Islington theatre launches digital programme of shows and dance workshops
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A Clerkenwell theatre has partnered with artists from all over the world and launched a digital stage programme in an effort to keep people on their feet during the pandemic.
Like most creative arts venues in London, Sadler’s Wells closed its doors in March 2020, following government orders to curb the spread of coronavirus.
This autumn, the Sadler’s Wells season begins with digital performances created in partnership with three UK dance companies - Hofesh Shechter Company, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, and Candoco Dance Company.
“We wanted to stay true to Sadler’s Wells’ mission of inspiring people through dance, in an inclusive and diverse way,” said Ankur Bahl, director of content and audiences at Sadler’s Wells.
The digital stage features full-length shows and dance workshops catered to all ages.
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Ankur added: “After the initial response to our workshops, we launched full steam ahead into two big projects: Dancing at Dusk, which filmed 38 dancers from 14 African countries, then Our Bodies Back, which was a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.”
The digital programme has also provided work opportunities for choreographers exploring film, and Sadler’s Wells released its Moving through the Pandemic film in collaboration with the Financial Times in July.
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It showcased dancers from five different cities responding to the pandemic through dance.
“The film came together very early on in lockdown,” said Ankur. “We wanted to illustrate how artists all over the world were stuck in their homes but still being creative.”
He said these partnerships have been essential in keeping the artists working, and the theatre afloat.
For Sadler’s Wells, the financial impact of cancelling its live shows has been significant, as 91 per cent of its income is generated through ticket sales, fundraising, events and catering.
“There is great uncertainty for the world of performing arts as to how long it will be until we can reopen fully. But we are thrilled to host our first socially distanced performances next month,” said Ankur.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s triple bill Lazuli Sky will be the first public performance since March 2020 for Sadler’s Wells, with tickets on sale now.