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Big leaps at home and abroad for Sadler’s Wells

July 4, 2024

A company of two dozen black dancers, all facing to the right, heads turned towards us or back over their shoulders. They float just above the ground, bare feet pointing towards the soil, as if they’ve just jumped straight up. The women wear soft slip dresses of creamy silk, while the men have bare chests and black trousers.
Audiences up 33% Touring boosted by 50%
in 2023/24

Sadler’s Wells enhances its international impact and deepens relationships at home, ahead of opening fourth venue

We enjoyed one of our most successful years in 2023/24 – reaching over a million people through our presentations in London, our touring work nationwide and internationally, and our digital work. Over half a million audience members visited our three sites in London, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, the Peacock Theatre and Lilian Baylis Studio in the last financial year, with visitation up by 33%.

Our touring dates were up 50% on the previous year and admissions increased by an astonishing 5 times year-on year, as two of our home-grown productions enjoyed great success out on the road in the UK and abroad, travelling to 30 cities across 12 countries. Message In A Bottle, a Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK co-production, toured the country before visiting The Netherlands, and completing a 10-stop tour of North America, playing at prestigious theatres including New York City Center and the Hollywood Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. The Rite of Spring/common ground[s], a Pina Bausch Foundation, Ecole des Sables and Sadler’s Wells production, enjoyed sold-out runs in Europe and the United States, with performances at the iconic Park Avenue Armory and the Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Britannia Morton became our Co-Chief Executive and Executive Director of Sadler’s Wells. We named 7 new Associate Artists – Jules Cunningham, Dan Daw, Oona Doherty, Michelle Dorrance, Seeta Patel, Alesandra Seutin, and Botis Seva – who joined our existing Associates and reflected the extraordinary range of work that we present here on our stages. The Rose Choreographic School, which will be based in Stratford, welcomed its inaugural cohort of 13 dance makers. We appointed Niquelle LaTouche as Head of Academy Breakin’ Convention.

Our Digital Stage programme went from strength to strength. Highlights included pairing top choreographers with filmmakers for Motion Picture, which saw Botis Seva collaborate with Douglas Bernardt and Alesandra Seutin team up with Ben Williams. Our work on our Digital Stage received almost 300,000 views, with people tuning in from an astonishing 144 different countries.

We launched a range of artistic development initiatives that focussed on practice rather than performance-based outcomes. These included a mentoring programme, a South Asian Dance Development Programme, Time and Space commissions, a Disabled Artist programme and a series of bi-monthly artist-led sessions. These different initiatives were led by Associate Artistic Director Rob Jones and reached a total of 183 artists over the year.

Our truly international programme featured companies from 21 different countries and artists from 6 continents. The work we presented on our stages in London was recognised at top awards ceremonies and received 5 nominations at the Olivier Awards. In fact, all four Best New Dance Production nominees at this year’s Olivier Awards were presented at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. 35 artists and companies nominated at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards were presented on Sadler’s Wells Stages.

Our Learning and Engagement work impacted nearly 14,000 participants and we delivered over 200 sessions with our Associate Schools. We launched a brand-new choreographic programme, Making Moves, which reached nearly 800 young people, some of whom will be able to showcase their own creations on Sadler’s Wells Theatre stage at the national showcase this July.

We also celebrated some big anniversaries: National Youth Dance Company, which is run by Sadler’s Wells and has now reached 8,000 young people, turned 10 this year, and the company toured the country with a new work, Novacene, choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Wayne McGregor. Breakin’ Convention marked 20 years with its biggest celebrations to date taking over the whole building once again showcasing extraordinary hip hop culture in all its forms – Artistic Director Jonzi D was presented with a New York citation in honour of his decades-long contribution to the art form from American hip hop pioneers, The Legendary Twins. And… our home in Angel turned 25.

Britannia Morton, Co-Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said:

It’s been a strong year for us here at Sadler’s Wells, and it’s fantastic to see our audience figures grow year-on-year, with a 33% rise for our sites in London. This bodes well as we look to the future, expanding our operation with a fourth venue opening in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the East Bank culture and innovation quarter later this year. We’ve also had a very strong year on the international stage too, as we have taken two of our productions out into the world – each very different, but both demonstrating the excellence of the work being produced at Sadler’s Wells with the help of our international partners in collaboration

Sir Alistair Spalding CBE, Artistic Director and Co-Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, said:

What a year it’s been. We’ve showcased an extraordinary breadth of dance over the last year with everything from world-class hip-hop acts to exceptional ballet companies, kathak dancers to performances of pantsula, tightrope walkers to immersive works for young audiences. We’ve welcomed artists from Argentina, Taiwan, the United States, India, and Ukraine to name a few. There have been musings on nationhood, dance histories, and desire, stories of humanity and hope, and reflections on the importance of coming together to share a space. And we are delighted to have shared our spaces with so many fantastic artists and inquisitive audience members over the last year and hope that the next year will be no different.