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Anti-racism at Sadler’s Wells Annual update 2022

November 10, 2022

Our commitments, progress and plans to continue to address racism at and beyond Sadler’s Wells and work towards a more equal and just future.

Last year we outlined our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation, collaborating as colleagues on the following statements to guide our work:

  • Black lives matter and we stand united against racism.
  • We acknowledge the pain and injustice caused by systemic racism.
  • We join in solidarity with global anti-racist movements.
  • We know that being anti-racist requires concrete action.

We said we would update you on our progress on an annual basis.

Two key areas of concrete targets involve our colleagues and artists.


Last year we set an inclusion target to increase the representation of People of Colour at Senior Management level from 7% to 20% in the next three years. 


We said we would allocate at least 30% of available commissioning funds to People of Colour artists in the next two financial years. 

  • By comparison, commissioning funds allocated to People of Colour artists in our in-person programme were 11% of funds in the 19/20 financial year and 19% of funds in the 20/21 financial year.
  • In 2021/22, 57% of our commissioning funds for work on our stages was allocated to People of Colour artists. 47% of commissioning funds for work on our Digital Stage was allocated to People of Colour artists.
  • We are putting robust processes in place for gathering data from commissioned artists to ensure we have an accurate picture to inform decision-making.

One of our major initiatives in 2022 was Well Seasoned, platforming work by Black dancemakers, conceived and curated by Jonzi D and Michelle Norton from our Breakin’ Convention team. Well Seasoned featured a range of works by Black artists, including Akeim Toussaint Buck, Ivan Michael Blackstock and our New Wave Associate L’Atisse Rhoden, as well as our National Partner Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre.

We also presented a range of works on our Digital Stage, including short dance films, documentaries and a podcast. Well Seasoned on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage was nominated for a UK Theatre Award for Digital Innovation.

We have progressed our anti-racism and inclusion culture work within the organisation too.

In 2022, we completed our 18 month partnership with Creative Equals. We worked with them to create safe spaces for our People of Colour colleagues to share experiences and facilitate learning sessions with the wider organisation. As a result, we have an action plan which will feed into our wider Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) strategy.

We created the Voice, Action and Change group which runs bi-monthly engagement sessions with colleagues on EDI topics. We have had three so far run in-house on neurodiversity, access and the Creative Equals partnership recommendations. We have further sessions planned on gender identity and stress to name a few.

We redesigned our Sadler’s Wells Experience development programme to incorporate our values, new safe spaces and dignity at work guidance. This clarified the escalation routes for managers and teams to effectively deal with any discriminatory behaviour they experience or witness and confirmed the support available to them.

green front of house bubble

We also launched our public zero tolerance campaign on discriminatory or harmful behaviour in our venues. You can now find these green bubbles front of house and backstage for audience members, visiting companies, artists, visitors and participants. We encourage anyone in our spaces to raise anything with a member of our team.

We thank our colleagues and collaborators who have taken part in this work, including the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group, Voice, Action and Change Group, Racial Equality Task Force and Creative Equals, all of whom are helping to guide, shape, and drive this important work. 

We welcome your feedback. Please do email with your thoughts or suggestions.