learning and engagement

Sadler’s Wells participates in Japan conference on how art benefits the elderly

Sadler’s Wells staff and members of our Company of Elders discussed how the arts benefit the over 60s at an international conference in Japan in September. The four-day World Gold Theater Kickoff symposium at the Saitama Arts Theater featured workshops and panel discussions with performers and speakers from Japan and the UK, who shared programming and best practice, as well as exploring the role of ageing communities in the arts. Besides Sadler’s Wells, other UK organisations in attendance included London’s performing arts centre the Albany and Entelechy Arts, a participatory arts company working with older people from diverse communities.

Our Director of Learning and Engagement Joce Giles, Lucy Clarke-Bishop, Projects Producer in the Learning and Engagement team, three members of our Company of Elders – Betsy Field, Chris Havell and Catriona Maccoll – and the company’s rehearsal director Simona Scotto gave a presentation on Sadler’s Wells’ over-60s programme. They shared an overview of our work with the Company of Elders, our outreach activities, including the Silver Routes community group, and the Elixir Festival, which celebrates lifelong creativity and the achievements of older dance artists. Joce also took part in a panel discussion alongside David Slater, director of Entelechy Arts, which was chaired by Yoshiyuki Oshita, chief director of the Center For Arts Policy and Management for Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. The debate looked at how theatres’ future programmes could focus on creative opportunities for elderly people.

Simona led a Company of Elders’ taster session and three introductory dance workshops designed for the local over-60 community in Saitama. There were 20-30 participants in each workshop, who were given the chance to learn introductory dance skills and some of the Company of Elders repertoire.

Sadler’s Wells’ relationship with Saitama Arts Theater is a long-term one, centred on a shared vision of connecting older audiences with dance. The Japanese theatre’s late artistic director, Yukio Ninagawa, founded Saitama Gold Theater, an over-55 theatre company that has been performing and touring internationally since its inception in 2006. Saitama Arts Theater has also been involved in ambitious community engagement: in 2016 it delivered the 10,000 Gold Theater project, which saw 1,600 professional and non-professional performers over 60 from the local community perform a new production at Saitama Super Arena.

We were thrilled to be able to discuss how arts and culture can contribute to elderly people’s mental and physical wellbeing with international colleagues. We look forward to continuing our work with the Saitama Arts Theater and other like-minded organisations to support and promote lifelong creativity worldwide.

To find out more about Company of Elders, visit the website

Community dance group and NYDC alumni create piece inspired by Lyon Opera Ballet show

If you are coming to see Trois Grandes Fugues by Lyon Opera Ballet at Sadler’s Wells on 20 October, make sure to arrive early to catch a special performance by community dance group Silver Routes and alumni of National Youth Dance Company.

Silver Routes meet weekly at the St Luke’s Centre in Islington and are part of Sadler’s Wells’ outreach programme for over 60s, while NYDC is one of the artist development programmes we run to nurture the next generation of talent. Both projects are part of our Learning and Engagement work, which aims to make dance accessible to all and to inspire new and existing audiences, young people and communities by connecting them with dance and our programme.

The curtain raiser ahead of Trois Grandes Fugues sees 21 dancers from Silver Routes and alumni of NYDC collaborate on a thought-provoking piece inspired by the Lyon Opera Ballet production. Similarly to the three pieces in the programme, it responds to Beethoven’s Grande Fugue op.133. The work has been choreographed by Catarina Carvalho, a former dancer with Company Wayne McGregor.

This is a joint initiative between Sadler’s Wells and Dance Umbrella, an international dance festival celebrating 21st-Century choreography by presenting dance across the capital, including the performances of Trois Grandes Fugues on our stage.

The intergenerational project aims to bring together dancers of different backgrounds to create work in response to our artistic programme. There are two opportunities to watch this piece, at 6:45 and 7pm on the Mezzanine level, before the Lyon Opera Ballet show begins.

We hope you enjoy it!

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