Long-time collaborators Nitin Sawhney and Akram Khan have been appointed to curate a new Sadler’s Wells initiative called Svapnagata, a two-week festival of Indian music and dance which will run from 16 to 28 November 2009.

Svapnagata (meaning “dreaming” in Sanskrit) will bring together over 60 both Indian and British Asian musicians, dancers and choreographers. It will open with two new separate works from Sawhney, a multi award-winning composer, and dancer-choreographer Khan, and it will culminated with the world premiere of a joint piece entitled Confluence, which celebrates their shared history and personal journey together from their earliest piece at Sadler’s Wells, Kaash, to the most recent, bahok.

Amongst the artists appearing during Svapnagata are former Pina Bausch dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, electric mandolin player U Shrinivas, Grammy-nominated Sitar star Anoushka Shankar and British Asian actor Riz Ahmed (under his alter ego Riz MC, Ahmed is best known for his latest role as Shifty in the eponymous film).


Beyond Svapnagata, the autumn season at Sadler’s Wells includes eight world premieres, five UK premieres and two Sadler’s Wells productions. A season of over 40 events, it follows an unprecedented year of audience attendance, with over half a million people visiting the theatre.

Upcoming theatre-related highlights include return seasons for two Matthew Bourne productions, yet-another Christmas outing for Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, and the world premiere of Shall We Dance: A Tribute to Richard Rodgers, which is directed, choreographed and starring Adam Cooper and runs from 23 July to 30 August 2009.

Set to a score comprised entirely of melodies by the late-great American musical theatre composer, Shall We Dance tells the story of one man’s quest to find true love. His panoramic voyage transports the audience from the Orient to the Wild West by way of Russian folk dance, New York jazz and the waltzes of a Viennese ballroom. The Rodgers tribute marks Cooper’s first new production at Sadler’s Wells since 2005’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Meanwhile, the show that made Cooper’s name outside of the dance world, Matthew Bourne’s 1995 multiple award winner Swan Lake, with its all-male ballet de corps, returns for another limited season from 10 December 2009 to 24 January 2010. And Bourne’s more recent piece, last year’s Dorian Gray, is back at Sadler’s Wells this summer, from 7 to 19 July, as part of an ongoing tour.

And, of course, come Christmas time, the musical stage adaptation of The Snowman, Raymond Briggs' 1978 children’s picture book, will once again hit the West End care of Sadler's Wells at the Peacock Theatre, where it will run this year – its 11th in London! – from 2 December 2009 to 10 January 2010.

- by Terri Paddock