Sadler’s Wells plans to become a world-leading dance venue with plans for a new theatre in London, after attracting audiences of nearly half a million last year.
The new 500-seat custom-made performance space, set to open as early as 2018, will be designed with contemporary dance work in mind, according to artistic director Alistair Spalding.
Speaking to WhatsOnStage, Spalding said: “The public appetite for dance has never been greater. We want to respond to this and give the creative talent in this country a proper chance to develop.”
The overall budget and location remain unknown, but a south or east London location seems likely as a result of improved transport links.
The new theatre will build on Sadler's Wells' reputation for producing dance performances that appeal to a breadth of audiences.
The theatre's big successes in recent years have included Some Like It Hip-Hop, which saw hip-hop win for the first time at the National Dance Awards, and Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, the best-attended Christmas production in Sadler’s Wells’ history with totals sales of nearly 100,000.
Events such as the hip-hop celebration Breakin’ Convention and the annual Flamenco Festival London have also proven successful, alongside a series of high profile collaborations.
The Independent’s dance critic Zoë Anderson has praised the theatre’s shake-up of genres as a “very astute” method of targeting different crowds.
She said: “Sadler’s Wells has worked to find new audiences through initiatives such as Sampled, which showcases the range of the theatre’s work at special cheap prices. The proposed new venue shows the same thinking: spotting a gap in the market, and going after it.”
The theatre has also revealed its 2014 season, with an eclectic range of over 40 shows planned for spring and summer next year.
The World Cup in Brazil will be honoured with Brasil Brasileiro, a sensational samba showcase, while James Thiérrée will perform his “inventive dance circus creation” in the UK premiere of Tabac Rouge.