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Press Release: AMERICAN BOY by Hetain Patel returns to Sadler's Wells - Lilian Baylis Studio, 28 & 29 May

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A Sadler’s Wells commission
Hetain Patel
American Boy
Lilian Baylis Studio, EC1R 
Thursday 28 & Friday 29 May
Performances at 8pm
Tickets: £17
Ticket office: 0844 412 4300 or www.sadlerswells.com

“Patel is as much entertainer as performance conceptualist” – The Times 

Following multiple sold out performances and a national tour in 2014, Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate ArtistHetain Patel returns to the Lilian Baylis Studio with his one-man show American Boy, a personal and humorous take on identity shape shifting, on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May. Patel is a visual artist crossing a number of art forms, with the body and identity as core concerns, whose work for the stage has been attracting growing acclaim. 

Inspired by American movie culture and homemade YouTube videos, American Boy is a solo performance made almost entirely from film and TV quotes, looking at the multiple personas that we all inhabit in our day-to-day lives. An avid mimic as a child, Patel and his school friends would get together and reconstruct the previous night’s films and TV shows. Now, through a seamless synthesis of vocal and physical limitations, Patel revisits character impersonations from his playground days. The audience sees Agent Smith from the Matrix argue with Michael Caine, whilst Eddie Murphy dances alongside Spiderman.

“If I asked you to list the films, characters and scenes that have influenced your life, what would it reveal about you?” asks Patel. “This is how American Boy started.” The show is therefore a compilation of all the films, scenes and characters that have made Patel, revealing all the contradictions in his personality, his dreams and nightmares, his empathy and prejudices, acting as both a self-portrait and a reflection on the mainstream popular culture that moulds much of who we all are, whether we are aware of it or not. 

Patel commented further: “Fantasising about being the archetypal tough, heroic or funny men from Hollywood films formed an important part of my growing up, and if I’m honest this desire and activity still remains in my life now. I still sometimes wish I were Spider-Man. My best friend and I still sometimes have phone conversations solely in film quotes.”

Since 2004, Hetain Patel’s identity-based photography, video and live works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, by major international institutions including TateSouthbank CentreSydney Festival,Bodhi Art in New York, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Arts in China and Chatterjee and Lal in Mumbai. Patel’s 2013 TED Talk Who am I? Think again has reached over three million views online, and he also received high critical acclaim for his piece Let’s Talk About Dis, created for Candoco Dance Company in 2014.

Patel’s performances at the Lilian Baylis Studio follow his solo exhibition The Other Suit which runs fromSaturday to Wednesday 27 May at The Agency. Also showing at the same time in Italy will be Patel’s new commission for the 56th Venice Biennale, as part of Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf project, fromSaturday 9 May to Saturday 26 July.

American Boy is co-produced and commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, co-produced by BDE London 2012 Consortium, development supported by Mercy and Penned in the Margins, and supported with public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Contains strong language

Free post-show talk: Thursday 28 May 

The Monument Trust supports co-productions and new commissions at Sadler's Wells

The New Wave Associates programme is supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation


About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world leader in contemporary dance, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the very best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the Artistic Directorship of Alistair Spalding the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap. Since 2005 it has helped to bring over 90 new dance works to the stage and its international award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour the world. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 appointed world class Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and an Associate Company and nurtures the next generation of talent through hosting the National Youth Dance Company, its Summer University programme, its Wild Card initiative and its New Wave Associates.

Located in Islington in north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler 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 all having started at Sadler’s Wells.

Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 9% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 

About Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Artists 
The drive of the Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associates scheme is to invite talented emerging artists at a crucial stage in their artistic and career development into Sadler’s Wells and to support them in a variety of ways, in a bespoke programme that is tailored to each artist’s needs. With practical production time in Sadler’s Wells’ studios and theatres, advice and introductions alongside direct financial support, the aim is to provide an artistic home while enabling them to feed into the programme with their energy, dynamism and fresh ideas. The current group of artists benefiting from the programme are: Alexander Whitley, Hetain Patel and Wilkie Branson.  

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