Visit London Blog » sadlers wells Enjoy the very best of London Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Spring in London: Lambs, Daffodils and the Great Outdoors! Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:58:44 +0000 Newborn lamb at Woodlands Farm

Spring has sprung! Celebrate the change in season by enjoying some traditional (and not-so traditional) spring festivities in London.

Newborn lambs at Woodlands Farm

There’s nothing cuter than a lamb at springtime, and at Woodlands Farm in south-east London you can see some very newborn lambs – the eldest were born on 20 March! Make a day of it and explore the rest of the 89-acre working farm while you’re there, including its native bird species, butterflies, amphibians, wild flowers and ancient woodland.

Spring spectacular at Kew Gardens

Every day until 30 April, Kew’s volunteer guides are leading walks around the Botanical Gardens to take in the colourful spring bulbs, blossom and lesser-known species. The hour-long Spring Spectacular tours start at 12pm and are run on a first come, first serve basis – with a maximum of 15 people on each.
Cost: Free with your ticket into Kew Gardens (£14.50 for adults, free for children under 16 accompanied by an adult). Book your ticket now

Wild daffodils at Lesnes Abbey Woods. © Natural England

Native wild daffodils at Lesnes Abbey Wood

Lesnes Abbey Wood in Bexley is the only site in London where you’ll find wild daffodils growing naturally – as opposed to the cultivated variety we’re used to seeing. A real hidden gem of southeast London, the woods sit alongside ruins of a 12th century abbey and a fossil bed – where you can actually dig for fossils. They’ve already found specimens from 54.5 million years ago, seashells and sharks’ teeth, so who knows what you’ll find!
Cost: Free

Green Gym

As well as lambs, daffodils and sunshine, spring brings a sense of rising panic – as people rush to get into shape before summer! Forget faddy diets or expensive bootcamps, with Green Gyms you can get fit for free, enjoy the great outdoors and do good – all at the same time. Visit The Conservation Volunteers website to find your nearest ‘workout’.
Cost: Free

Keats House. Image courtesy of Keats House

Keats House Poets Present…

Seeking inspiration from nature, the changing season and ideas of rebirth and regeneration, poets Deanna Rodger and Kaamil Ahmed lead a creative writing workshop, Keats House Poets Present… – in none other than Keats House, once home to the famous Romantic poet himself.
Cost: Free with entry to Keats House (£5.50 for over 17s, free for under 17s, with tickets valid for a whole year). Book your workshop space in advance through Eventbrite.

The Rite of Spring at Sadler’s Wells

This spring, Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre are back at Sadler’s Wells with their dark, shocking interpretation of Stravinsky’s masterpiece The Rite of Spring, told through the imagery of a pagan fertility rite. The other half of the double-bill performance is, by contrast, a bright production of Petrushka, drawing on folk dances. The cast includes 13 international dancers, accompanied by a 65-piece orchestra from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Probably not one for the kids, but a healthy reminder of the darker side of spring and nature.
Cost: From £12

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London Video of the Week: Sadler’s Wells’ New Season Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:00:36 +0000

Talented theatrical street dance outfit Blaze show off their eye-popping breakdancing skills in this exhilarating video.

The video is one of several made by Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the launch of the dance company’s busiest-ever season of world-class dance, with more than 40 shows being performed across Sadler’s Wells, the Peacock Theatre and the Lilian Baylis Studio.

Highlights for Sadler’s Wells’ 2014 season include award-winning choreographer Olivier Dubois’ powerful work Tragedie; the Flamenco Festival LondonBlaze; and Breakin’ Convention, the international festival of hip hop dance theatre.

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London Video of the Week: It’s a Man’s World – Some Like It Hip Hop by Sadler’s Wells Fri, 19 Apr 2013 15:29:20 +0000

Two stars from ZooNation’s smash hit street dance show Some Like It Hip Hop have been out and about exploring London (and surprising a few members of the public with their moves!). You can see the show at the Peacock Theatre from 3 May to 30 June 2013.

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The Snowman in London Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:00:00 +0000 The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images

Have you seen The Snowman in London? He’s been melting the hearts of both children and adults for 30 years and this Christmas, he’ll be visiting the capital in more ways than one.

On Christmas Eve, The Snowman will enjoy some spectacular views of London as he returns in Channel 4′s sequel to the much-loved animated film. In The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Snowman and friends swoop past some of London’s most famous sites, including the London Eye, Big Ben and the OXO Tower. 24 Dec, 8pm

You can also see the original animated version of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Barbican, with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera providing extra magic with a live accompaniment to the film. The family double-bill also includes a screening of Peter and the Wolf, with narration by Tamsin Greig. 22-23 Dec

Finally, clocking up its 15th year at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells is the dance production of The Snowman. This family treat includes an orchestra, dancing penguins and of course, the magical flying sequence, all created live on stage.

