility, as set out in its 10-year strategy, Let’s Create. Sadler’s Wells is proud to be a contributor to this year’s Arts Council England Environmental Responsibility annual report, in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle. This report marks 10 years of collaboration between Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycles, within the arts & culture sector.
The latest annual report shows how arts & culture organisations continued to innovate, to reduce environmental impact, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arts Council England continues to support organisations whilst navigating out of the pandemic, towards a ‘green’ recovery and to ensure a sustainable future for the creative sector.
As a cultural organisation, we embrace the role we play in the conversation around climate change and are fully aligned with the UK’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. We will continue to work on our sustainability mission and be an advocate for sustainable creative organisations.
We believe everyone should have access to dance. So, we’re making our venues and experiences more accessible to more people!
Sadler’s Wells is delighted to present accessible work through our Access for All Scheme for people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities. Since 2019, Sadler’s Wells has made big improvements to our access offering, increasing our access performances massively in 2022.
Sadler’s Wells offers a range of accessible performances including audio described performances, BSL-interpreted performances, relaxed performances and captioned performances across all our theatres; Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Lilian Baylis Studio, Peacock Theatre and on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.
We have a fantastic Access Working Group which is open to all colleagues at Sadler’s Wells. The aim of the group is to support the development of best practice in relation to Access across the work of Sadler’s Wells, to offer high quality experience to all D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people. We’re committed to continued learning and upskilling as a team in accessibility best practice, and to testing new approaches.
During the pandemic between 2020-2021, Sadler’s Wells presented 63 access events, including a relaxed performance of Nutcracker! presented in collaboration with Mousetrap Theatre Productions and New Adventures. So far, there are 27 access performances scheduled for 2022, with many more to be announced.
We’re very grateful to all who attend Sadler’s Wells productions and are proud to offer accessible performances. Regular patrons, Janee Hall and Martin Glover reflect on their experiences of accessible performances at Sadler’s Wells:
Janee Hall said: ‘I’ve been coming to Sadler’s Wells since the late 80s, I’ve always been visually impaired, and it’s been phenomenal to see how access has evolved and progressed. The AD opportunity makes the experience come alive for me. I also think that the staff are fantastic at Sadler’s. It’s invaluable when we are able to go on touch tours and get an idea of the on stage props, set and get a chance to see what the lighting states will be like. The AD offerings are great because they are increasing. It’s really important to get the diversity across different types of shows. Now I get to pick and choose what I get to see!’
Martin Glover said: ‘I am so grateful to Sadler’s Wells to be able to take part in different dance activities, because usually in our everyday lives we wouldn’t usually be able to. We are encouraged to take part by Sadler’s Wells, and so we do. Whilst some parts aren’t as easily accessible for the deaf community such as the music, watching the dance is brilliant. I’ve seen quite a few different dance styles at Sadler’s Wells, most are great and others not to my taste, but I really enjoy the diversity and variety on what is on offer to us’.
More information on Sadler’s Wells’ Accessible Performances:
Digital Stage & Website
We create and curate a programme of dance performances, films and experiences, so no matter where you are in the world, you can explore world-class dance online.
Since the launch of our new website in September 2021, accessibility on Digital Stage and on the website has been the key focus.
All new Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage works are offered with audio description
All video content includes subtitles and captions
We have introduced user-testing on the website and Digital Stage to improve accessibility
Has an access filter on the What’s On page, enabling users to easily identify accessible performances
Audio Described Performances
During a performance, a professional Audio Describer explains what’s happening on stage. They talk through all the visual information: sets, costumes, facial expressions and visual jokes. You can listen along to the description through a headset.
Before the performance, you can go on a touch tour. The Audio Describer will take you backstage, or onto the stage itself, to feel costumes and pieces of the set and learn about the production.
British Sign Language (BSL) Performances
Our BSL performances are interpreted by a BSL signer. They use sign language to communicate what is sung and/or spoken by artists on stage. All our post-show talks are interpreted by a BSL signer.
A relaxed performance is a more laidback theatre experience. The environment is made more comfortable for people on the autistic spectrum, or anyone with sensory or communication needs.
