Sadler's Wells Breaks Records, Brings in HorsesDate: 27 October 2010
On the same day that it learned that it – along with all other organisations regularly funded by the Arts Council – would receive a 6.9% cut to its subsidy (of £2.3 million in 2010/11) for the next financial year, Sadler’s Wells announced its highest audience figures ever – a record 600,000 people for 872 performances of 132 productions.
In addition to the strength of its own programming, including 22 new in-house productions, Sadler’s Wells attributes the upsurge to a dramatic increase in dance interest overall. Fuelled by TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance, some five million Britons now participate in dance classes or sessions on a weekly basis – and, for schoolchildren, dance now ranks as second only to football as their most popular activity.
Taking a leaf out of the reality TV book, Sadler’s created the online Global Dance Contest, to seek the next generation of dancers via YouTube, and attracted applications from 34 different countries.
For the 2009/10 year, which ended on 31 March 2010, the record audience figures drove box office takings of £13 million, with ticket sales representing 65% of Sadler’s Wells’ total turnover of £19.8 million.
At its annual press conference yesterday (26 October 2010), Sadler’s Wells also unveiled full programming for its spring 2011 season. A centrepiece of the schedule is the previously reported world premiere of The Most Incredible Thing (17-26 March), the brand new dance work based on Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s story, with music by the Pet Shop Boys, “radical” choreography by Javier de Frutos, a 26-piece orchestra and a 16-strong cast led by former Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov.
The season will also see dancers on live horses on a London stage for the first time in nearly 40 years when world-renowned rider, director and designer Bartabas and his Zingaro Equestrian Theatre company visit London for the first time with their specially commissioned piece The Centaur and the Animal (1-6 March), co-choreographed by Japanese butoh master Ko Murobushi.
Other highlights for dance lovers include visits from Anne Teresa De Keersmaker and her company Rosas, William Forsythe, les ballet C de la B (featuring seven transvestites), Rosalba Torres Guerrero, Daniel Linehan, Dutch National Ballet, Hofesh Schechter, Martin Creed, Sol Pico and American Ballet Theatre, as well as returns for Balletboyz, Merchants of Bollywood, Richard Thomas and Stephen Mear’s Shoes and, for an eighth year, the three-day breakdance festival Breakin’ Convention.
Full season details are online at www.sadlerswells.com.