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Jan McNulty

Press Release: Message In A Bottle: Cast and creative team announced

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Message In A Bottle: cast and creative team announced for new Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK production


Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK today announce the cast and creative team for Message In A Bottle, a new dance theatre production by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince, set to the music of 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting.


Message In A Bottle receives its world premiere at Sadler’s Wells’ West End theatre, The Peacock, from Thursday 6 February - Saturday 21 March 2020, followed by a UK and international tour. Gravity-defying lyrical hip hop dance and breath-taking music combine in an uplifting story of humanity and hope. This is the first time Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music have collaborated to produce a show.


After its run at The Peacock, Message In A Bottle tours to Theatre de la Ville Luxembourg (26 - 28 March), The Lowry, Salford (1 - 4 April) and Birmingham Hippodrome (8 - 11 April), with further international dates to be confirmed.


Message In A Bottle sees a village alive with joyous celebrations suddenly come under siege. In the chaos, three siblings, Leto, Mati and Tana are separated from their parents; they undertake a perilous journey to new lands and set out on their own extraordinary adventures. Songs include Every Breath You Take, Roxanne, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Walking On The Moon, Englishman in New York, Shape of My Heart and Fields of Gold.

The production features exceptional dancers from ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, who come from all over the UK and from Mexico, Canada, Australia, Japan, Sweden and Holland. In featured roles are Lukas McFarlane as Leto – winner of Sky 1’s Got to Dance (2013); Tommy Franzen as Mati – BBC One’s So You Think You Can Dance (2010) and the Tom Hooper-directed CATS, in cinemas winter 2019; and Natasha Gooden  Blak Whyte Gray (Boy Blue) and Strictly Come Dancing– as Tana. So You Think You Can Dance finalist and judge on CBBC’s Alesha’s Street Dance Stars, Lizzie Gough, also appears.


Franzen, Gough and Gooden are all renowned dancers with ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, currently performing in Some Like It Hip Hop on tour (which comes to The Peacock from Wednesday 23 October – Saturday 9 November). Also joining the Message In A Bottle cast from Some Like it Hip Hop are Kino McHugh, Michael Naylor, Aaron Nuttall, and Delano Spenrath. The rest of the cast includes Annie Edwards (Into the Hoods), Nestor Garcia Gonzalez (Strictly Come Dancing) and Gavin L Vincent (Soul Mavericks Crew), who are all seasoned performers with the company. Making their ZooNation debut are Samuel Baxter, Onyemachi Ejimofor, Anna Holmström, Emma 'Shortbread' Houston, Ajani Johnson-Goffe, Daniella May, Daniel Phung, and Hannah Sandilands. 


They are joined by Nafisah Baba, winner of BBC One’s BBC Young Dancer (2017), who has recently performed in productions by Phoenix Dance Theatre (Windrush: Movement of the People), Alesandra Seutin (Boy Breaking Glass) and Sisters Grimm (INALA).


Alongside its outstanding choreographer and iconic composer, Message In A Bottle features a multi-award-winning creative team, including Alex Lacamoire (Music Supervisor and New Arrangements), Grammy and Tony Award winner for his work on musicals including Hamilton (2016), In The Heights (2008), Dear Evan Hansen(2017), Carmen La Cubana (2016) and The Greatest Showman (2017), and Emmy Award winner for Fosse/Verdon in 2019. Music production and additional arrangements for the show are by multi-Grammy Award winner Martin Terefe, who has written and produced for artists such as Jason Mraz, Sean Mendes, KT Tunstall, Tom Odell and Train.


Message In A Bottle has set design by Ben Stones (MEN 2011 Award winner for Best Design for Doctor Faustus at the Royal Exchange); video design by Andrzej Goulding (winner of the inaugural Theatre and Technology Award for Creative Innovation in Video Design for Room in 2017); costume design by Anna Fleischle (Olivier Award winner, 2016 for Hangmen); and lighting design by Natasha Chivers (Olivier Award winner, 2007 for Sunday in the Park with George). 


Sound design is by David McEwan (Music Producers Guild Award winner (2011)); music co-production and mixing is by Grammy Award-winning Oskar Winberg; and dramaturgy is by Lolita Chakrabarti, whose writing credits include the critically acclaimed Life Of Pi and Olivier Award-nominated Red Velvet (2012). The Associate Choreographer is Lukas McFarlane (Strictly Come Dancing).


