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Press Release: Compagnie Maguy Marin presents May B at Sadler’s Wells

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Compagnie Maguy Marin presents Beckett-inspired May B at Sadler’s Wells in May


Compagnie Maguy Marin presents May B by acclaimed French choreographer Maguy Marin, inspired by the works of Samuel Beckett, at Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 May.

May B was created in 1981 and is based on the writings of celebrated Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, who unexpectedly offered his blessing to the then largely unknown choreographer to adapt his work.

Marin’s arresting and powerfully theatrical production echoes the relentlessness of Beckettian characters. The 10 performers appear barely human – an ensemble of lost souls, their faces plastered in clay. Moving together and alone, their gestures are distilled to repetitive shuffles and their words garbled and replaced with rhythmic sighs and grunts. This haunting work features one single line from Beckett’s play Endgame: “Finished, it’s finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished” which Marin uses to give a pulse to her choreography.

May B is set to the romantic music of Franz Schubert and Gavin Bryars’ contemporary musical genius. The sparse choreography in Marin’s intuitively potent and timeless work is mesmerising – the dancers journeying in stoic defiance of uncertainty towards a destination that will, quite possibly, always elude them.

Maguy Marin said: “
When Beckett’s characters yearn for stillness, they cannot help moving; be it a little or a lot, they move. In this essentially theatrical work, the point, for us, was less to develop words and speech than a blown-up form of movement, thus seeking the meeting point between movement applied to theatre on the one hand, and dance and choreographic language on the other.


Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Co-Chief Executive Sir Alistair Spalding CBE said: “We’re delighted to introduce Sadler’s Wells audiences to the extraordinary work of French choreographer Maguy Marin. Created over 40 years ago, this is a rare opportunity to catch Maguy’s masterpiece. Based on the writings of Samuel Beckett, it’s an exploration of tenderness and humanity that emerges from a bleak and unsettling setting. It’s a remarkable piece of dance theatre, full of recognisable Beckettian characters and choreographic parades, that delves into the depths of our existence.”



Notes to editors:

Company: Compagnie Maguy Marin

Production: May B

Dates: Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 May 2024

Performance Time: 7:30pm

Tickets: www.sadlerswells.com / 020 7863 8000


About Compagnie Maguy Marin

Born in Toulouse, dancer and choreographer Maguy Marin studied classical ballet at the Toulouse dance academy. She joined the Strasbourg Dance Company, then Mudra, Maurice Béjart’s multi-disciplinary school in Brussels. In 1978, with Daniel Ambash, she founded the Ballet-Théâtre de l’Arche, which become the Compagnie Maguy Marin in 1984. Compagnie Maguy Marin is based in the suburbs of Lyon, France.


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.   




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