Julie Cunningham & Companyhow did we get here?
In February 2022, Jules Cunningham (Julie Cunningham & Company) attended a meeting at Sadler’s Wells to discuss their New Wave Associate role. Jules shared an idea they had about doing some movement research with Spice Girl Melanie C, with whom Jules shares Merseyside roots. Soon after, Jules, Melanie, and long-time company collaborator Harry Alexander ventured into the studio together to explore the movement practices that brought them together and set them apart. From these early explorations, how did we get here? emerged.
What do we hold in our bodies?
The fullness of our experience is alive and present in every moment.
We feel our power, all the way to the edges of ourselves,
The loneliness of living and never fully being understood,
And the chaos that lives within and around us.
The longing in our hearts,
The unexpected happenings at the edges of our lives,
Our memories and the inrush of the future,
The voices of those near us, and those far away.
How did we get here?
Artistic Team & Credits
Choreographed by Jules Cunningham
Performed by Jules Cunningham, Melanie Chisholm, Harry Alexander
Sound Design & Original Music Score Wibke Tiarks
Lighting Design Zeynep Kepekli
Costume Design Stevie Stewart
Dramaturgy Joyce Henderson
Rehearsal Direction / Outside Eye Orrow Bell
Rehearsal Dancer / Understudy Yu Chien Cheng
Producers Kat Bridge & Lydia Wharf
Producer for Sadler’s Wells Robyn Cabaret
Production Manager for Sadler’s Wells Pete Maxey
Company Stage Manager Vikki Chandler
Sound Technician Mark Webber
Lighting Programmers Imogen Clarke, George Bach
Photography Camilla Greenwell
Original Photography Dolly Brown
Costume Fabrication Stevie Stewart Studio
Costume Design Assistant Hannah Wood
Costume Assistant Beth Robinson
Costume for Autumn Photoshoot Vicky Long, Jules Cunningham
Nina Simone – Stars from Live at Montreux 1976 (2006) courtesy of Bucks Music Group Limited, Nina Simone Charitable Trust and Rich & Famous Records, Ltd.
Henry Purcell – Dido & Aeneas (Z. 626): When I am Laid in Each “Dido’s Lament” from Purcell: Opera Music & Arias (2006) courtesy of ATMA Classique
Janis Ian – Stars from Stars (1974) courtesy of Bucks Music Group Limited
Singing excerpt inspired by Meredith Monk’s Spider Web Anthem.
Commissioned and Co-Produced by Sadler’s Wells. Additional co-commissioning support from DanceEast. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Early sound research and development was supported by Bonnie Bird Choreographic Development Award.
Jules Cunningham is a Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate.
Julie Cunningham & Company would like to extend special thanks to:
Vicky Long, Flip at Organised Chaos Management, Barbara James & Tim Geddes, Irene Revell & Vanda Playford, Joe Marshall, Rob Hopper and Charlie Morrissey at Wainsgate Dances, Joe Moran, and all the team at Sadler’s Wells including Ciara, Freddie, Simon, Dave, Georgette and Alistair.
Duration: 1 Hour (no interval)
Photography and filming of any kind is not permitted during this performance. Please turn off your mobile phone so as not to distract the performers or people sitting around you.
Following the World Premiere on Thursday 19 January, we hosted a post-show talk on stage with Jules Cunningham, Melanie C and Harry Alexander, chaired by Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director Sir Alistair Spalding with BSL-Interpretation by Jeni Draper. You can watch a recording of the post-show talk on the Sadler’s Wells website.
Performances on Saturday 21, Sunday 22, Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 January are Relaxed Performances, offering an informal atmosphere to enjoy the show. The auditorium will open thirty minutes before each performance. House lights will remain at a low level throughout for those that need to move within the auditorium and separate chill-out spaces are provided. If you think you might like to make use of these alternative spaces during the show, we recommend you take a seat in the Stalls rather than on-stage.
The performance on Wednesday 25 January will have Audio Description by Maryam Shakiba, preceded by a Touch Tour at 6.30pm. If you wish to book a headset and attend the Touch Tour, please contact Ticket Office on 020 7863 8000 (Monday to Saturday, 12pm-6pm) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can access the Visual Story at this link to further support your visit.
