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Press Release: Sadler's Wells: multi-sensory installation work re-examines performance space, 7-12 June

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A Sadler’s Wells Production

No Body
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Tuesday 7 June - Sunday 12 June
Tues - Fri at 6.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm, Sat - Sun at 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm1.30pm5.30pm6.30pm7.30pm and 8.30pm
Tickets: £20
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or 

In an unprecedented exploration of lighting, sound and projection, Sadler’s Wells presents the world premiere of No Body from Tuesday 7 - Sunday 12 June. Turning the theatre’s building inside out, this multi-sensory installation experience brings together the essential elements of dance performance but without the physical presence of dancers. The evening features specially commissioned works by the leading composers, lighting designers, film makers and other artists who bring dance to life.

This major new Sadler’s Wells Production takes audiences on a journey of discovery to explore the theatre like never before, leading them around various areas of the building, from the stage, through backstage passages and corridors, to wardrobe rooms, sound boxes and underground pits. Each area is uniquely designed for audiences to experience the different elements of the production. 

To begin, lighting designer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Hulls invites the audience onto the main Sadler’s Wells stage to experience LightSpace, an immersive light and sound installation involving over 1000 light sources, a 32 speaker sound system and powerful video projections. The work creates a dynamic sensory experience for the eyes and ears. The sound installation is created by the composers Andy Cowton and Mukul with whom Hulls has worked over many years. The video projections are created by animator and video artist Jan Urbanowski with whom Hulls collaborated on Russell Maliphant’s acclaimed AfterLight.

Next is Indelible, a music, sound and animation trail by composer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Nitin Sawhney which allows the audience to explore the historical essence of the Sadler’s Wells building. Individual headsets playing Sawhney’s specially commissioned recordings and compositions are worn whilst moving around the theatre’s front-of house and backstage spaces. The piece is created in collaboration with Yeast Culture's Nick Hillel, whose visual projection installations create a sense of the many artists and audiences who have passed through the theatre.

Following this is Siobhan Davies and David Hinton's The Running Tongue, a film installation made in collaboration with sound artists, animators, and 22 dance artists, and screened for audiences in a Sadler’s Wells rehearsal studio. The film’s starting point is a continuous loop of a woman running in London. The footage is paused at random intervals to reveal selected frames treated by each of the artists, unveiling a scene embedded in reality with fleeting moments of strange, surreal and visually poetic activity. Edited live in real time, the film plays continuously but never in the same configuration.

Lighting designer Lucy Carter’s intimate installations create theatrical drama in hidden backstage worlds, popping up in unusual spaces in the depths of the Sadler’s Wells building. Made in collaboration with composer Jules Maxwell, the installations manipulate the environments of the stage door, wardrobe department, lighting and sound boxes and space beneath the stage. Carter and Maxwell shine a light on the everyday and usually unseen spaces of designers, technicians and backstage teams, employing the technologies of their craft to unfold their stories and chart the emotional journeys of their working practises.

Finally, Sadler's Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant presents a triptych film installation in the Lilian Baylis Studio, using previously unseen footage captured during the making of the 2013 short film Erebus to create a new visual experience. Made in collaboration with directors Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton JonesErebus was a response to Maliphant’s full-length work The Rodin Project, capturing material of the choreography performed by Maliphant's company. This new project explores more extensively the impact and the different perspectives that film footage can bring to movement presentation.

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding said: “Dance encompasses much more than just moving bodies. There is a remarkable landscape of lighting, sound and visual artists whose work aligns with the vision of the choreographer and the execution of the dancer to bring dance to life in the eyes of the audience. This new production of ours is a celebration of these artists.” 

He continued: “Audiences today want to be challenged and to experience performance in different ways. This transformation of our space is like nothing we have ever done previously – audiences will move around areas of our building they have never seen before and be provoked to re-interrogate what dance performance really is.”

Pre-show Director’s conversation (BSL interpreted): Saturday 11 June at 4.30pm, £4

The Monument Trust supports co-productions and new commissions at Sadler's Wells

Michael Hulls, Nitin Sawhney and Russell Maliphant are Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists


Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the very best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the Artistic Directorship of Alistair Spalding, the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap. Since 2005 it has helped to bring over 90 new dance works to the stage and its award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour internationally. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and an Associate Company and nurtures the next generation of talent through hosting the National Youth Dance Company, its Summer University programme, Wild Card initiative and its New Wave Associates.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera all having started at Sadler’s Wells. 

Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 

Michael Hulls
Michael Hull trained in dance and theatre at Dartington College and in 1992 was awarded a bursary by the Arts Council to attend dance lighting workshops with Jennifer Tipton in New York.

Over the last 20 years Hulls has worked exclusively in dance, particularly with choreographer Russell Maliphant, and established a reputation as a “choreographer of light”. Their collaborations have won international critical acclaim and many awards: Sheer won a Time Out Award for Outstanding Collaboration, Choice won a South Bank Show Dance Award, PUSH, with Sylvie Guillem, won four major awards including the Olivier for Best New Dance Production and Afterlight won two Critics Circle awards.