Kate Prince said: “I’m genuinely excited that this collection of talented beings has agreed to collaborate with me. The creative team for Message In A Bottle comes from a very diverse range of creative backgrounds.

I am so inspired by this incredible international company of dancers. Their skill and ability are insane. The company has some of the best breakers and contemporary movers I’ve encountered during my 20 years of working in professional dance. Their dedication and discipline, agility, strength, stamina and their ability to tell stories through dance are both mind-blowing and exhilarating. I feel very fortunate that I get to tell this very important story with them and to create movement with their fantastically talented and expressive bodies.”

A Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK Production. Co-produced with Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry

Research and Development for the production is supported by The Movement, a dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry and Sadler’s Wells. Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences

The Monument Trust supports new commissions at Sadler’s Wells 

Tickets for Message In A Bottle are on public sale via www.sadlerswells.com and 020 7863 8000



Notes to editors:

A Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK production

Tour Dates

6 February - 21 March 2020 - The Peacock, London

26 - 28 March - Theatre de la Ville Luxembourg

1 - 4 April - The Lowry, Salford 

7 - 11 April - Birmingham Hippodrome



Director and Choreographer                            Kate Prince

Music and Lyrics                                               Sting

Music Supervisor and New Arrangements     Alex Lacamoire             

Music Producer and Arranger                         Martin Terefe

Set Designer                                                      Ben Stones

Video Designer                                                  Andrzej Goulding

Costume Designer                                            Anna Fleischle

Lighting Designer                                             Natasha Chivers

Sound Designer                                                David McEwan

Music Co-Producer and Mixer                         Oskar Winberg

Dramaturg                                                          Lolita Chakrabarti

Associate Choreographer                                Lukas McFarlane

Resident Director/Choreographer                   Robia Milliner Brown                 

Assistant Choreographers                              Tommy Franzen and Lizzie Gough


About Kate Prince, MBE

Choreographer / Director / Writer

Kate Prince is Artistic Director of ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, which she founded in 2002. She is an Associate Artist at the Old Vic and at Sadler’s Wells, where ZooNation is also a Resident Company. ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company is also an Associate Company at Birmingham Hippodrome and The Mayflower, Southampton.


ZooNation productions include: Into the Hoods (Novello Theatre 2008) which was the West End’s first hip hop dance show, Some Like It Hip Hop (Sadler’s Wells Peacock 2011-13, and UK tour, and 2019 revival), Groove on Down the Road (SouthBank Centre 2013-14), ZooNation: Unplugged (Sadler’s Wells 2013), The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Royal Opera House Linbury Studio 2014 and the Roundhouse 2016), Into the Hoods: Remixed (Sadler’s Wells Peacock 2015-16 and UK tour) and SYLVIA (Old Vic 2018). The company also created special performances for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in Hyde Park 2008 and for the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2011 creating new choreography for West Side Story with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


For TV Kate’s credits include choreography for Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, The Royal Variety Show, Top of the Pops, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away, CD:UK, Blue Peter, Strictly Dance Fever, Sport Relief, The Album Chart Show, Discomania and PopWorld.


Her film work includes choreography for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, StreetDance 3D and a short film, The Holloway Laundrette, which she wrote & directed for BAFTA/Channel 4. Other theatre work includes Everybody’s Talking About Jamie for Jonathan Butterell (Sheffield Crucible & West End, nominated for Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer), Enda Walsh’s Ballyturk (National Theatre), Stephen Mear’s Shoes (Sadler’s Wells), I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical (Palladium) and It’s A Mad World My Masters (RSC), both for Sean Foley.


With ZooNation she has also created choreography for sporting events, including the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Handover Ceremonies (2008), the Opening Ceremony of the Tour de France (2007) and the IOC opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics at the Royal Opera House.


Kate has been nominated for three Olivier Awards, a South Bank Sky Arts Award, a WhatsOnStage Award and two Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Kate is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh with an MA in General Arts and has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Winchester. She was awarded an MBE for services to dance in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2019.


In 2017, ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company became an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation for 2018-22.


About Sting
Music & Lyrics

Composer, singer-songwriter, actor, author, and activist Sting was born in Newcastle, England before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five studio albums, earned six GRAMMY Awards® and two Brits, and was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. 


