Sadler’s Wells East
Sadler’s Wells East, topping out 22 June 2022
Sadler’s Wells East, an introduction
Today, Wednesday 22 June 2022, 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 1980s 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.
Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will build the infrastructure for dance and make it accessible to more people.
Home to our Hip Hop Theatre Academy and Choreographic School, Sadler’s Wells East will also house a flexible theatre where we will present a wide variety of dance performances.
Community will be at the heart of Sadler’s Wells East with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone, as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions.
Sadler’s Wells East – Opening in 2023
Sadler’s Wells colleagues Alistair Spalding – Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Natasha Anderson – Head of Community Engagement, and Jonzi D – Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director, spoke to members of Legacy Youth Voice – Kishan Patel, Lola Martinez-Rufete and Emmanuel Lawal – about how Sadler’s Wells East will enable great opportunities in Stratford and why the new venue is important in making this happen.
Hip Hop Theatre Academy
The Hip Hop Theatre Academy to develop the next generation of hip hop theatre artists is one of the major initiatives at Sadler’s Wells’ fourth London venue, Sadler’s Wells East.
Run by Jonzi D, Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells and a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, the Hip Hop Theatre Academy is a two-year course for students aged 16- to 19-years-old. It will offer intensive, practical training in hip hop performing arts, with a focus on live performance and theatre production, at an international standard.
The course will cover all the artistic elements of hip hop theatre, including classes in breaking, popping and hip hop dance, as well as rap, DJing, beatmaking, and graffiti. Students will achieve a Level 3 Extended Diploma.
The Choreographic School is one of the major initiatives at Sadler’s Wells East. It’s a programme of activity offering up to 13 early-career artists the opportunity to develop their choreographic practice over a two-year period, with modules and mentorship led by established choreographers.
The first three choreographers to lead the inaugural programme of our Choreographic School are: William Forsythe, Lin Hwai-Min and Alesandra Seutin.
Extending beyond the 13 participants, the Choreographic School will benefit a wider cohort who will be able to access some of its lectures and workshops online. There will also be an opportunity for dance students to take part as performers in the creation component of the course and have access to some of the course content and experiences. Daily classes will also be open to other professional dancers.
The inaugural programme will start in January 2024 and run until December 2025. Recruitment will take place in Spring 2023.
At the start of the design process, seven years ago, we consulted artists about the spaces they wanted to work in and designed this building inside out, with their needs put first. This fantastic and distinctive design created by architects O’Donnell and Tuomey, responds to our provocation to create a venue for dance makers.
The auditorium will present midscale work. It will have the power flying capabilities of Sadler’s Wells Theatre, but will be able to fold away the 550 seats to create a more flexible, flat floor space, which will suit a range of formats.
Six studios will be working spaces with excellent temperature control and natural light, enhanced by the saw tooth roof design, which also harks back to the industrial heritage of the site. Most of the studios have direct access to terrace spaces with great views over the park, for moments of rest and reflection.
The L-shaped public ‘living room’ foyer will wrap around the building, opening out onto Stratford Walk and the public realm, where we also have an outside performance space. There will be bars and café’s, as well as a stage for community groups to have rehearsals and performances – their Dance Floor.
Lighting has been designed by Aideen Malone. Aideen will bring her theatre perspective to architectural lighting to create a playful concept, which will adapt to suit the different uses of the space.
The public areas of Sadler’s Wells East will also feature a new commission from Eva Rothschild, who is designing tapestries which will draw the eye to the dramatic double height space.
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