In 2009, Hulls became an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, the first non-choreographer to do so. In 2010, his contribution to dance was recognised with his entry into the Oxford Dictionary of Dance, where he joins Jean Rosenthal, Jennifer Tipton and John B Read as only the fourth lighting designer to be given an entry. Hulls was nominated for the 2012 Theatre Managers Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for his “brilliant contribution to lighting for dance; in particular for DESHTorsion and The Rodin Project”. In 2014 Hulls received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

Nitin Sawhney
Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Nitin Sawhney is widely regarded as one of the most influential and versatile creative talents alive today. Firmly established as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer, and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, videogames, dance and theatre.

He has released 10 studio albums, the most recent being Dystopian Dream in November 2015. He has written music for both theatre and dance (including music for Cirque du Soleil, Complicite and regular collaborator, Akram Khan) as well as extensive work for video games (primarily Ninja Theory) and many high profile TV series (including the BBC’s multiple BAFTA winning series “Human Planet” and the BBC series “Wonders of the Monsoon”). Sawhney has also produced for many acclaimed artists from Sir Paul McCartney and Sting to Joss Stone and Anoushka Shankar, as well as producing his own radio series on BBC Radio 2 – “Nitin Sawhney Spins the Globe”.

For all the above, Sawhney has been the recipient of a Mercury Prize, two Ivor Novello nominations, a MOBO award, two BBC Radio3 World Music Awards, The Southbank Show Award and 6 University doctorates from different British universities. Sawhney has also collaborated with and scored for the London Symphony Orchestra as well as many other leading orchestras across the world. As a DJ Sawhney has also released a number of successful club compilation albums, including Fabriclive 15.

About Siobhan Davies
Siobhan Davies is a renowned British choreographer who rose to prominence in the 1970s. Davies was a founding member of London Contemporary Dance Theatre and in 1982 joined forces with Richard Alston and Ian Spink to create independent dance company Second Stride. Establishing Siobhan Davies Dance in 1988, she consistently works closely with collaborating dance artists to ensure that their own artistic enquiry is part of the creative process. By 2002 Davies moved away from the traditional theatre circuit and started making work for gallery spaces and other sites. Her artistic practice involves bringing together a collective of artists and choreographers to create within an environment that supports them to share common investigative concerns alongside their own work.

Davies applies choreography across a wide range of creative disciplines including visual arts, craft and film. In 2012 Davies created her first film work All This Can Happen with director David Hinton which has toured globally over 21 countries. Recent choreographic works such as To hand (2011), Manual (2013) and Table of Contents (2014) have been presented at some of the most prestigious art institutions in the UK and Europe, including the ICA and Whitechapel Gallery (London), Turner Contemporary (Margate), Tramway (Glasgow) and Glasgow Museum of Modern Art.

Lucy Carter
Lucy Carter trained in Dance and Drama at the Roehampton Institute before training in Lighting Design at Central School of Speech and Drama.  In 2008 she received the Knight of Illumination Award for Dance for Chroma and in 2015 for Woolf Works. 

Theatre credits include: The End of Longing (Playhouse Theatre) Medea (National Theatre), Husbands and Sons (National Theatre and Royal Exchange Manchester), Love and Money (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Othello (Sheffield), The Trial of Ubu (Hampstead) and Wastwater (Royal Court). Opera credits includes: Fiddler on the Roof (Grange Park Opera), La finta giardiniera (Glyndebourne), Grimes on the Beach(Aldeburgh Productions), Lohengrin (Welsh National Opera and Polish National Opera), The Wasp Factory(Bregenzer Festspiele, Berlin and Linbury, Royal Opera House) and Maria Stuarda (Opera North).

She is the main collaborator with choreographer Wayne McGregor, on work including Borderlands, NemesisWoolf WorksRaven GirlOutlier Chroma and Infra. Other credits include:  Clear, Loud, Bright, Forward with Benjamin Millepied (Opera National de Paris), Life in Progress – a farewell to Silvie Guillem (Akram Khan, Sadler’s Wells) and the lighting design for Paloma Faith’s performance at the Brit Awards 2015.

Russell Maliphant
Russell Maliphant trained at the Royal Ballet School and graduated into Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet Company before leaving to pursue a career in independent dance. As a dancer he worked with companies such as DV8 Physical Theatre, Michael Clark & Company, Laurie Booth and Rosemary Butcher and also studied anatomy, physiology and bio-mechanics. He became certified as a practitioner of the Rolfing Method of Structural Integration in 1994 and this has subsequently informed both his teaching and choreographic work.

He created his first solo in 1992 and formed the Russell Maliphant Company in 1996 which has sought to integrate and explore elements from a diverse range of body practices and techniques, including classical ballet, contact improvisation, yoga, capoeira, tai chi & chi gung. He has collaborated closely with the lighting designer Michael Hulls, and in addition to working with his own company of dancers, has set works on renowned companies and artists including: Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage, The Ballet Boyz, Lyon Opera Ballet, Ricochet Dance Company, CobosMika, The Batsheva Ensemble, and Ballet de Lorraine.

He has been the recipient of several awards including two Olivier Awards for, a Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography (Modern) and a South Bank Show Award.

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