Which is your favourite version of The Snowman?

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London Theatre News: Loserville; West Side Story; ZooNation; Book of Mormon; plus Rufus Hound and Faye Tozer Thu, 15 Nov 2012 18:10:35 +0000

Musical news to start: firstly, the sad news that Loserville will be leaving the West End early. The Elliot Davis and James Bourne musical based around teenage geeks in the 1970s was full of bouncy energy, but alas, it’s closing in early January instead of March. Rumour suggests it’s headed abroad, so fans of the show might be able to see it elsewhere…

However, there’s happier news of a new musical coming to the West End: The Tailor-Made Man runs at The Arts Theatre for eight weeks from February. The story of the gay MGM star William Haines refusing to marry another movie star to cover up his sexuality has been turned into a musical by Showstopper co-creator Adam Meggido. It will star former Steps popstrel Faye Tozer and West End regular Dylan Turner.

Finally this week, some fun Sadler’s Wells news. Two more productions have been announced for the venue’s 15th birthday season. From 7 August, you can see the 2008 production of West Side Story; and from May, innovative dance company ZooNation are bringing their 2011 hit Some Like It Hip Hop back to London, to Sadler’s Wells’ West End stage at the Peacock Theatre.

London Theatre Cast News:

Have you enjoyed any great theatre in London recently? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top 10 Best Bits from the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony Sat, 28 Jul 2012 09:00:26 +0000 London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (rehearsal)Did you enjoy last night’s incredible Opening Ceremony? Danny Boyle’s magnum opus was a thrilling display of the history and culture of Great Britain, and had a massive positive response across the media, social networks, and with Londoners too.

From the rural beginnings with speeches from Shakespeare, through the Industrial Revolution, with nods to our great institutions (the NHS, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the inventor of the World Wide Web), with comedy from Messrs Bean and Bond, Boyle’s show stretched both our imaginations, and it seemed, the walls of the stadium, as the show seemed to encompass the whole world inside the “steel O” to misquote Shakespeare! Here are my top 10 moments from the show, with tips on places to visit in London if you were similarly impressed.

1. Bradley Wiggins and that Huge Bell
What a way to start. Winner of the Tour de France and in possession of a snazzy new yellow jersey, Londoner Bradley Wiggins rang the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world, at 23-tonnes cast by the Whitechapel Bell Company (est in 1570). Fancy visiting their factory? You can.

2. Kenneth Branagh as Isambard Kingdom Brunel
I’m a huge fan of actor Kenneth Branagh, and his reading of the “Isle is full of noises” speech was fantastic. He was representing Isambard Kingdom Brunel, an engineer responsible for many of the UK’s bridges and dockyards. You can learn more about this famous chap at the Brunel Museum, and take a tour through his Thames tunnel in Rotherhithe.

3. London Symphony Orchestra (and, of course, Mr Bean)
Have you ever seen a better one-finger ostinato than that performed by Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean? It was one of several very funny moments, but behind it all was the London Symphony Orchestra, with Vangelis’ tune from Chariots of Fire swelling under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. You can see the orchestra play throughout the year in London.

4. James Bond Visiting Buckingham Palace
Another brilliant comic turn, this time from HM The Queen herself. A pouty Daniel Craig took a trip to Buckingham Palace before executing the most incredible arrival at a party ever; you too can visit the Queen’s residence during the summer months. And if you’re a big Bond fan, don’t miss the current Barbican exhibition about our most famous spy.

5. JK Rowling Reading Peter Pan
Another of my highlights was hearing Harry Potter author JK Rowling reading from Peter Pan, before a team of hundreds of children performed a piece representing the wealth of children’s literature from Great Britain. If you were inspired by the literary display, why not try our Peter Pan Day Out, or visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter to see behind the scenes of JK Rowling’s incredible world.

6. Tim Berners-Lee – Inventor of the World Wide Web
An unsung hero of the modern age, and a key player in the digital revolution, Londoner Tim Berners-Lee made a guest appearance in the Ceremony, live tweeting “This is for everyone” which certainly made me want to cry! You can learn more about computer scientists like Tim at the Science Museum in London.

7. Dancer Akram Khan’s Moving Nod to Mortality
Earlier silliness was tempered with stillness as another Londoner, British Bangladeshi dancer Akram Khan performed a moving dance work called Mortality. Having held the post of associate artist at the Southbank Centre, he’s currently associate artist at Sadler’s Wells, and regularly performs in London. Keep an eye on our dance pages to see him perform again in London.

