Autumn Winter 2017 Season Announcement

Posted on 2 May 2017


Sadler’s Wells’ new season features a world first for artistic research

Tickets are on sale from Monday 22 May at 10am for Sadler’s Wells’ Autumn / Winter 2017 season, which features a host of new shows by the theatre’s Associate Artists and companies produced or co-produced by Sadler’s Wells, including a highly personal new production by Wayne McGregor that, in a world first for dance and the arts, has genetic sequencing at the heart of its choreographic research.

These productions include a total of five world premieres by Wayne McGregor and BalletBoyz, a UK premiere by Hofesh Shechter and the much-anticipated UK premiere of International Associate Company Acosta Danza. Audiences will also have another chance to see work by Jasmin Vardimon, along with award-winning productions by Matthew Bourne (performed by Resident Company New Adventures), Michael Keegan-Dolan, and Akram Khan (performed by Associate Company English National Ballet). Khan also curates the dance programme of the Darbar Festival, which Sadler’s Wells hosts this year for the first time.

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Wayne McGregor is a multi-award winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance that have radically redefined dance in the modern era. Beyond the dance stage, he has been in demand as a choreographer for theatre, opera, TV and film including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Sing, music videos (Radiohead, Thom Yorke, The Chemical Brothers) and fashion shows (Gareth Pugh, New York Fashion Week 2014). In over 20 years of collaborative multi-disciplinary works he has partnered with artists such as John Tavener, Audrey Niffenegger, Jamie xx, Max Richter, Olafur Eliasson, Thom Yorke, Mark Wallinger, Jon Hopkins, John Pawson and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The visionary contemporary choreographer has led his own Sadler’s Wells Resident Company, Company Wayne McGregor onto ever more radical and challenging innovations. For the world premiere of his aptly titled Autobiography (4 to 7 October 2017) followed by a UK and world tour), he embarks on his boldest and most intimate collaboration to date, as he allows world-leading geneticists to sequence his entire genome.

His personal biological archaeology laid bare will dramatically alter McGregor’s viewpoint on his own life-story, tracing patterns back into the ancestral past of our species and illuminating what creates our individuality. Combining memoir, documentary, and a re-processing of nature’s code through an act of human imagination, this new work charts McGregor’s adventure into his autobiography, and asks how to understand a life.

Autobiography marks the first piece he will create in his own recently opened space, Studio Wayne McGregor. Located in the heart of technology and media centre Here East, the space embodies McGregor’s life-long interest in research and collaboration with science and technology research, and will be his centre for experimental creative projects in biology and genetics, AI, VR and new technologies.

For Autobiography, his creative team includes set design by Hackney-based artist and designer Ben Cullen Williams whose clients include Calvin Klein, Erdem and The Serpentine Gallery. Music is by electronic musician Jlin, a former steel mill worker from Gary, Indiana, credited with bringing a unique sound to the Chicago-born footwork genre. She began producing music in 2008, and her track Erotic Heat featured on the 2011 Planet Mu compilation Bangs and Works Vol. 2. The song was later used to accompany a 2014 Rick Owens fashion show, and her debut album, Dark Energy, was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. Her long-awaited second album is released on 19 May 2017. Lighting is by long-standing collaborator and award-winning lighting designer Lucy Carter, and dramaturg is Uzma Hameed, with whom he worked on the award-winning 2015 production for The Royal Ballet, Woolf Works. Autobiography is a Sadler’s Wells co-production.

Other highlights by Associate Artists and companies include, BalletBoyz presenting a quartet of world premieres that demonstrate the range and ability of their versatile dancers. Showcased in one evening as part of 14 Days (10 - 14 October), choreographers Javier de Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Iván Pérez and Christopher Wheeldon have teamed up with composers Scott Walker, Charlotte Harding, Joby Talbot and Keaton Henson to create their pieces for the company of 10 male dancers, in 14 days.

Fallen forms the second half of the evening, choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant and set to a powerful score by French film composer Armand Amar. Fallen won the award for Best Modern Choreography at the 2013 National Dance Awards and features lighting from Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Hulls.

Following an exceptional career of more than 20 years as one of the world’s leading ballet dancers, international star Carlos Acosta launches his new company, Acosta Danza from 27 - 30 September, followed by a UK tour.

Made up of the best dancers Cuba has to offer, the company includes dancers trained in both ballet and contemporary dance styles. Performing new and existing pieces by Cuban choreographers rarely seen outside the country, Acosta Danza will also commission new pieces from international choreographers taking inspiration from their iconic nation. For Debut, in which Acosta himself makes a guest appearance, they perform works by Cuban choreographer Marianela Boán, Spanish dance-maker Goyo Montero, New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

For the first time, Sadler’s Wells hosts the Darbar Festival (9 – 12 November), with Associate Artist Akram Khan curating a celebration of classical Indian music and dance, and performing in the opening evening on 9 November. Alongside revered musical masters of the Indian subcontinent, and new talents, Darbar comes to Sadler’s Wells to offer a classical dance programme for the first time since the festival launched over ten years ago. The Festival will continue to present a programme at its regular home, the Southbank Centre, while this year expanding to include Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican Centre.

