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Sadlers Wells

Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN GB

Sadlers Wells, London

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Sadlers Wells History

What to expect at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre

London’s famous Sadler’s Wells theatre is a modern masterpiece with a traditional twist, a feast of glittering glass and metal blended with lovely old red brick. The effect as a whole is comfortable and perfectly fit for purpose, a great place to experience the best on-stage entertainment the city can offer.

Accessibility at Sadler’s Wells Theatre

There are wheelchair spaces, easy access aisle seats and level access available. It’s a good idea to let the theatre staff know your requirements when you book your tickets so they can be ready to help if needed. The theatre’s address is Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN.

A peep into the past at Sadler’s Wells

Despite appearances the Sadler’s Wells theatre is London’s second oldest entertainment venue. Starting life in its original form way back in 1683, it’s packed with historical interest.

The original owner, Dick Sadler, first took advantage of the wells on the site, whose water was thought to have healing properties. At first very popular, the public soon became bored of the novelty and the entrepreneurial Mr Sadler decided to change tack. He devised a collection of amazing freak shows and circus acts instead, which performed on site until the early 1700s.

His offering soon extended to pantomimes and comic operas, often with a water theme supported by the venue’s curious water tank. But the venue really took off as a theatre in 1843 when the restrictive law censoring British drama was finally lifted. At first it hosted popular Shakespeare plays but constant management changes wrought chaos, seeing the place changing personality many times over, turning into an ice skating rink, a wrestling venue and, eventually, a cinema.

The Sadler’s Wells shut its doors in 1915 as the dark clouds of war covered Europe and it languished for a decade before rising again, thanks to the Old Vic’s owner Lilian Baylis with the support of a host of noted public figures including Winston Churchill. Baylis repurposed the building yet again as a home for quality opera, dance and ballet performances, and the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School finally took the stage.

The late twentieth century saw the theatre showcasing some of the top performers of the times, culminating in dramatic and badly needed renovations in 1996, thanks to lottery funding. With extensive rebuilding, a bigger stage, more seats and improved acoustics, it re-opened two years later in ’98, holding pride of place as the sixth theatre to stand on the site.

Today the theatre reigns supreme as Britain’s top dance house. It produces, commissions and presents unusual and imaginative contemporary dance including hip hop, flamenco and tap plus various smash hit collaborations with respected visual artists from across the world. And they work hand in hand with some of the best known and loved British dance talent including Matthew Bourne, Jonzi D, Sylvie Guillem, Michael Hulls, Akram Khan and Kate Prince, thrilling modern audiences just as much as it did back in the 1600s.

What has wowed audiences at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre?

Impressively prolific, the Sadler’s Wells is famous for a constant stream of top class productions from revered organisations like The Scottish Ballet, the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, the well-loved Rambert Dance Company, Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker, Ivan Putrov, the amazing Candoco Dance Company and the Hofesh Shechter Company.

Sadler’s Wells Theatre tickets

We sell a wide variety of seat types and prices for this popular venue, including the full range of Sadler’s Wells Theatre tickets from bargain seats to the cream of the crop.

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