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Press Release: Dimitris Papaioannou presents the UK premiere of INK at Sadler's Wells Theatre

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Dimitris Papaioannou                                  
Sadler’s Wells Theatre 

Wednesday 28 February - Saturday 2 March 2024

Tickets: £15 - £65
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com



© Julian Mommert

Greek director, choreographer, and visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre with the UK premiere of INK from Wednesday 28 February - Saturday 2 March 2024. Following sold-out and Olivier-nominated productions of The Great Tamer and Transverse Orientation at Sadler’s Wells in 2019 and 2022 respectively, Papaioannou continues his exploration of hyper-visual dance theatre in INK.


A true master of visual spectacle, Papaioannou creates a succession of dream images at breakneck speed. INK takes place in an enigmatic water world in which a duet transforms into a duel under the influence of mythical primal forces. In a battle between old and young, father and son, civilisation and wasteland, stewardship and inheritance, eroticism and torture, Papaioannou is joined on stage by dancer and collaborator Šuka Horn. Probing the limits of reality through the filters of science fiction and horror, INK features hundreds of litres of water, a golden field of wheat and an octopus. 


In 2018, Papaioannou was the first choreographer to create a new evening-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch since Bausch’s death in 2009. He also conceived and directed the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. With a background rooted in painting and visual art, Papaioannou’s productions blur theatre, experimental choreography and live performance. 


Ahead of INK’s UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells, Dimitris Papaioannou said “I’m excited to return to Sadler's Wells for the fourth time. INK is a very personal work that was initially conceived as a visual and sound installation but evolved into a full show. INK is an unexpected sequel to Primal Matter – my debut in London back in 2016 – and it brings me back on stage for one last time.”


Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said “Sadler’s Wells has a proud history of working with Dimitris Papaioannou. Following his debut performance at Sadler's Wells in 2017 with The Great Tamer, Dimitris became the first guest choreographer to create new work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch with Since She in 2019 and returned with Transverse Orientation in 2022. We’re delighted to continue our relationship with this co-production of INK.” 


INK is created by Dimitris Papaioannou, with music by Kornilios Selamsis, sound design by David Blouin, and lighting design by Lucien Laborderie and Stephanos Droussiotis.



No animals were harmed in the creation of this performance.  
This performance contains full nudity and scenes of a disturbing nature. 

Co-produced by Sadler's Wells

The first version of INK was commissioned and co-produced by Torinodanza Festival, Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale + Fondazione and Teatri and Festival Aperto – Reggio Emilia in 2020.


The final version of the work and the international tour is co-produced by Biennale de la Danse de Lyon 2023, Sadler’s Wells London, MEGARON – THE ATHENS CONCERT HALL and supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports in 2023.

BSL Interpreted Post Show Talk with Dimitris Papaioannou and Alistair Spalding on Friday 1 March





About Dimitris Papaioannou

Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist before his focus shifted to the performing arts as a director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make-up, and lighting. 


Papaioannou became widely known in 2004, as the creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games.


Papaioannou’s 25 productions range from mass spectacles with thousands of performers to intimate pieces. They have appeared in a wide variety of venues, from his famous underground squat theater in Athens to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus and from Olympic stadiums to Théâtre de la Ville – Paris and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. 


In 2012, stripping down his work to bare essentials, he created PRIMAL MATTER for the Athens Festival, with him back on stage after a ten-year absence.


In 2017, he created THE GREAT TAMER, his first international co-commissioned work with ten co-producers, including the Festival d’Avignon. THE GREAT TAMER toured for two and half years through 4 continents, 23 countries, and 38 cities. It was presented a total of 112 times before over 90.000 spectators. The work was bestowed with the special award Europe Theatre Prize in Rome in 2017, and Papaioannou was nominated in 2019 for the Olivier award for “outstanding achievement in dance.”


In 2018, Dimitris became the first artist to create a new, full-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch SINCE SHE premiered in May 2018 in Wuppertal (Germany) and was presented in Amsterdam, London, Athens, Paris, and Catanzaro. 


In 2020, Dimitris premiered INK, a duet performed by Šuka Horn and Dimitris Papaioannou, which premiered at the Torinodanza Festival and had been invited to the 75th Festival d’Avignon in 2021. 


His second international co-production, TRANSVERSE ORIENTATION, premiered in June 2021 and was presented in more than 30 cities worldwide. The production was nominated for ‘Best New Dance Production’ by the Oliver Award in 2022 in London.  


In 2022, he returns to his work INK, reworking the production for a world tour in 2023-24, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and the Biennale de Lyon.



About Šuka Horn    
Šuka Horn was born and raised in Germany, where he began training in breakdance at the age of twelve. During his studies at Codarts University in Rotterdam, he completed an internship with "18 Monkeys Dance Theatre" in Bangkok. 


After graduating, he worked with R.O.P.A. in Spain and created a solo piece with the support of Dansateliers Rotterdam. 


In 2020, Šuka relocated to Athens to join Dimitris Papaioannou’s production “Transverse Orientation”, which led to the creation of "INK". 


After finishing a world tour with "Transverse Orientation", Šuka is currently touring with “INK" and also teaches classes to students and professionals at universities, festivals, and dance studios.



About Sadler’s Wells     
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance organisation. We strive to 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 more than 200 new dance works to the stage, embracing both the popular and the unknown. Our acclaimed productions tour the world. Since 2005 we’ve produced 64 new full-length works and performed to audiences of more than two million, touring to 51 countries.   


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


Sadler’s Wells East  

In 2024 we’re opening a fourth London venue in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Sadler’s Wells East will house a 550-seat mid-scale theatre, as well as facilities for the new Rose Choreographic School and the hip hop theatre training centre, Academy Breakin’ Convention.  

Sadler’s Wells East joins the rich cultural heritage of Stratford, opening in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will build the infrastructure for dance and make it accessible to more people. Sadler’s Wells East will house a flexible theatre presenting a wide variety of dance performances. Community will be at the heart of Sadler’s Wells East with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions. 


Supporting artists

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.   


Learning and community links

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.   

Stay up to date with everything Sadler’s Wells on social media    
Facebook: @SadlersWells    
Twitter: @Sadlers_Wells    
Instagram: @sadlers_wells    
YouTube: Sadler’s Wells Theatre   



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