Sadler's Wells

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The current Sadler's Wells Theater, opened in 1998

Sadler's Wells is a theater complex in Islington , London. After an eventful history, Sadler's Wells Theater became London's leading stage for ballet and modern dance theater in the 20th and 21st centuries . The theater's opera and ballet ensembles gave birth to the Royal Ballet and the English National Opera .


Sadler's Wells dates back to the Musick House founded by Richard Sadler in 1683 . The composer Francis Forcer (1650-1704) became a partner in 1697 and held concerts there. The well, which was discovered by chance during construction work in 1683, became part of the name. The current theater, which reopened in 1998, is the sixth at this point.

In 1765 a new stone building was erected after a construction period of only seven weeks. At the beginning of the 19th century, numerous famous actors appeared on the stage, including Edmund Kean and Joseph Grimaldi , the inventor of the modern clown figure. Due to the numerous incidents of public drunkenness and rude behavior, the management felt compelled to offer theater-goers after dark after dark.

A performance in Sadler's Wells around 1808

From 1860 onwards, Sadler's Wells began to decline. After some melodramas were performed , the house was used as a roller skating rink for a while around 1875 and later as a boxing arena . The building was demolished in 1878 to endanger the public, but reopened as a music hall the next year , later used as a cinema and closed again in 1915.

In 1925, the director Lilian Baylis managed to convince public figures such as Winston Churchill , Stanley Baldwin , GK Chesterton , John Galsworthy , Ethel Smyth and Thomas Beecham to set up a foundation so that the house could be purchased. In the same year Baylis began working with Ninette de Valois , who had previously danced in the Ballets Russes under the direction of Sergei Djagilew . When it reopened in 1931, de Valois built the Vic-Wells Ballet . Alicia Markova was one of the first solo dancers of this ballet , the first choreographer was Frederick Ashton , both of whom had worked in Marie Rambert's Ballet Club . In 1946 the company moved to the Royal Opera House , Covent Garden. The Sadler's Wells Theater Ballet was founded at the old location as a sister company of the Vic Wells Ballet. However, this also did not play there from 1955 to 1970, but was on the road as the main company's touring company. In 1956 the old Vic-Wells Ballet at the Royal Opera House became the Royal Ballet , and the sister company was henceforth called Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet . From 1970 she played again at Sadler's Wells Theater until she moved to Birmingham in 1990.

On June 7, 1945, the opera was Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten in the Sadler's Wells premiere. In 1968 the Sadler's Wells Opera Company moved to the London Coliseum ; she renamed herself in 1974 English National Opera . In the 1980s there was another brief opera company at Sadler's Wells, the New Sadler's Wells Opera .

Sadler's Wells Theater has been almost entirely dedicated to dance again since the 1990s. It produces itself and also acts as a guest theater for touring productions.

After the last performance in the old theater on June 30, 1996, the house was demolished and reopened in its current form on October 11, 1998.

Web links

Commons : Sadler's Wells Theater  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 51 ° 31 '45.7 "  N , 0 ° 6' 22.1"  W.