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Sadler’s Wells Dance Theatre

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances across three stages and learning activities, it is the place where artists come together to create dance, and where everyone is welcome to experience dance – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired.

The dance theatre is to open an additional mid-scale space in east London in 2022, as part of a new cultural and education district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Some of today’s most exciting dance – both in the UK and internationally – is being created specifically for mid-size spaces with a 500-seat capacity. London does not currently have this type of dance theatre. The new building will enable UK audiences to experience the most innovative choreography made today, offering a platform for mid-scale companies to tour to London.

Facilities for research, development and production of dance work will stimulate the creation of new mid-scale work that can tour across the UK and internationally. These spaces will allow Sadler’s Wells to establish a new centre for choreographic practice and a hip hop theatre academy, both of which will be the first of their kind in the world to be run by a theatre. Learning and engagement programmes will offer opportunities for audiences, participants, artists and local communities.

Located at the southern gateway to Stratford Waterfront, Sadler’s Wells will be a welcoming and highly functional building and unique resource for dance, with a new, adaptable 550-seat theatre designed for mid-scale dance productions and six studios. An L-shaped public ‘living room’ foyer will wrap around the building (see our early concept sketches above), opening out onto the F10 bridge and the Podium arrival. Fully glazed, the foyer will be home to a café, bar, ticket office and community dance area designed for informal rehearsals and performances, with views out towards the outside performance space. A new, sculptural stairway will lead down from the F10 bridge to Carpenters Road, where the Stage Door will be located.

During the consultation process, the public expressed the desire for the building to reflect the industrial heritage of the site and nearby locations like Hackney Wick and Fish Island. In response, we have designed saw-tooth style rooflines that take inspiration from local warehouses and factories.

These are used in the design to flood the rehearsal studios with lots of natural light and air. Brick, concrete and hardwood floors will create an industrial feel, while large windows will offer views into the life of the building, as well as out across the Park.


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