To create a more supportive environment, we:
Keep the house lights on throughout the performance
Lower the sound levels
Provide a designated chill out area
Create a visual story that includes details about the narrative, characters and what to expect from the performance and the theatre experience. You can find them at the bottom of the show pages
Offer ear defenders, available at the front desk
Captioned Performances and Subtitling
A captioned performance includes captioning, which is text that describes what’s happening on stage. At a captioned performance, the text is displayed on LED screens near or on the stage. We use subtitling at our show talks to make sure people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing can enjoy them. A speech-to-text reporter transcribes the speaker’s words so you can follow what is said and join in the discussion afterwards.
The scheme is free to join and offers discounts and information about upcoming shows at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Peacock Theatre and Lilian Baylis Studio.
Director of Learning and Engagement, Joce Giles said: ‘We are delighted to have improved our access offering so greatly across the past year. We acknowledge there is still lots more that can be done, and we look forward to developing our skills, offering and equipment further to ensure as many people are able to enjoy dance‘.
Over-60 dancers took to our main stage for a workshop delivered by Rambert, to coincide with the company’s run of new production Two last week.
Group picture at Rambert’s workshop. Image: Emma Bellerby
Company dancer Joshua Barwick led the session, starting with a gentle contemporary dance warm-up. He then taught participants some steps from Rambert’s production Life is a Dream, the retelling of the 17th-Century play of the same name choreographed by two-time Olivier Award-winner Kim Brandstrup. At the end of the workshop, the group performed duets from the piece.
This event welcomed complete beginners and gave them the opportunity to explore performance techniques with professional dancers against the backdrop of our main auditorium.
Working in pairs to learn dance steps from Rambert. Image: Emma Bellerby
Participants warming up. Image: Emma Bellerby
Participants felt enriched by the experience. “How wonderful this morning’s workshop was. I really loved it! Josh was a real inspiration and I appreciated his patience,” said Margot.
“I just want to say how much I enjoyed the Rambert workshop today,” added Norma. “It was so joyful and we had such a brilliant teacher.”
“I dreamed of running away to dance at Sadler’s Wells when I was a little girl, ” admitted Rosey, “and to have achieved that aim was thrilling. Even though it took 60 years, I got there!”
“I think the outreach Sadler’s Wells does is fantastic and long may it continue,” she concluded.
The workshop was supported by our Learning & Engagement team, as part of our ongoing work to connect our local communities with the work we present on our stages, and to bring dance to the widest possible audience.
In October 1998, after two intense years of construction, the new Sadler’s Wells theatre opened its doors to the public. The milestone was marked with two opening events. One, a traditional gala opening and performance by Rambert, took place on Tuesday 13 October. The other, in keeping with Lilian Baylis’ legacy of using theatre as a means for social outreach, was a free public opening for the local community, which took place the previous Saturday 10 October. As a nod to the past, but with our eyes fixed firmly on the future, our 20th anniversary celebrations this month reflected these two separate openings.
On Sunday 7 October, we opened our doors to our local communities for Sadler’s Wells’ first Fun Palace, as part of Fun Palaces 2018. The campaign promotes the central role of community at the heart of culture with a weekend of action each October, where arts, science and community organisations across the country are called on to facilitate community-led activities.
For the Sadler’s Wells Fun Palace, we invited local community organisations to lead a variety of activities throughout the day; the resulting programme had a strong emphasis on skills, learning and creativity. Workshops throughout the day were grouped into three main categories – dance, crafts, and mindfulness, with a requisite dance floor on the ground floor. With something happening on each of our foyers, visitors were encouraged to wander throughout the building, drop in and out of various activities or simply sit down to watch, chat and relax. By the end of the day, visitors had a chance to learn Tudor dance, Bollywood and flamenco moves, practice yoga, take part in a drawing class and decorate a paper footprint to be displayed on the wall of the Mezzanine level as part of a collective artwork titled Dancing on the Ceiling.
“I particularly loved the silent disco – 100% certified fun! It is wonderful that Sadler’s Wells reaches out to people in the community with such days, particularly this 20-year celebration.” – Wendy Williams, Holloway Neighbourhood Group.
