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Sadler’s Wells East topping out ceremony

Harriet Hughes

By Harriet Hughes First Published 24 June 2022, Last Updated 27 June 2022

London’s Deputy Mayor for Culture announced participation opportunity for young east Londoners, at the Sadler’s Wells East topping out ceremony yesterday.

Young people in east London are invited to take centre stage in the opening season at Sadler’s Wells East, it was announced yesterday at a topping out ceremony for the building. It’s due to open in Stratford in late 2023.

It will be Sadler’s Wells’ fourth venue, located at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. It is part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Funding has been provided by the UK Government and GLA as part of the Olympic legacy strategy.

At a topping out ceremony held yesterday to celebrate the completion of the concrete structure, Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, announced that local young people are invited to be part of immersive dance show Our Mighty Groove, the opening production for Sadler’s Wells East due to hit the stage next November.

Our Mighty Groove is directed and choreographed by Vicki Igbokwe and tells of the transformative power of the club dancefloor where anything can happen. Inspired by the New York club scene, it’s about how people can feel empowered to be their authentic selves through dance. The production blends club styles house dance, waacking and vogue with African and contemporary dance.

Young people living or studying in east London, who will be aged 16 – 21 on 31 August 2023, are invited to take part in workshops starting this summer, delivered by Vicki Igbokwe’s company Uchenna Dance. Some workshop participants will then be invited to join the professional dancers on stage when Our Mighty Groove opens at Sadler’s Wells East in November 2023.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “East Bank is the biggest investment in London’s cultural offering for a century and today’s ceremony at Sadler’s Wells East brings us another step closer to the completion of this exciting journey. Talented young Londoners will have the opportunity to take centre stage in the opening production at this fantastic venue, which will be rooted in the local community, helping to build a better London for everyone.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “Access to contemporary dance at school massively changed my life, it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the creative industries. So I couldn’t be more excited to announce that young people in east London will get the chance to be part of Our Mighty Groove, the very first show at the brand new Sadler’s Wells East in November 2023. I can’t wait to see it!”

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: “This is an amazing opportunity for us to get local people involved with Sadler’s Wells East, and I hope people living in east London will feel they are at the centre of our activities and connected to the work on our stages. This is a historic moment for Sadler’s Wells, and I am overjoyed that Sadler’s Wells East will provide such a fantastic resource for the local community as well as for dance in the UK.”

Vicki Igbokwe said: “Uchenna Dance and I are really looking forward to meeting the young people of East London. We are excited to share the Uchenna way of life as we empower, entertain and educate these incredible people who will also teach us a thing or two as well.”

Young east Londoners can find out more about the workshops for Our Mighty Groove at sadlerswells.com.

Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will provide a platform for UK dance companies, and productions created at Stratford will tour the UK. It will be home to Sadler’s Wells’ Hip Hop Theatre Academy, directed by Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, and Choreographic School with modules led by world-class dance artists.

Today’s topping out ceremony featured a performance from east London-based hip hop crew EASTablishment, who are all aged 16 – 24.


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