Sadler’s Wells’ Digital Stage In Focus and first performances with live audience

                                                             

SADLER’S WELLS ANNOUNCES A NEW SERIES OF ONLINE COLLABORATIONS: DIGITAL STAGE IN FOCUS; AND THE FIRST PUBLIC PERFORMANCES AT SADLER’S WELLS SINCE LOCKDOWN 

Today Sadler’s Wells announces new activity for autumn, featuring a new digital season and the first live performances at Sadler’s Wells since lockdown:

  • Digital Stage In Focus is a new series featuring Sadler’s Wells in collaboration with three world-renowned dance companies running across the autumn
  • Sadler’s Wells will co-create a suite of digital content with Hofesh Shechter Company, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company and Candoco Dance Company
  • Live dance returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre with the first socially distanced public events to take place on its stage, with performances from Birmingham Royal Ballet, in a mixed bill featuring the first commission from new Artistic Director Carlos Acosta: Lazuli Sky ​

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Sadler’s Wells’ online autumn season begins with a new series of collaborations, Digital Stage In Focus, created in partnership with three of the UK’s most innovative dance companies – Hofesh Shechter Company, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, and Candoco Dance Company. Each company will co-create a takeover of Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage for two-weeks across the autumn, Hofesh Shechter Company in September, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company in October, and Candoco Dance Company in November, with three bespoke programmes inviting audiences to take a deep dive into their work. Digital Stage In Focus will be free for all audiences with content released via the Sadler’s Wells website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Each collaboration will include:

  • A digital screening of a full-length performance made available for a 7-day period on YouTube and Facebook. All text will be subtitled and an audio described version of each screening will also be released
  • A Get Into Dance Workshop – part of new series developed following the success of Sadler’s Wells’ Company of Elders’ workshops, which premiered throughout spring 2020 and received more than 2.8 million views over the summer. Each company will host 30-minute introductory level dance workshop in their distinct dance style, accessible for all ages and designed to improve fitness, physical and mental wellbeing
  • A bespoke piece of digital content devised in collaboration with each company

The Digital Stage In Focus series launches with Sadler’s Wells x Hofesh Shechter Company, running from Monday 14 September – Friday 25 September. This collaboration takes a closer look at the visceral, ground-breaking work of Sadler’s Wells associate artist Hofesh Shechter, featuring the critically acclaimed Grand Finale and two company-devised workshops.

  • The centrepiece of this collaboration is an on-demand screening of the critically acclaimed and hugely successful Grand Finale, previously staged at Sadler’s Wells in 2017 as part of a world tour. Performed by a ten-strong tribe of world-class dancers and accompanied by a live band, Grand Finale combines a cinematic score and richly theatrical set and costume design with the anarchic energy of Shechter’s choreography to portray a world in freefall. Shechter has created a new genre: part dance, part gig, part theatre and wholly original. Grand Finale is available on demand via both Sadler’s Wells Facebook Page and YouTube channel from Thursday 17 September at 7:00pm and will remain online for 7 days thereafter.
  • For their Get Into Dance Workshop, the company will give participants the chance to explore the distinctive movement style of Hofesh Shechter. Hosted by the company’s Associate Artistic Director Bruno Guillore, audiences will learn the company’s daily warm-up which will be suitable for all ages and abilities, and available on Facebook and YouTube from Monday 14 September.
  • The final event will be a bespoke opportunity where viewers can delve deeper into the work and choreography of the company. In Moving Through Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale’ viewers can access two films to learn the ‘Rave’ and ‘Russian Passion’ sections of the piece using simple reference points to explore in depth this euphoric and tribal-inspired piece of dance. ‘Moving Through Hofesh Shechter’s Grand FinaleRave’ will be available on Sadler’s Wells YouTube channel from Friday 18 September, and ‘Moving Through Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale: Russian Passion’ will be available on Sadler’s Wells YouTube channel from Monday 21 September.
  • During this time, Hofesh Shechter Company also presents new work on its own digital channels. Short film Untitled receives its world premiere for free via Zoom on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 September. With choreography, music and direction by Hofesh Shechter, it is a rare opportunity to experience a solo piece from an artist renowned for his award-winning ensemble work. Free for audiences, streamed live, and performed 8 times over 2 days, this 10-minute short will take the viewer beyond the theatrical boundaries and blur the line of audience and performer, bringing a fresh new perspective to the work.