Four days later, on 11 October, we celebrated again with the world premiere of Reckonings, a mixed bill we commissioned to three bold choreographic voices: Julie Cunningham, Alesandra Seutin and Botis Seva. The dance makers each took different conceptual starting points to create an evening that at its core asked questions about identity and the state of contemporary society. Cunningham’s work interrogated traditional gender binaries; Seutin fused African styles with urban dance language to comment on how we perceive brown bodies; and Seva – inspired by Sally Brampton’s memoir about depression – looked introspectively at his own trials as an artist, using a hip-hop dance vocabulary and representations of violence to question our assumptions about black men and street dance.
“The revised, rejuvenated old Wells theatre took on a new life, ‘purpose-built for dance’, twenty years to the day (feels like yesterday), and has gone from strength to strength since taking dance to realms beyond one’s imagining. Long may it continue to dare and innovate.” – Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide.
Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding joined the three choreographers and their dancers on stage after the curtain call to give a brief speech, congratulating the artists for creating and bringing to life an amazing performance. He also thanked the exceptional artists we work closely with at Sadler’s Wells: our Associate Artists, Resident and Associate companies, New Wave Associates, Young Associates, National Youth Dance Company members and alumni, as well as all the international dance artists and companies we support and collaborate with. He acknowledged the great contribution of two formative figures in Sadler’s Wells’ history, who were both in the audience that evening: Ian Albery, former Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, who led the campaign to transform the theatre into a building purpose-built for dance; and Roger Spence, Project Director, who managed the construction project.
Finally, he ended with a heartfelt thank you to our fantastic audiences for accompanying the theatre on its journey in the last two decades. This was followed by a confetti drop, showering the audience in golden ticket stubs embossed with the night’s date and the names of the production and choreographers.
As part of our digital campaign to mark our anniversary, we took to Twitter to ask people about their favourite Sadler’s Wells memories of the last 20 years. We received some wonderful responses from artists, performers, patrons and guests, which we compiled in this Twitter Moment. Among those who told us about their favourite memory was Florence Welch, musician and lead vocalist of Florence and the Machine.
Congratulations to Sadler's Wells who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their new building. This is my favourite memory of @Sadlers_Wells, seeing the English National Ballet perform Pina Bausch's The Rite of Spring #SW20pic.twitter.com/NRoIt43QS6
Thank you to everyone who came to our Fun Palace and to the opening of Reckonings – to all the artists, audiences, communities and supporters who have been part of the Sadler’s Wells journey these past 20 years. Here’s to many more!
Sadler’s Wells’ pioneering Company of Elders – whose dancers range from 60 to 89 years old – has been pushing the boundaries of dance for over 20 years. The dancers’ powerful performances in the UK and internationally have inspired similar companies to be created around the country, offering more and more people in later life a chance to dance. In this interview with The Elder, Sadler’s Wells’ Director of Learning and Engagement Joce Giles talks about the ageless quality of dance, the power of performance and the importance of challenging perceptions of what people can achieve and do in later life.
When and why was the Company of Elders set up?
The Company of Elders dates back to 1989. Back then, Sadler’s Wells started an arts club for older adults, and through that programme, workshops were held with visiting companies. Out of that, some ad hoc performances were organised for anyone in that group who was interested. That just snowballed, and by 1992 the Company of Elders was formed as a proper group.
The Company of Elders actually predates the current building at Sadler’s Wells, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and really it’s at the heart of how the organisation has grown over the last three decades.
I’ve been in my role at Sadler’s Wells for just over a year and a half, but I had been aware of Company of Elders for many years before that. I have always worked in dance, and the company really captured people’s imagination in the dance sector. When its dancers first performed they were pioneers – nothing else existed like that. Now groups inspired by the company have sprung up around the UK and internationally.
Is the Company of Elders made up of former professional dancers?
There are no professional dancers in the group. They come from a range of different backgrounds; some may have danced when they were younger, and this is a chance to reconnect with that. For others, dance is something they have taken up since retiring. The age range is people over 60 – but within that, there are dancers in their late 80s.