8. David Beckham’s Speedboat Along the Thames
Later, the mood changed again, as we were treated to the view of the lovely David Beckham sweeping along the Thames on a speedboat. Were you tempted? I’ve done it too, on one of the Speedboat Tours available in London, and I totally recommend it. (I can’t promise you’ll get the same fireworks as you pass under Tower Bridge, but the adrenaline rush is the same!)

9. The Olympic Cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick
There were so many well-kept secrets surrounding the ceremony, but one of the best was the cauldron and the identity of the final torchbearers. It was yet another emotional moment when the young athletes circled the stadium, and lit the 204 petals representing each country, which then rose together to create the cauldron. Want to know more about the Thomas Heatherwick Design Studios? There’s an exhibition dedicated to the team on at the V&A until 30 September.

10. The Great British Music
Finally, what about the amazing music that played throughout? So many great British musicians were given a moment in the spotlight: from Elgar to Underworld; from Charles Parry to the Arctic Monkeys; from the Sex Pistols to Dizzee Rascal. If you’re a fan of Sir Paul McCartney, make sure you visit the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing next time you’re in London; you can also pay tribute to the history of British music at the British Music Experience at The O2.

What were your favourite moments? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sport on Stage: London’s Theatres Get Into the Olympic Spirit Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:00:10 +0000

No tickets to the Games? Perhaps you’d prefer a trip to the theatre instead. London’s theatres have responded to the Olympics fever spreading across the city with a slew of particularly sporty shows. Take your pick from the following:

Chariots of Fire at the Gielgud Theatre, Until 10 Nov
A fantastic display of 1920s sportsmanship, this show takes the Oscar-winning film and transforms it into an inventive piece of theatre. With a wonderful cast and a gorgeous score, Chariots of Fire will leave you feeling really patriotic about Team GB as you’re treated to the story of Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddel’s triumphs from another age.

1936 at Sadler’s Wells, Until 5 Aug
Sadler’s Wells is recreating a darker side of the Olympic Games this summer with 1936 – Tom McNab’s examination of the power and the politics behind the Berlin Games hosted by Nazi Germany in the titular year. The political compromises and manipulations are laid bare; although the athletes are still given the chance to shine, McNab’s piece asks if sport can ever surpass politics.

Complete World of Sports at the Arts Theatre, Until 25 Aug
The silly (but hugely clever) chaps from the Reduced Shakespeare Company are back in town this time with a show about sport. This is the European premiere of the Complete World of Sports, and the team have had to make a few amendments to suit our slightly different sporting tastes in the UK. Wherever you’re from, you’re sure to enjoy their irreverent take on sporting history, featuring everything from cavemen’s games to the clichés of modern sports commentators.

Playing The Games at the Criterion Theatre, Until 12 Aug
The Criterion Theatre is running a whole series of events, plays, talks and suchlike to celebrate the Games. As well as Sporting Stories Before Bedtime (10 Aug) by Brian Blessed, Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard, there’s an evening of entertainment from Alan Davies and some top lunchtime conversations between actors and stars. The two theatre shows that form part of Playing The Games are After The Party by Serge Cartwright (about two best friends trying to make their dreams come true as the Olympics roll into their neighbourhood) and Taking Part by Adam Brace, the story of a Congolese security guard with plans to swim for his country at the 2012 Olympics.

Run, Brer Rabbit, Run at the Chickenshed Theatre Until 4 Aug
If you’re looking for a child-friendly sports show to entertain the little ones, Run, Brer Rabbit, Run from Chickenshed might be the perfect solution. Based on the traditional Brer Rabbit stories, Run, Brer Rabbit, Run features the well-known characters causing mayhem when they collide with the present day London Olympics. Your kids’ imaginations can run wild as they follow the mischievous Brer Rabbit and his friends on crazy adventures and cheer them on as they go for gold! The show is suitable for babies to kids up to the age of seven.

Sports Play at the Chelsea Theatre, 30 July-4 Aug
Sports Play is the English language premiere of Austrian Elfriede Jelinek’s cool, clever 1998 play about the marketing and sale of the human body and of emotions in sport. In this show, Jelinek considers sport as a medium for chauvinism and fanaticism – sport as war – but with her trademark mix of anger and irony.

Endure: A Run Woman Show at the Riverside Studios, 2-5 Aug
If all that sporting action makes you want to get involved, here’s a novel idea from the Riverside Studios. Endure invites you to follow actress and runner Melanie Jones across 5kn of public parklands, walking, running and engaging physically with the performer in what’s described as “an immersive dance theatre performance experience”! You’ll be loaned an MP3 player to listen to the rich narrative and musical soundtrack while the performance unfolds. Jones’ show will give you an intimate view into the mind and body of a marathon runner: if you’re a fan of quirky theatre, this is one show you just can’t miss!

