Theatre News

Sadler's Wells announces 20th anniversary commissions

Artists visiting the venue this year include Natalia Osipova, William Forsythe and Akram Khan

Natalia Osipova
Natalia Osipova
© Bill Cooper

To mark the 20th anniversary of its London theatre – which opened in the week of 13 October 1998 – Sadler's Wells has announced 20 new commissions for 2018.

In March, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will retell Liv Lorent’s Rumpelstiltskin, presented by balletLORENT, and Akram Khan will give his final ever full-length solo performances in XENOS, a tale of an Indian colonial soldier in the First World War.

Khan said today: "I hope it won’t be my last moment on stage. It’s very difficult for any dancer whose voice is essentially their body. So it’s a big transition for me. I am more excited about working with other people than my own body. I will perform again but it will be very small and intimate."

In September, ballerina Natalia Osipova will feature in a programme of work called Pure Dance. Combining her classical technique with her passion for exploring contemporary dance, it will include two new works commissioned for her by Alexei Ratmansky and Iván Pérez.

American choreographer William Forsythe will present A Quiet Evening of Dance in October. Also featuring two new works, it will be his first full evening presentation since he closed the Forsythe Company in 2015.

In November, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Antony Gormley's Icon will feature a set made from three and a half tonnes of clay; Nitin Sawhney’s acclaimed 2015 album "Dystopian Dream" is realised for the stage by Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez; and Layla and Majnun will tell the story of the Middle Eastern Romeo and Juliet, a collaboration between Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Mark Morris and Howard Hodgkin, who worked together before the painter's death last year.

Further commissioned artists include Sharon Eyal – who becomes an associate artist – Lin Hwai-min, Jasmin Vardimon, Mavin Khoo, Wilkie Branson, Jefta van Dinther and Eva Recacha.

Sadler’s Wells artistic director and chief executive Alistair Spalding said: "At Sadler’s Wells we don’t just present dance performances, we make dance happen. We embrace all forms of dance here, reflecting the dance traditions of the world at the same time as reflecting the way the world is today."