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Hofesh Shechter’s work is part dance, part gig, part theatre and is instantly identifiable. Balancing the comic and the bleak, the anarchic and the violent, for the UK premiere of Grand Finale (12 - 16 September) ten dancers from Hofesh Shechter Company share the stage with a band of musicians, playing an original score to the backing track of Shechter’s trademark cinematic electronic sounds and vocal chants. 

Three critically acclaimed productions by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists return; Akram Khan’s Giselle, for English National Ballet (20 – 23 September), relocates the classic tale of love, betrayal and redemption to a community of migrant garment factory workers, kept apart from the lavish lives of their landlords by a high wall, featuring stunning costumes and set design by Academy Award-winning designer Tim Yip (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

Best Production award-winner (Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards), Michael Keegan-Dolan’s magical adaptation of one of the most famous ballets in the world returns (30 November – 2 December), with the company of 13 world-class performers including acclaimed actor Mikel Murfi. Swan Lake/Loch na hEala is interwoven with storytelling, song and live music. Dublin based band Slow Moving Cloud’s score combines Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences. With powerful imagery, this Swan Lake is rooted in the Midlands of Ireland where ancient mythology and the modern world collide.

Following the sold-out, critical and recent Olivier award-winning success of The Red Shoes, New Adventures returns to Sadler’s Wells this Christmas with a thrilling love story set in London during the Second World War, which forms part of the company’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella (9 December 2017 - 27 January 2018) takes the audience into the heart of Prokofiev’s magnificent score, with surround sound designed by Paul Groothuis, and a specially commissioned recording of a 60-piece orchestra, Lez Brotherston’s Olivier Award-winning designs and lighting by Olivier Award-winning Neil Austin.

Alongside works by established artists, the Autumn / Winter 2017 season introduces three distinguished dance-makers to Sadler’s Wells for the first time; Shobana Jeyasingh, Meg Stuart and Kyle Abraham.

Seasoned choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh presents Bayadère - The Ninth Life, a work inspired by the famous 19th century ballet. Born in Chennai, India, with roots in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, London-based Jeyasingh creates an inventive, hybrid world which draws from a variety of dance styles both classical and contemporary.  

American choreographer Meg Stuart comes to Sadler’s Wells for the first time via Berlin and Brussels, her home for the last 20 years. Stuart is a major dance artist at the forefront of choreographic developments, her work crossing different territories from theatre to visual arts. UNTIL OUR HEARTS STOP questions many norms, not without humour and sees her charismatic performers surrendering to a seemingly chaotic universe with striking commitment and risk.

As part of the Sadler’s Wells Debut series, introducing rising dance names to audiences, with a special ticket price and a free post-show talk, American choreographer Kyle Abraham presents the poignant Pavement (17 & 18 November). From New York City, his company Abraham.In.Motion’s distinctive interdisciplinary style, commonly referred to as ‘post-modern gumbo’, combines balletic and hip hop movements, and is both sensual and provocative, putting the emphasis on human personalities. Inspired by the 1991 John Singleton film, Boyz N The Hood, the writings of American civil rights activist W.E.B Du Bois and Abraham’s own childhood, Pavement takes seven dancers through a culture plagued by discrimination and genocide in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighbourhoods, set to an eclectic mix of Bach, Benjamin Britten, Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway.

Multi-award winning Abraham has been described as the "best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama" (OUT Magazine) and in 2012, he was named among a group of 54 artists from nine creative disciplines around the US as a United States Artists Fellow, an award acknowledging remarkable artists for their influential work.

This Autumn Sadler’s Wells’ work supporting young talent will be in evidence, with two alumni Emma Farnell-Watson and Molly Walker from the National Youth Dance Company - run by the theatre, performing in Jasmin Vardimon’s Pinocchio and Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala respectively.

Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding says:
“At Sadler’s Wells, we believe dance can mirror and shape contemporary culture. Our theatre is not just a place where dance is presented, but a producing house that makes dance happen through supporting artists and commissioning and producing work. Importantly, we do this both to develop the art form and to offer our audiences the chance to experience great dance - to learn, experiment, be enthralled and inspired. 

These productions reflect the vibrantly diverse spectrum of ideas, choreographic voices, curatorial perspectives and dance styles finding a platform on our stage today, as well as our ongoing commitment to open up the theatre in order to widen and enrich our own and our audiences’ views.”

