Sadler's Wells Director Announces New Direction and New Artistic Partnerships

Classic Arts News   Sadler's Wells Director Announces New Direction and New Artistic Partnerships
 
Alastair Spalding, director of Sadler's Wells, has announced a new direction for the theater's contemporary dance program that includes artistic partnerships and, for the first time, works commissioned by the theater.

Spalding was appointed to the position four months ago after acting as interim artistic director since the previous March.

His intent is to shift the theater from a venue for existing work to a producing organization. He told the London Guardian, "We have been doing existing work largely—but that can't go on for ever. We have to start feeding the process. It is time for Sadler's to start investing in the future of the form."

The theater's new artistic associates are choreographer Matthew Bourne, the George Piper Dances/Ballet Boyz team of Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, and Jonzi D, who produced and curated Sadler's hop hop dance festival last year.

Bourne's new production, based on the film Edward Scissorhands, which will have its premiere next June, and Sadler's will commission the next works from the Nunn and Trevitt and Jonzi D.

The new associates, who join Sadler's resident company, Random Dance, and its associate company, Rambert Dance Company, will have offices at the theater.

Spalding also announced the details of the theater's summer program, which includes the premiere of a collaborative work, zero degrees, by choreographers Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with sculptor Antony Gormley and musician Nitin Sawnhey.

Although the theater's administration was in flux last year, with the departure of chief executive Jean-Luc Choplin and the resignation of board chair Denise Kingsmill, Spalding's announcement radiated optimism, and with good reason. The announcement comes on the heels of record ticket sales for the theater. Ticket sales last fall were up nearly 40 percent from last year, and audience attendance was 78 percent, as compared to 65 percent last year.

Spalding is ready to establish Sadler's as a real center for the art form. "You've got the National Theatre for drama, English National Opera for opera," he said, "and I want Sadler's to perform the same function for contemporary dance."

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