At Sadler’s Wells, we want to present dance in all its different styles, and for that to be reflected in the work that we do with programmes such as Company of Elders. So along with contemporary choreographers, the dancers have worked with hip-hop choreographers and people who work in South Asian dance styles, for example – they are very versatile.
Is there anything different about dance in later life?
Obviously there are some physical considerations, but actually, we ask the choreographers to come in and give a true sense of their work – and not to hold back. Company members are always clear to say if anything needs to be adapted for them – they want to be challenged.
I think one of the main considerations though is communication; speaking up if people have difficulty hearing, repeating information and maybe taking a bit more time to go through the movements.
In dance, we are used to seeing young performers at the height of their physical capability – and that’s fantastic to witness. But I think there’s something that an older performer, non-professional or professional, brings to the stage, that only they can – and that has a different quality. The presence that they bring to the stage is something that audiences find very powerful.
Sadler’s Wells took over the Music and Dance Stage at Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park last Sunday for the Great Get Together. In this verdant spot in east London, among a variety of music, dancing, workshops and activities to engage the local communities, Sadler’s Wells presented a series of shows, including two performances of IZINDAVA, a performance and workshop from Casson and Friends, and a full programme from our Breakin’ Convention team.
Inspired by the memory of Jo Cox MP and supported by the Jo Cox foundation, the Great Get Together is an annual, nationwide initiative celebrating connections and commonalities among people through the setting up of free, community events.
IZINDAVA, performed by Tavaziva, was a synthesis of ballet, contemporary and African dance. The personal piece from Bawren Tavaziva’s company communicated a message about human fragility within a changing world, and the healing and redemptive power of music and dance. Extraordinary sculptural costumes and the intricate movements of the dancers had audiences enthralled.
Later in the afternoon, we presented Casson and Friends with The Dance WE Made, an interactive performance that saw the company collect dance moves contributed from the public over the course of the afternoon. This culminated in a wonderfully expressive piece, in which there was not one choreographer, but many. The dancers from Casson and Friends then led a free workshop, in which participants joined in pairs and devised dance moves based on – among other things – what they had for breakfast, their favourite party moves and a choice photographic pose. This was a particularly enjoyable half-hour, when open participation created a piece from the ground up.
Throughout the day, our Breakin’ Convention team staffed a pavilion where a variety of performances and workshops showcased different facets of hip hop culture, with a particular focus on engaging young people. Attendees could try their hand at graffiti, freestyle dance and rap. A popular highlight was the showcase from local schools that were part of Breakin’ Convention’s Moving Rap project, which over the course of two months saw pupils from eight east London schools combine spoken word, rap and dance into a performance piece. The result was a display of talent with impressive energy that drew in a huge crowd. Many congratulations to the students of Willowfields, Lister, St. Angela Ursuline, Our Lady’s Convent, Chobham Academy, Langdon Park, Rushcroft and Stormont House for their excellent work!
Other activities across the park included a storytelling tent, which captivated young audiences with readings from Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Also an Octopus and Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer’s Monkey Puzzle. Face painting stalls ensured there were a variety of decorated animals in among the guests. And the East Bank creative and engineering area offered interactive workshops led by University College London, the University of the Arts London’s London College of Fashion and architects Allies and Morrison.
Both UCL and UAL’s London College of Fashion are among our partners in the new, world-leading cultural and educational district that is being developed in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Sadler’s Wells will develop a new, mid-scale venue on the Stratford Waterfront site, where our building will be alongside new spaces for the BBC, the London College of Fashion and the V&A, in a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. For those interested in learning more, join us at Here East on 22 July for Open Doors: Vote 100, the first event devised and delivered in tandem with all our partners in the project, celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage with performances, talks and activities.
The Great Get Together was a resounding success. The beautiful sunshine provided an ideal backdrop, as the local communities’ enthusiastic participation in the programme provided a perfect example of how we have much more in common than what divides us.
Sadler’s Wells works closely with a number of local schools in north and east London, with the aim of widening participation in the arts for young people by integrating dance into their education. Our Learning & Engagement team devises a bespoke programme of workshops and events for each of the 12 Associate Schools, so that students can benefit from classes and talks by dance professionals, and their teachers are supported in delivering dance as part of the curriculum.