Other seasonal highlights include Birmingham based Rosie Kay’s award-winning choreographic representation of her time spent with the 4th Battalion The Rifles, watching and participating in full battle exercises, and visiting the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre for the Armed Forces, performed offsite at Yeomanry House, Bloomsbury (7 – 9 September). 5 SOLDIERS: The Body is the Frontline offers no moral stance on war, but instead questions what it is that we ask of our soldiers and explores how the human body remains essential to war, even in the 21st century, using Kay’s trademark intense physical and athletic dance theatre.

As part of the London-wide annual Dance Umbrella festival, three acclaimed choreographers each create inimitable dance works to the same piece of music, Beethoven’s Grande Fugue op. 133. In a welcome return for the world class dancers of Lyon Opera Ballet who last performed at Sadler’s Wells more than a decade ago, Trois Grandes Fugues, (19 & 20 October) presents three different responses to Beethoven’s impassioned score. Lucinda Childs’ interpretation exemplifies her meticulous precision and cool, complex classicism. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker responds with an uninhibited, masculine and non-classical vocabulary, whilst Maguy Marin creates an exhilarating whirlwind where life is reduced to a race against death.

This Christmas marks 20 consecutive years of The Snowman enchanting young audiences at The Peacock (23 November – 31 December), with a magical mix of exquisite dancing and live music – including Howard Blake’s much-loved Walking in the Air.

Sadler’s Wells’ commitment to taking the highest quality dance elsewhere in the UK and abroad sees the first major tour of Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza following its UK premiere at the theatre (27 – 30 September), as part of Sadler’s Wells’ regional touring initiative The Movement, with The Lowry, Salford and Birmingham Hippodrome, while also visiting Brighton, Southampton and Edinburgh (3 October – 11 November). The Movement, is a dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry in Salford and Sadler’s Wells. Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences.

Internationally, the theatre takes its globally acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Convention to four US locations (13 October – 5 November); for the first time to Miami and Denver, and following hugely successful inaugural tours, a third visit to Charlotte and a return to Harlem, the birthplace of hip hop.

The Monument Trust supports co-productions and new commissions at Sadler’s Wells

Tickets for the Autumn / Winter 2017 season are on public sale from Monday 22 May at 10am via and 020 7863 8000. Booking opens to members from Wednesday 17 May at 10am.

For further details, images and videos of the new season please contact: Abigail Desch on 020 7863 8119 / or Caroline Ansdell on 020 7863 8125 /


Notes to Editors

About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the artistic directorship of Alistair Spalding, the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap.

Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 130 new dance works to the stage and its award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour internationally. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies, an Associate Company and three International Associate Companies. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through research and development, running the National Youth Dance Company and a range of programmes including Wild Card, New Wave Associates, Open Art Surgery and Summer University.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera all having started at Sadler’s Wells. Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 9% of its revenue from Arts Council England.




Company Wayne McGregor, Autobiography

Wayne McGregor CBE (Choreographer)
Born in 1970, Wayne McGregor is a multi-award winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for trailblazing innovations in performance that have redefined dance in the modern era. He is the Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, the creative engine of his life-long choreographic enquiry into thinking through and with the body. It encompasses his extensive creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science; Company Wayne McGregor, his own touring company of dancers (founded in 1992); and highly specialized learning and research programmes. Studio Wayne McGregor opened its own newly created studio space at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in March 2017.

McGregor has made over thirty works for his company and today it continues to be his laboratory for ambitious and experimental new choreography, touring his work across the UK and around the world. Company Wayne McGregor is Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, London.

McGregor is also Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet, where his productions are acclaimed for their daring reconfiguring of classical language. He is Professor of Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Plymouth University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of Leeds. He is part of the Circle of Cultural Fellows at King’s College London. In 2004 McGregor was made a Research Fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge.


McGregor is regularly commissioned by and has works in the repertories of the most important ballet companies in the world, including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has horeographed for theatre, opera, film (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Legend of Tarzan, and most recently Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them), music videos (Radiohead, Thom Yorke, The Chemical Brothers), fashion (Gareth Pugh at New York Fashion Week 2014), campaigns (Selfridges) and TV (Brit Awards 2015 and 16) and site specific performances (Big Dance Trafalgar Square, 2012). Artists who have partnered with McGregor through more than twenty years of collaborative multi-disciplinary work include John Tavener, Audrey Niffenegger, Jamie xx, Max Richter, Olafur Eliasson, Ben Frost, Thom Yorke, Mark Wallinger, Random International, Jon Hopkins, John Pawson and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

McGregor's work has earned him four Critics' Circle National Dance Awards, two Time Out Awards, two South Bank Show Awards, two Olivier Awards, a prix Benois de la Danse and two Golden Mask Awards. In 2011 McGregor was awarded a CBE for Services to Dance. Most recently McGregor premiered Multiverse, Obsidian Tear and Woolf Works for The Royal Ballet, Tree of Codes for Company Wayne McGregor, Alea Sands for The Paris Opera Ballet, Kairos for Zurich Ballet, and presented Thinking with the Body at Wellcome Collection, an exhibition exploring his collaborative enquiry into choreographic thinking.

