London’s most prestigious dance theatre is heading east. Or, more accurately, it’s acquired a cool new Stratford sibling as Sadler’s Wells formally announces plans for the 2023 opening of Sadler’s Wells East.
Although this one lacks an actual well, there is lots of other cool stuff to compensate in this cornerstone of the Olympic Park’s East Bank development, where it will nestle up alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A.
Its big USP is the Hip Hop Theatre Academy, which intends to train the next generation of hip hop dance artists by offering an intensive two-year course for 16- to 19-year-olds. Classes will include breaking, popping and hip hop dance, as well as rap, DJing, beatmaking and graffiti.
There’s also the Choreographic School, which will offer up to 13 early-career artists the opportunity to develop their practice over a two-year period, with some of their lectures and workshops available to access online more generally.
And of course there will be shows in the flexible 550-seat theatre space. We’re a ways off it actually opening, but the first show has been announced: Vicki Igbokwe’s ‘Our Mighty Groove’, an immersive interactive show about being empowered on the dancefloor that features elements of house, waacking and vogue, fused with African and contemporary dance. It’ll be damn cool in other words.
An exact opening date isn’t set in stone and courses won’t begin until 2024, but it should be a serious jewel in the crown of Stratford’s ongoing rebirth.