As one of the world’s most distinctive solo artists, Sting has received an additional 11 GRAMMY Awards®, two Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, four Oscar nominations (including 2017’s nomination for “The Empty Chair” from JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY), a TONY nomination, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award, and MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year. In 2003, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for his myriad of contributions to music. Also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he has received the Kennedy Center Honors, The American Music Award of Merit and The Polar Music Prize. Sting has been awarded Honorary Doctorates of Music by the University of Northumbria (1992), Berklee College of Music (1994), University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2006) and Brown University at its 250th Commencement ceremony (2018). 


Throughout his illustrious career, Sting has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with The Police and as a solo artist. 


Following his critically acclaimed album, 57th & 9th, his first rock/pop collection in over a decade, Sting and reggae icon, Shaggy released a collaborative, island-influenced album, entitled 44/876, drawing from the many surprising connections at the heart of their music. With its title referencing their home country codes, 44/876 first and foremost honors the duo’s mutual love for Jamaica: Shaggy’s homeland, and the place where Sting penned such classics as The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Their chart-topping release debuted at #1 in Germany and Top 10 in the UK. It spent over 20 weeks atop Billboard’s Reggae Album chart in the US, earned Gold certifications in Poland and France and received the GRAMMY Award® for Best Reggae Album. 


Earlier this year, Sting was honoured at the BMI Pop Awards for his enduring hit single “Every Breath You Take,” which has become the Most Performed Song, with 15 million radio plays, from BMI’s catalog of over 14 million musical works. 

On 24 May, a new album entitled My Songs, featuring contemporary interpretations of his most celebrated hits, was released and followed by a world tour of the same name. Sting’s ‘My Songs’ World Tour is a rollicking, dynamic show featuring his most beloved songs spanning the 17-time GRAMMY Award® winner’s prolific career with The Police and as a solo artist. 


The special edition release of Sting’s critically acclaimed album, My Songs will be released on 8 November and includes a bonus CD with new live recordings from the My Songs World Tour. At the same time, a digital album titled My Songs: Live containing 11 new live recordings also captured along the My Songs World Tour will be released on 8 November. 

Next year, Sting will headline a Las Vegas residency, “My Songs,” set to open at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Friday, 22 May, 2020. The show will present a compendium of Sting’s songs with dynamic, visual references to some of his most iconic videos and inspirations. 


He has appeared in more than 15 films, executive produced the critically acclaimed A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and in 1989 starred in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway. His most recent theatre project is the TONY-nominated musical The Last Ship, inspired by his memories of the shipbuilding community of Wallsend in the North East of England where he was born and raised. The show, with music and lyrics by Sting, ran on Broadway in 2014/2015 and completed a critically acclaimed UK regional theatre tour which ran from March-July 2018. Thereafter, Sting starred as shipyard foreman Jackie White in the Toronto-based production of The Last Ship at the Princess of Wales Theatre. He will reprise the role for productions in Los Angeles at the Ahmanson Theatre (14 January – 16 February, 2020), San Francisco at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre (20 February – 22 March, 2020), Washington, D.C at the National Theatre (27 March – 5 April), St. Paul, MN at the Ordway Center (8-19 April), and in Detroit, MI at the Detroit Opera House (22-26 April). Additional information on The Last Ship International Tour can be found at thelastshipmusical.co.uk. 


Sting’s support for human rights organisations such as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International, and Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach. Along with wife Trudie Styler, Sting founded the Rainforest Fund in 1989 to protect both the world’s rainforests and the indigenous people living there. Together they have held 18 benefit concerts to raise funds and awareness for our planet’s endangered resources. Since its inception, the Rainforest Fund has expanded to a network of interconnected organisations working in more than 20 countries over three continents. 



Instagram: @theofficialsting

Twitter: @officialsting

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2TU4Y1Z


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. 


Its vision is to reflect and respond to the world through dance: enabling artists of all backgrounds to create dance that moves us and opens our minds, and sharing those experiences with the widest possible audiences – to enrich their lives and deepen their understanding of what it means to be human.


Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ three 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 dance than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 170 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. 


Sadler’s Wells nurtures the next generation of talent through a number of artist development initiatives and reaches over 30,000 annually through its learning and engagement programmes.


Located in Islington, north London, Sadler’s Wells’ 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.

Sadler’s Wells is to open an additional mid-scale venue in east London in 2022. The new space will be at the heart of the East Bank project, a new cultural and education district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which will also include BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. As well as a 550-seat auditorium, Sadler’s Wells’ new venue will include a choreographic centre and a hip hop theatre academy, the first of their kind in the world to be run by a theatre.



About Universal Music UK

Universal Music UK is a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company.


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