A complete guide to Sadler’s Wells in London

By | Posted on 02-Apr-2020

A complete guide to Sadler’s Wells in London

During its 350-year history, Sadler’s Wells has been used for variety performances, pantomimes, operas, plays and musicals. But today, it’s considered to be a world-leading venue dedicated to high-quality dance, with international stars travelling thousands of miles to bring everything from jazz, tap and ballet to regional dance styles from remote areas to the British capital. If you’re missing out on your dance fix, check out all the ways that Sadler’s Wells is encouraging people to explore dance styles they’ve never considered with our guide.

Guide to London’s Sadler’s Wells

Online performances at Sadler’s Wells

Never been to Sadler’s Wells before? Well, you’re in the right place. Witness some of the greatest contemporary dance performers in recent years, thanks to a programme of dance performances taking place online instead of at the theatre. Here’s a round-up of Sadler’s Wells screenings you can look forward to while you’re at home.

29th May – 5th June

Hussein Chalayan – Gravity Fatigue

Taking inspiration from themes of identity and displacement, the visual creativity and contemporary movements are a sight to behold. Hussein Chalayan is an internationally renowned fashion designer and visual artist whose work is known for innovative design, bold use of technology and elegant minimalism.

We’ll be updating this guide with the latest shows to be made available online, so you can enjoy world-leading dance from the comfort of your settee.

Where is Sadler’s Wells?

Sadler’s Wells is a prestigious dance venue in north London, located on Rosebery Avenue (EC1R 4TN). It’s one of the capital’s leading places for international dance companies, including the Peacock Theatre, the London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House.

How do I get to Sadler’s Wells?

Sadler’s Wells is in north London. If you’re visiting Sadler’s Wells via train, Kings Cross and St Pancras International are the nearest stations. They’re just a mile away from the theatre, and you’ll be able to walk to Sadler’s Wells in around 20 minutes.

Are you heading to Sadler’s Wells by bus? The following routes will drop you off nearby:

Rosebery Avenue: 19, 38, 34
Upper Street: 4, 43, 56, 153
Pentonville Road: 30, 205, 214, 394, 476

Can I travel to Sadler’s Wells by tube?

Planning to visit Sadler’s Wells on the London Underground? The nearest tube station is Angel, a tube station on the Northern line which is just a two-minute walk from the theatre. Other tube stations nearby include Kings Cross St Pancras (Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan and Victoria) and Old Street (Northern).

When did Sadler’s Wells open?

Did you know Sadler’s Wells is one of London’s oldest theatres? First constructed in 1683, Richard Sadler built a music house set to rival Kent playhouse, with circus performers, singers, dancers and animals travelling from across the country to entertain audiences. This continued for over a century, until the theatre was rebuilt in 1765 to stage operatic productions, with early nineteenth-century shows starring the legendary clown Grimaldi, as well as Shakespearean classics. Yet, with fewer theatregoers heading to Sadler’s Wells in the Victorian era, Sadler’s Wells became a skating rink and a cinema before its eventual closure in 1915.

In 1925, Lilian Baylis began fundraising to rebuild Sadler’s Wells so that the people of north London could enjoy the theatre, like those in the south of the city could at the Old Vic. Six years later, Sadler’s Wells reopened on 6th January 1931 with a production of Twelfth Night, but the theatre quickly became a leading venue dedicated to opera, ballet and dance.

Today, programmed shows at Sadler’s Wells incorporate a wide variety of dance styles, with global stars jumping, spinning and highkicking across the stage.

What is the Peacock Theatre?

As well as their north London venue, Sadler’s Wells also programme shows at the Peacock Theatre in Holborn. By day, it’s a lecture theatre for the London School of Economics and Political Science, but by night, it’s home to dance and entertainment productions year round, with companies on stage while under the banner ‘Sadler’s Wells in the West End’.

But, the site the Peacock Theatre stands on has seen shows since 1660, including variety performances and dolphins kept in a water tank! Each year, the Peacock Theatre is home to The Snowman, now an annual Christmas tradition for thousands of theatregoers.