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Press Release: Virtual Reality and theatre combine in WHIST, Lilian Baylis Studio 19 - 23 June

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Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells
Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 June

Tickets: £12
Ticket office: 020 7863 8000 / www.sadlerswells.com

Inspired by the work of Sigmund Freud, WHIST by AΦE invites audiences on a journey into the unconscious mind, through the dreams, fears and desires of a fictional family. Following a sold-out world premiere and UK and international tour in 2017-18, WHIST comes to Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio from Tuesday 19 - Saturday 23 June.

The one-hour experience merges physical theatre, interactive Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and an art installation, in an environment that blurs the boundaries between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual, exploring the story from one of the 76 different perspectives. 
Immersed in a world of unfolding dreams, the viewer chooses his or her own path, creating a truly unique narrative dependent on choice.

Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Fourmi, founders of the Ashford-based dance company AΦE, who created the production said: “We had many conversations with psychoanalysts working at the Freud Museum and were introduced to several patient case studies. We thought: ‘What if those patients formed one single family?’ And there we were, completely immersed in their worlds… Freud’s own theories about fears, dreams, symbolism in dreams and the notion of the unconscious is just the beginning.”

Aoi Nakamura has performed with State Theater Saarbrücken and State Theater Wiesbaden in Germany, as well as with Jasmin Vardimon Company, Punchdrunk and Neon Dance. She won first prize at the international choreography competition in Aarhus in 2010 for her work Ototoxic.

Esteban Fourmi has also worked with Punchdrunk and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Jasmin Vardimon. He was involved in the creation of works for Jasmin Vardimon Company including 7734, Home, Freedom, Park, Pinocchio and Tahnhäuser. He remounted Vardimon’s early work Shabbat, and performed and toured in Yesterday, Justitia and Pinocchio.

AΦE was one of the 70 organisations to be on Creative United’s Prosper business support programme in 2017-18, and TimeOut Sydney called it “an innovative UK dance company”. WHIST was seen in London at the V&A, Colours International Dance Festival in Stuttgart, Sydney Festival, and other film and technology festivals around the world. VICE, The Creators Project calls it “a truly beautiful, compelling and important work.”

Eva Martinez, Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Programmer, said: "With the rise of possibilities in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the experience of theatre is changing and new possibilities are arising. With this young company, what is remarkable besides the high level of production standard and their artistic ambition, is for me the fact that they are clearly creative minds. They understand how to tell a story through watching the body and playing with the relationships of objects and people in space, both the digital and the real space. I was also taken by their reference to the tradition of tanztheater and their analytical take on it with the Freudian lens: a fascinating investigation into what watching dance means to our psyche."


Age guidance: 16 years and above contains partial nudity and sexual reference


The performance is promenade and audiences are required to wear Samsung Gear VR headset and headphones



About AΦE

AΦE is an Ashford-based dance company founded in 2013 by Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Fourmi. With the vision to bring the art of dance closer to audiences, the company’s mission is to create high-quality productions and experiences that are not bound by a stage.

Driven by the power of body and movement in space, AΦE productions are environments that allow the audience to enjoy total immersion. Each element in the performance space – the set, performers, audience, sound, objects – is part of an ecosystem, carefully constructed to allow audience’s own reflection on the subject explored. The company has choreographed, directed and performed for award-winning works, such as Sean Rogg’s immersive experience The Waldorf Project, stage productions (Wound, Für Eli), 360 films (The Night Opera, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg video for Google Arts & Culture) and short films (Kai, Bysju promo, Chasing Mirror by Padre ft Jova music video). www.aoiesteban.com



About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, it is the place where artists come together to create dance, and where people of all backgrounds come to experience it – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired.

Audiences of over half a million come to its London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at venues across the UK and around the world, and accessing its content through digital channels.

Sadler's Wells commissions, produces and presents more new dance work than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 160 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today.

It also nurtures the next generation of talent through research and development, running the National Youth Dance Company and a range of programmes including Wild Card, New Wave Associates, Open Art Surgery and Summer University. Sadler's Wells' learning and engagement activities reach over 25,000 annually through programmes that take dance out into the community and invite communities into the theatre. Projects include community productions and the renowned Company of Elders, its resident over-60s performance group, while events range from pre and post-show talks with dance artists to classes, workshops and assisted performances.

Located in Islington, north London, the current building is the sixth to have stood on site since entrepreneur Richard Sadler first established the theatre 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 having all started at Sadler's Wells.



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