Jlin (composer)

Jlin first came to public attention featuring on the Bangs and Works footwork compilations at the start of the decade. Her debut album on Dark Energy (Planet Mu) displayed a unique creative talent that outgrew any easy genre tags, placing her in her own musical zone of hyper rhythmic cuts that displayed a tension between anger and colourful euphoria. Embarking on a world tour soon after the album release she grew a reputation as a formidable live act, and the album ended up in the top 10's and 20's of album lists for 2015 for lots of music publications. She follows up her debut with a new album due out on 19 May 2017 (Planet Mu).


Ben Cullen Williams (Set Design)

London based artist and designer Ben Cullen Williams studies the boundaries between art and architecture. His work seeks to investigate the phenomenological elements of light, space and form. Cullen Williams studied at the University of Edinburgh and at the Royal College of Art respectively. He leads S-CW, an art, design and architecture collaborative studio in Hackney Wick. The studio’s experiments in art and architecture manifest as sculptures, installations, recorded on film as well as architectures. Through this process the members of S-CW aim to understand more about the relationship between us and the world we inhabit. Clients include Y-3, Calvin Klein, Paul Smith, Pringle of Scotland, Jonathan Saunders, Benga, The British Fashion Council, The Serpentine Gallery, Erdem and Mackintosh.


Uzma Hameed (Dramaturg)
British director and writer Uzma Hameed has collaborated with McGregor as dramaturg Woolf Works (2015), Obsidian Tear (2016) and Multiverse (2016) for The Royal Ballet. Hameed graduated from the University of Cambridge with a first in modern and medieval languages, and went on to train in classical Indian music and dance. In 1997 she founded the Big Picture Company, an innovative theatre company combining new writing with choreography and film. Hameed’s credits with the Big Picture Company included writing and directing A Dark RiverTaj and Prophetess, all of which were toured extensively around the UK. Hameed was Associate Director at Derby Playhouse 2002–5, where her directing credits included Shirley ValentineDraculaFrankenstein and her own controversial adaptation of Schiller’s Mary Stuart, which drew parallels between the danger to Elizabethan England from Catholic Rome and the modern threat of Islamist terrorism. She has directed for Kali Theatre, led projects at the National Theatre Studio and taught on workshops and courses for a variety of organizations, including the International Institute of Performing Arts in Paris, BBC Radio for Schools and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 

As a writer, Hameed’s current projects include the novel Undying (co-written with her sister Ambreen) and an English translation of Siegfried Lenz’s Time of the Innocents. Her reviews have appeared in such journals as Dance Theatre JournalDance NowEastAnimated and The Big Issue. She is a trustee of Studio Wayne McGregor.


Lucy Carter (Lighting Design)

Lucy Carter is the winner of the Knight of Illumination Award for Dance in 2008 for Chroma and 2015 for Woolf Works. Her many collaborations with Wayne McGregor include: Atomos, UNDANCE, FAR, Dyad 1909, Entity, Amu, AtaXia, Nemesis, Digit01 (Company Wayne McGregor); Multiverse, Obsidian Tear, Woolf Works, Tetractys: The Art of the Fugue, Raven Girl, Machina, Carbon Life, Live Fire Exercise, Limen, Infra, Chroma, Qualia, Nimbus (Royal Ballet, London); Borderlands (San Francisco Ballet); Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea (Royal Opera/Royal Ballet, London); Outlier (New York City Ballet); Dyad 1929 (Australian Ballet); Kirikou and Karaba (musical); Alea Sands, L’Anatomie de la Sensation, Genus (Paris Opera Ballet); Skindex and Renature (Nederlands Dans Theater 1); 2Human (English National Ballet); Yantra and Nautilus (Stuttgart Ballet); Chroma (Bolshoi, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet); Infra (Joffrey Ballet, Chicago).

Current and recent Opera and Theatre works include: Elecktra (Goteborg Opera) directed by Stephen Langridge; Oil (Almeida Theatre) directed by Carrie Cracknell; The End of Longing (ATG Productions) directed by Lyndsey Posner; Husbands and Sons (National Theatre in co-production with Royal Exchange, Manchester) directed by Marianne Elliot; Wasp Factory by Ben Frost, with text by David Pountney based on the novel by Iain Banks (Bregenz Festival, Linbury at the ROH and Berlin Hebbel Theatre).




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