Here, Carolyn Wells – Head of the Performance and PE Faculty at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Islington – speaks about her experience of our Associate Schoolsscheme:
“As a dance teacher, I am a great believer in the importance of the arts in education and the lasting, positive impact they have on young people. It’s all about experiences, in the classroom and beyond. It has been an absolute joy to be an Associate School with Sadler’s Wells, and the scheme’s ethos goes hand-in-hand with the ethos of the dance department here at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School (EGA).
We officially became an Associate School of Sadler’s Wells in the summer of 2017 and when term began in September, the opportunities that the dance department and our students have received have been second to none – and we haven’t even finished the school year yet! As part of the scheme, EGA students took part in a workshop with Rambert, Britain’s oldest dance company, to aid with their study of A Linha Curva for GCSE. Oh – and not forgetting to mention this was on the main stage! That’s right, our girls have trodden the same boards as world-renowned dance companies, choreographers and artists. The very next day we returned to watch Rambert’s matinée performance of A Linha Curva, and other works. The ability to see professionals perform what our students had learnt on the same stage truly brought learning to life.
Later, we had the opportunity to attend an audition for Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures. This resulted in 11 of our students working with the company dancers and other school pupils to create a curtain raiser piece that was performed during the run of New Adventures’ Cinderella. It was such a special and unforgettable moment for the girls involved.
More recently, Sadler’s Wells’ Director of Technical & Production Emma Wilson and her team came into school to help us to ‘make sense’ of our lighting and sound system in our school theatre space. So thanks to a world-class and very friendly team of technicians, it’s all working much better now.
I’m so pleased we’ve had the opportunity to forge this partnership with Sadler’s Wells and their education coordinator Sara Daniels. I can’t wait to see where it leads.”
A group of over 60s enjoyed learning new dance moves at Sadler’s Wells as part of the Get Creative Festival 2018.
Motionhouse Rehearsal Director Junior Cunningham led a free workshop in the theatre’s Rosebery room as part of the nationwide celebration of art and creativity. Thirty people joined him to try out some moves inspired by Charge, the company’s latest production currently showing at The Peacock, Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue. After warming up and contact improvisation exercises, participants learned a dance sequence that was then performed to music. You can watch a clip of them in action here.
Motionhousecreate and tour a wide range of inspiring and powerful dance-circus productions to theatres and festivals in the UK and across the globe. The company’s distinctive, highly physical style integrates elements of circus and acrobatics with breath-taking dance and digital imagery to surprise and delight audiences.
Originally from Birmingham, Junior was encouraged to study contemporary dance by his sister when he was 17. He joined the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 1999 and graduated in 2002 with a BPA (Hons) Degree in Contemporary Dance. Soon afterwards, he joined Motionhouse as an apprentice, before becoming a full-time member of the company the following year. He has since performed in a number of Motionhouse productions, including Broken and Scattered, which we presented at The Peacock in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Sadler’s Wells also presented a performance of Motionhouse’s Captive – a blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work set inside a large cage – as part of the Big Lunch in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in June 2016. The family-friendly day attracted over 8,000 people.
Taking place between 17 and 25 March, the Get Creative Festival encourages people to try their hand at something new and creative. The annual festival is a merger of the previous Get Creative Weekend and Voluntary Arts Festival – now joined together to make one huge nationwide event.
Get Creative Festival is brought to you by arts and creative organisations and individuals across the UK and is supported by 64 Million Artists, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, the BBC, Crafts Council, Creative People and Places, Creative Scotland, Family Arts Campaign, Fun Palaces, Voluntary Arts, and the What Next? movement.
On Sunday 5 June, Sadler’s Wells joined the Big Lunch celebrations by presenting dance to a large audience in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Over 8,000 people took part in the Big Lunch in the Park event in east London, enjoying a picnic, performances and free activities for all the family.
As part of the day, Sadler’s Wells presented a performance of Motionhouse’s Captive, an exciting blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work set inside a large cage.