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Press Release: Charlotte Spencer Projects presents Is this a Waste Land? - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Sept 2021

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Charlotte Spencer Projects 
Is this a Waste Land? 

Bridgewater at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E15 
17 - 19 & 24 - 26 September 2021  
Tickets: £20 / £10 Child 

Performances at 6pm (17-19 September) and 5:45pm (24-26 September) 
Tickets: www.sadlerswells.com  


Sadler’s Wells presents Charlotte Spencer Projects’ Is this a Waste Land? from Friday 17 - Sunday 19 September and Friday 24 September - Sunday 26 September. This interactive and absorbing experience takes place just moments away from Sadler’s Wells’ fourth London venue opening in 2023, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The work is a performance through headphones for disused urban sites. 


Whilst creating her immersive audio work Walking Stories in 2013, choreographer Charlotte Spencer embarked on a cycle tour across England and France. She stumbled across all kinds of spaces that usually get by-passed, by motorways, railway routes and the general haste of life. These left behind spaces - waste disposal units, dumps and hinterlands - became the inspiration for her next piece.  


This immersive performance for up to 90 audience members, with five performers and hundreds of objects, invites us to re-imagine how we value our landscape, homes and communities. Following over a year of separation and isolation, it also explores ways of being together again. As day dips towards night, audience members follow instructions through headphones amidst a constantly shifting soundscape, acting with others to create a unique and shared experience. The project invites audiences to participate in conversations about reimagining future spaces whilst striving for a more sustainable model of living.  


Often presented on sites of change, Is this a Waste Land? was first presented in 2017 in Corby - an old steelworks town. It has since been presented as part of Dance International Glasgow presented by Tramway, set on an old bus depot; and a sell-out run in London as part of Dance Umbrella, on disused land between a historic flour mill and London City airport. The work is being re-staged this year when in the Highlands of Scotland, on the runway of an old RAF airfield, and at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  


Charlotte Spencer Projects regularly creates work for non-theatre spaces, working with diverse and unusual sites to open up new forms of conversation. They challenge where performances can happen and how choreographic work is made and encountered through action and participation. The company is led by artistic director Charlotte Spencer, a Sadler’s Wells Summer University artist (2015 - 2018) guided by Jonathan Burrows and Eva Martinez, and a long-standing partner of Siobhan Davies Dance.   


Sadler’s Wells recently commissioned All these things we can make, an audio work designed by Charlotte Spencer Projects for families to explore together. The work premiered on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage in April 2021 and can be streamed for free until the end of the year. 


Is this a Waste Land? was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Co-commissioned by Deep Roots Tall Trees, Compass Commission from the Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban Partnership, Patrons of Charlotte Spencer Projects and a crowdfund campaign. Further funding from South East Dance, Greenwich Dance and Pavilion Dance South West. Supported via South East Dance and Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence programme. 2021 performances are being presented in partnership with Dance North, Scotland and Sadler’s Wells, London. This presentation is supported by London Legacy Development Corporation. 
Recommended for Age 12+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Not suitable for under 8s. 



About Sadler’s Wells 
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance organisation. We make and share dance that inspires us all. Our acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap. 

We commission, produce and present more dance than any other organisation in the world. Since 2005, we have helped to bring close to 200 new dance works to the stage, embracing both the popular and the unknown. 


Each year, over half a million people visit our three London theatres. Many more attend our touring productions nationally and internationally or explore our digital platforms, including Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.  


In 2023 we’re opening a fourth London venue in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to sit alongside our Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre. Sadler’s Wells’ new space will house a 550-seat mid-scale theatre, as well as facilities for a choreographic centre and a hip hop theatre academy.  


Supporting artists is at the heart of our work. We have associate artists and companies, which nurture some of the most exciting talent working in dance today. We host the National Youth Dance Company, which draws together some of the brightest young dancers from across the country. Sadler’s Wells Breakin' Convention runs professional development programmes to champion and develop the world’s best hip hop artists, as well as producing, programming and touring groundbreaking hip hop performances.  


Around 30,000 people take part in our learning and engagement programmes every year. We support schools local to our theatres in Islington and Stratford, designing experiences for children and young people to watch, explore and critically engage with the arts. We also run Company of Elders, a resident performance company of dancers aged over 60 who rehearse with renowned artists to make new work for public performances locally, nationally and internationally. 


Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.  

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About Charlotte Spencer Projects 
Charlotte Spencer Projects is motivated by interests to engage with important social and ecological questions and to find ways to express those enquiries through intimate live encounters with audiences.  


They often make performances for unusual spaces in order to open new forms of conversation, and change how and where performances happen. Through each artistic project Charlotte Spencer Project strives to build community by inviting people to re-encounter their bodies and their environments through action and participation.  


Led by Artistic Director Charlotte Spencer, the company is supported by Creative Producer Keren Kossow and project specific teams of brilliant collaborators. Charlotte Spencer Projects deeply cares about the artists they work with, partners, funders and audiences, and enjoys building lasting relationships. 


Their work has been presented nationally and internationally with a wide variety of partners, in lots of different spaces including Dance Umbrella (2015 & 2017), Brighton International Festival, Greenwich Dance, Tramway - Dance International Glasgow, Siobhan Davies Dance, Coastal Currents - Hastings, Turner Contemporary - Margate, Jerwood Gallery - Hastings, Salisbury International Festival, Festival DDD - Portugal, Deep Roots Tall Trees - Corby, Big Green Week Bristol, Festival Plages Des Danse - France. The company is currently working with Sadler’s Wells, Dance North, The Place, Wellcome Collection and South East Dance on new projects. 



About Charlotte Spencer 
Charlotte is a choreographer, teacher, curator, mentor and performer. She initiates all projects for Charlotte Spencer Projects, often working across art forms and in outdoor environmental contexts. 


Charlotte was recipient of a Bonnie Bird Choreographic Development Award in 2020. She has received commissions from The Place, Wellcome Collection, Greenwich Dance, Trinity Laban, Salisbury International Art Festival, South East Dance, Jerwood Galleries, Turner Contemporary, Siobhan Davies Dance, Sadler’s Wells and Brighton & Hove Libraries.  


She was a Sadler’s Wells Summer University Artist (2015-18) led by Jonathan Burrows and Eva Martinez, and Artist Activator at Greenwich Dance 2014-17. She has worked closely with Siobhan Davies Dance since 2010 on a variety of projects, notably leading Next Choreography 2014-16 - their choreography programme for Young People. Charlotte was a priority artist for Dance Dialogues 2 2012-14 and Tour d’Europe des Choreographes 2010/2011. 


Charlotte graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2003 with a 1st Class BA (Hons). She is also in the midst of building a house in Brighton and hanging out with her young child. 

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