Have you seen any more sporty theatre shows in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Fela! at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London Fri, 12 Aug 2011 13:31:02 +0000
Fela! tells the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti.

Fela Kuti lived a controversial life as an artist and political activist.

Before going to see Fela, I had heard mixed reviews about the show from Nigerian friends who had said it was a watered-down version of the real life of Fela Kuti.

They were concerned because the lead actor did not resemble the real life Kuti; there was no mention of the talking drums that he used to send messages to the people; and because The Shrine (a famous night club in Lagos) did not look like the real thing.

I sat down at the beginning of the performance greeted by the sounds of the drums and beautiful women moving to the rhythm, in tune and at one with the music.

I found the whole production and performance electrifying and it made me want to know more about the life and story that made this man.

I felt the need to grab every piece of merchandise being sold, from books to CDs and t-shirts, just to get a deeper insight into this man’s life. Simply brilliant!

Fela! is at Sadler’s Wells until 28 August. Book tickets

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One Year To Go To The London 2012 Festival Tue, 21 Jun 2011 08:30:42 +0000 Today marks one year to go to the London 2012 Festival, a 12-week UK-wide cultural celebration from 21 June to 9 September 2012 featuring leading artists from all over the world.

The London 2012 Festival is the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, and will feature artists Plan B, Toni Morrison, Olafur Eliasson, Miranda Hart, Deborah Warner, Mike Leigh, Leona Lewis and Damon Albarn.

More than 7 million people can enjoy free events during the London 2012 Festival. Events already announced include

Today there are several new programme announcements, many of which are outside London: a free light and fire spectacular by Les Commandos Percus on the shores of Lake Windermere; an immersive theatre show for Doctor Who fans by Punchdrunk in Manchester; a free spectacular by outdoor performance specialists Walk the Plank in Chelmsford. Londoners can look forward to The 2012 Reading Challenge; a special comedy season at the Hackney Empire, and a Peace One Day concert in London on 21 September 2011, featuring Eliza Doolittle.

Sebastian Coe, London 2012 Chair, said: “We always said that the culture program would be part of the London 2012 experience.

“What you can see today is even more evidence that the London 2012 Festival programme for next year will showcase the incredible creative talent we have here in the UK. Millions will be able to get involved all across the UK, the vast majority for free; it will be a fitting finale for the Cultural Olympiad.”

Tickets for the London 2012 Festival will go on sale in October 2011. Tickets for number of Festival projects are already on sale, including Pina Bausch retrospective and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach taking place at Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican.

Sign up now at to be first in line for information about the festival.

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Legally Blonde and After The Dance Triumph at the Laurence Olivier Awards Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:30:25 +0000 Hit West End Musical Legally Blonde won three gongs last night at the Laurence Olivier Awards, UK theatreland’s “Oscars”.

Star of the show Sheridan Smith won Best Actress in a Musical, and co-star Jill Halfpenny took the prize for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. The show also won the Best New Musical award.

The National Theatre’s revival of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance took four awards, including Best Revival, Best Actress for Nancy Carroll and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the ever-excellent Adrian Scarborough.

These two shows were the biggest winners at the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, held last night at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Other prizes went to Roger Allam for playing Falstaff in Henry IV at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Best Actor), David Thaxton for Passion at the Donmar Warehouse (Best Actor in a Musical) and Howard Davies: best director for The White Guard at the National.

Clybourne Park, which is currently playing at Wyndham’s Theatre won Best New Play, and the Entertainment Award went to The Railway Children at Waterloo Station (which is, happily, coming back to London in a few months’ time).

The BBC Radio 2 Audience Award went to We Will Rock You.

Sadler’s Wells’ production Babel won two dance awards, including Best New Dance Production. One of the biggest shocks of the night was the Best New Opera Award, given to La Boheme by OperaUpClose, which started life in the 35-seat Cock Tavern pub theatre in North-West London, and beat much grander-scale shows at the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum and Young Vic.

Finally, Best Musical Revival went to Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods, staged by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

At the ceremony’s climax, Sondheim received a special prize in recognition of his contribution to theatre.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh described the composer and lyricist as a “true legend”, paying tribute to his “unique theatrical muscle”.

“His sense of theatrical adventure knows no bounds, his subjects… have shown us all no subjects are taboo,” Sir Cameron said.

Read more about the Oliviers here. Do you agree with the judges’ decisions? Let us know in the comments below.

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