About Julie Cunningham & Company
Jules Cunningham founded Julie Cunningham & Company in 2017 to create and present work that combines clarity of form and attention to detail with an interest in gender identity, the body and its emotional states, and mental health. Jules is developing a movement language that draws on their technical training, expanding and queering it collaboratively, working between sound, text, and visual art.
The company was launched at the Barbican in London and was Associate Company of Rambert in 2018. Jules has created 12 works for the company which have toured in the UK and Europe. Longstanding collaborators include dancers Harry Alexander and Eleanor Perry, dramaturg Joyce Henderson, costume designer Stevie Stewart, producer Kat Bridge and with Lydia Wharf since 2020. For this production, the company is delighted to collaborate with London-based lighting designer Zeynep Kepekli, Berlin-based sound artist Wibke Tiarks, artist Orrow Bell as rehearsal director; and singer, artist, and icon Melanie Chisholm!
Jules and the company would love to hear what you thought of the show – find them on Instagram @juliecunninghamandcompany.
About Jules Cunningham
Jules (they/them) is from Liverpool and has worked professionally as a dancer for twenty years, recognised for ‘Outstanding Modern Performance’ by the Critics Circle National Dance Awards (2014). After training at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London, they worked with Ballett der Stadt Theater Koblenz in Germany, Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York, and Michael Clark Company in London; and in projects with Boris Chartmatz, Thick & Tight, Anne Carson, and Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz across Europe. Jules was in residence for Haroon Mirza’s exhibition at ACCA as part of Melbourne International Festival in 2019.
Jules has presented work in the UK and internationally, alongside engaging in choreographic research and extensive teaching. They were one of ten commissioned artists for Art Night London in 2019 and a recipient of the 2021 Founders Prize Award at the Bethlem Gallery for their visual art work and are part of a current exhibition in the Long Gallery at Maudsley Hospital.
Jules made their Sadler’s Wells Theatre debut as a New Wave Associate in 2018 with m/y, commissioned as part of the theatre’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
About Melanie C
Melanie’s career as a recording artist began as a member of the Spice Girls, whose iconic 1996 debut single ‘Wannabe’, topped the charts in 37 countries, laying the foundation for debut album ’Spice’ to sell more than 31 million copies worldwide; the best-selling album of all time by a female group. The band went on to sell more than 85 million records, releasing three studio albums, 13 singles and winning a host of awards including a BRIT for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
As a solo artist Melanie (she/her) has achieved over 3 million album sales, two Number 1 singles and six Top 10 singles. Her self-titled album was released in October 2020, reaching #8 in the UK album charts. In September 2022, Melanie became a Sunday Times best-selling author, with the release of her highly anticipated autobiography, Who I Am.
Melanie is delighted to be making her Sadler’s Wells Theatre debut as collaborator and performer with Julie Cunningham & Company. how did we get here? choreographed by Jules Cunningham marks a first foray into the world of contemporary dance, connecting back to Melanie’s early dance training and fulfilling a lifelong ambition to perform at Sadler’s Wells.
About Harry Alexander
Harry (he/him) is a long-standing member of Michael Clark Company and Julie Cunningham & Company. He was the winner of ‘Best Emerging Artist’ at the Critics Circle National Dance Awards in 2017.
Harry trained at Bird College before joining Michael Clark Company in 2010, performing in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Come Been and Gone and To a simple, rock ‘n’ roll…song, touring North America, Europe and Asia as well as performing on the company’s home stage at Barbican, London. He opened the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival (2015), danced in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London and at the Whitney Biennial in New York.
Harry has collaborated and performed regularly with Julie Cunningham & Company since its inception. He performed in the company’s first major work at Barbican Pit Theatre in 2017, presented later that year at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the British Council Showcase. He performed in m/y at the Napoli Teatro Festival and in the premiere of m/ykovsky at Art Night London, both in 2019. More recently he has led rehearsals for the London premiere of m/ykovksy as part of a double bill of work presented at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells.