Theatre News

Sadler's Wells partners with English National Ballet and announces new Stratford venue

The dance venue also announced details of its 2015 season

Tamara Rojo and Akram Khan in Dust, as part of Lest We Forget
Tamara Rojo and Akram Khan in Dust, as part of Lest We Forget
© Arnaud Stephenson

English National Ballet are set to become the first associate ballet company of London's leading dance venue Sadler's Wells.

The partnership will see ENB present two annual seasons at Sadler's, in spring and autumn, from 2015. Planned productions include the return of the acclaimed First World War programme Lest We Forget next September, and a new production of Giselle, choreographed by Akram Khan, in autumn 2016.

Speaking to WhatsOnStage at this morning's press conference, ENB's artistic director Tamara Rojo said that Sadler's Wells was an obvious choice of partner for the company, offering both a "dedicated dance house" as well as a "ready-made audience who are willing to take risks".

The relationship will officially start in March with the premiere of Modern Masters: Icons of 20th Century Choreography, a triple bill featuring choreography by William Forsythe, John Neumeier and Jiri Kylian.

Rojo added: "I aim to honour the great classical works, keeping them relevant to today's audiences, while introducing brave new works into the company's repertoire; the classics of the future. I am delighted to have Sadler's Wells as a platform to present these works at, over the coming years."

Launching 'Olympicopolis', Bourne returns

Sadler's Wells CEO and artistic director Alistair Spalding also confirmed today that the company's new mid-size venue, which was announced at last year's conference, will be housed at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

A scene from The Car Man
A scene from The Car Man
© Bill Cooper

The winning design for the venue, which will include a 600-seat theatre and rehearsal facilities, will be unveiled in May, with a projected opening date of autumn 2020.

"By adding a mid-scale venue to Sadler’s Wells existing portfolio, my aim is for us to support those artists who work specifically at this scale and to open up dance to ever more people," said Spalding. He added that the project is currently being referred to as 'Olympicopolis'.

Also announced today was the retirement of acclaimed French ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem, a Sadler's associate artist who will present her last dance programme in May 2015.

Next year will also see the continuation of the venue's association with the Pina Bausch company, and the return of Matthew Bourne's award-winning production of The Car Man in July.

Overall audiences at Sadler's Wells' three London theatres (including the Peacock) rose by 12 percent in the past 12 months to over 563,000.

Spalding, who has led the company for a decade, said: "We've become the ultimate destination for people who want to experience the power of dance in a welcoming and stimulating environment. We are the only organisation in the world presenting dance all year round and touring shows to all corners of the globe."