Sadler’s Wells, the world's leading dance organisation, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month

Sadler’s Wells, the world’s leading dance organisation, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month

The world’s leading dance organisation, Sadler’s Wells, celebrates the 25th anniversary of its current building this October.

Over the last 25 years Sadler’s Wells has presented 1,870 productions to audiences of almost seven million. Since becoming a producing house Sadler’s Wells has helped bring over 200 new productions to the stage.

Sadler’s Wells’ current building, designed by Nicholas Hare Architects, is the sixth theatre to exist on the site in Angel, Islington, the first of which opened 340 years ago in 1683. The 1998 building was the result of a major fund-raising drive by audiences, artists and supporters, and Sadler’s Wells was an early beneficiary of National Lottery Funding. This aided the transformation from the dilapidated but much-loved pre-War building to a state-of-the-art centre for dance. 

Having been led by Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sir Alistair Spalding since 2004, Sadler’s Wells has become one of the most important dance organisations in the world. It gives people the opportunity to watch, engage and enjoy dance in all its forms across its three stages: the Sadler’s Wells stage, Lilian Baylis Studio and at the Peacock Theatre in London’s West End, as well as touring its own productions across the UK and around the world.

Of the 25th anniversary, Sir Alistair Spalding commented: “To have inherited this wonderful theatre from those who fought for its renewal has been a gift. That we have made it a place to celebrate the extraordinary art form of dance and choreography for the last 25 years I hope has honoured that initial vision.”

Putting dance artists at the centre of its work is key to Sadler’s Wells’ mission. Among its 17 Associate Artists are Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkoui, Wayne McGregor, Sir Matthew Bourne and Crystal Pite. Alongside this are three Resident Companies, four Associate Companies and three National Partner Companies that work to strengthen the dance sector across the UK.

Sadler’s Wells’ popular festivals include Breakin’ Convention, celebrating hip hop dance theatre, the Flamenco Festival, showcasing the very best talent from the world of flamenco, and Family Weekend, offering audiences opportunities to engage with dance at an early age.

In 2018 Sadler’s Wells launched a Young Associates scheme providing support for early year artists aged 18-24 over a two-year period. Sadler’s Wells is also the host organisation for National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). Launched 10 years ago, NYDC brings together the brightest young talent from across the country to work with internationally renowned companies and choreographers and perform on the Sadler’s Wells stage and on tour.

Recent major Sadler’s Wells productions include Jules Cunningham’s how did we get here? featuring Spice Girl Melanie C in her first dance performance, and the Olivier Award-winning TRAPLORD by Ivan Blackstock.

Sadler’s Wells opens its new venue, Sadler’s Wells East, next year as part of a new cultural district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With a 550-seat theatre, hip hop theatre academy and choreographic school this will further Sadler’s Wells’ commitment to creativity and innovation.

In its anniversary month Sadler’s Wells offers audiences the chance to see a wide range of dance across its three stages, including ballet, contemporary, South Asian, African, Argentinian, hip hop, and flamenco. For more information see