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Sadler's Wells

  • Theatre
  • Clerkenwell
  • Recommended
Sadlers Wells_CREDIT_CREDIT_Morley von Sternberg (1).jpg
© Morley von Sternberg

Time Out Says

This Islington venue is synonymous with cutting edge dance of every flavour

Tucked away on the streets behind Angel station, Sadler's Wells is a sizeable purpose-built 1998 studio complex built on the site of the original seventeenth-century theatre of the same name. And it's the place to go for dance fans, drawing an impressive line-up of local and international talent.

Artistic director Alastair Spalding presides over a varied line-up of in house and touring shows, which take in modern and experimental dance, tango, flamenco (watch out for the annual Flamenco Festival), hip hop, classical and contemporary ballet as well as Matthew Bourne's crowd-pleasing brand of witty dance theatre. There's typically a family-friendly ballet classic at Christmas, as well as annual festivals like Breakin' Convention, a massive celebration of hip hop dance. Main house shows take place in the comfortable, 1,500 seater auditorium, while the smaller Lilian Baylis Studio houses smaller-scale new works and works in progress. And the Peacock Theatre (on Portugal Street in Holborn) operates as a satellite venue for big commercial dance spectacles.

Sadler's Wells is the sixth theatre to stand on its Islington site, and famous producer Lilian Baylis and dancer Ninette de Valois were both instrumental in its multi-stage 20th century transition from crumbling music hall to state-of-the-art dance venue. Its name dates back to the 1680s, when the theatre discovered a medicinal well whose water was said to have health-giving properties. You can still look down the well today, though the days of taking a quick dip before a show are long gone. 


Rosebery Avenue
Tube: Angel
Prices vary
Opening hours:
10am-8pm Mon-Sat
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What's On

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!

  • Ballet

Matthew Bourne's company may be called New Adventures, but this one's a proper old chestnut. First seen last century, this updated 'Nutcracker!' return’s to Sadler's Wells for the first time in almost a decade. Young Clara escapes Dr Dross's Orphanage to go on a dreamy journey to the kingdom of Sweetieland – a place of sugar-coated magic, tongue-in-cheek humour, larger than life characters and OTT designs. Very pink, very entertaining and very much a family show.

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