The second digital takeover, Sadler’s Wells x ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, takes place from Monday 19 October – Friday 30 October, with ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company’s dance smash-hit Some Like It Hip Hop available to watch for 7 days on Sadler’s Wells Facebook Page and YouTube channel from Thursday 22 October, 7:00pm. This hip hop sensation has continued to thrill audiences and critics alike since its premiere in 2011, through to its recent return to the Peacock Theatre in 2019, prompting five-star reviews and standing ovations. With a nod to Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it tells a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, crossdressing and revolution, played out in ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company’s trademark style, with choreography from Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince.

The final takeover, Sadler’s Wells x Candoco, runs from Monday 23 November – Friday 4 December. The company’s powerful dance work Let’s Talk About Dis, will be available to watch for 7 days on Sadler’s Well Facebook Page and YouTube channel from Thursday 26 November, 7:00pm. An exploration of identity and political correctness choreographed by Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Hetain Patel, originally created in 2015 and performed at Sadler’s Wells in 2018, Let’s Talk About Dis exposes hidden prejudices through humorous and intimate choreography. Candoco Dance Company is a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers who create work for audiences and participants that excites, challenges and broadens perceptions of art and ability.

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company and Candoco will also present a Get Into Dance Workshop as part of their takeover, taking participants through a simple dance fitness and wellbeing session in their movement style. Both companies will also create a piece of bespoke digital content, offering audiences a further opportunity to explore the unique facets of these distinctive dance companies. Details of these bespoke offerings will be made available closer to the start of each takeover.

Sadler’s Wells is also delighted to announce full details of the first public performances staged at the theatre since March 2020. These events mark the first time that Sadler’s Wells has welcomed professional artists and audiences in a live capacity since lockdown, with the performances, working practices and visitor experience created in accordance with social distancing and Covid-19 safety measures.

As previously announced by Birmingham Royal Ballet, the company will bring its brand-new mixed bill, Lazuli Sky, to Sadler’s Wells for four performances from Thursday 29 October – Saturday 31 October. The Sadler’s Wells dates follow sold-out world-premiere performances at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from Thursday 22 October – Saturday 24 October. Tickets for Lazuli Sky at Sadler’s Wells are now available, with priority booking for members open from today and general tickets available by public sale from Monday 14 September.

Lazuli Sky includes choreographer Will Tuckett’s new ballet of the same name set to John Adam’s Shaker Loops; alongside Valery Panov’s Liebestod, a powerful, visceral solo for the company’s male principals with music from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde; and Our Waltzes by Venezuelan choreographer Vicente Nebrada, danced to a collection of Latin-infused waltzes which celebrate love, romance and passion. All music will be performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

Lazuli Sky is the first one-act ballet to be commissioned and presented by Carlos Acosta as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, a role which he started in January 2020 shortly before the COVID-19 crisis hit. At the beginning of lockdown, Carlos turned to British choreographer Will Tuckett and asked him to create a new work for Birmingham Royal Ballet that is inspired by, and utilises, ‘social distancing’, in response to the evolving way in which dance and live performance can once again be staged.

To help artists, audiences and staff members to feel safe and enjoy these performances, Sadler’s Wells has introduced a series of new safety measures and are closely following all UK Government guidance in managing these events. Measures include socially distanced seating, indoor mask wearing, hand sanitising stations, additional cleaning and socially distanced visitor management systems throughout the building.

Ticket bookers will be sent full information about all coronavirus safety measures in place in advance of the performance, so that they can plan accordingly and feel as secure as possible during their visit. These guidelines are also available on Sadler’s Wells website via the following link.

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and CEO, Alistair Spalding said:  ‘We are so pleased to be able to present world class dance online and once more on stage this autumn. Audiences across the world will have access to Digital Stage In Focus from their own homes, exploring in-depth the work of a diverse set of internationally acclaimed dance companies, renowned for their unique styles. 

We are also delighted to be hosting our first socially distant public performances with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Lazuli Skyfeaturing Carlos Acosta’s first commission as Director. Having artists back on the Sadler’s Wells stage feels like a monumental achievementin light of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope these performances are just the first steps on the path of reopening fully and welcoming audiences and artists back to our theatres.

We are committed to continue to work with and support artists, companies, freelancers and Sadler’s Wells colleagues so that we can present work both on stage and online, particularly during a time of great uncertainty for the dance sector, and hope to make more announcements about further plans soon.’

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