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Mark Aston
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To help celebrate Derek Jarman (1942-1994) being one of the three successful nominations to receive an Islington People’s Plaque, we thought it fitting to discuss his link with Sadler’s Wells. On 21 August 1968 Sadler's Wells Opera Company (SWOC) premiered Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the first performance in their new... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2016 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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A veritable who's who of British stage actors of the day gathered on 23 April 1932 to take part in the Shakespeare Birthday Festival at the Old Vic, sister theatre to Sadler's Wells. Amongst those performing a selection of scenes from the Bard's work were Edith Evans, Martita Hunt and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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To commemorate the death 400 years ago of William Shakespeare in 1616, as well as the bard's 452th birthday on 23 April 1564, it seemed appropriate to recall the use of the playwright's Twelfth Night as the opening play at a newly rebuilt Sadler’s Wells Theatre on 6 January 1931.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2016 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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This year the nation is celebrating the 450th-birthday of the playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and baptisted on 26 April 1564, a few days after his birth. Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 at the age of 52 and was buried in Holy Trinity... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2014 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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22 November 2013 is the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, composer, conductor and pianist. With a career that spanned over 40 years and a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces, he is a central figure of 20th-century British classical music. Britten had... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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In October 1949, with much fanfare and celebration, Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company embarked on its first series of tours throughout the USA and Canada. The tour premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera House on 9 October with Tchaikovsky's ballet Sleeping Beauty. Visiting principal cities of the USA and Canada for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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In previous blogs we have focused primarily on the large collection of material that we hold concerning the beginnings of Sadler's Wells Theatre, and the first half of the 20th century, when the theatre was refurbished and reopened by Lilian Baylis in 1931. But for anyone interested in contemporary dance... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
In our previous blog, Mark promised to reveal details of an exciting discovery found in the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive during listing and cataloguing of costume and set designs. I am now very pleased to share this news with our readers. I have been tidying up the loose ends of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Following a post in December 2012 titled The Sadler's Wells Smog Blog (1952), which looked back sixty years to 1952 and the devasting smog attack that gripped London in December that year, I'm pleased to bring readers an update. Following an appeal for first-hand reports about the cancelled performance of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Our last blog of 2012 promised future news about Islington Local History Centre's latest archive cataloguing project, the Sickert Family Collection. I am therefore very pleased to announce that, as scheduled, this is now underway. Undertaking the task is the Centre's Special Collection's Assistant, Julie Melrose. Julie has been an... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
From Monday 7 January until Saturday 12 January 2013 (inc.) there is no public access to the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive at Islington Local History Centre. 'Performances' however are back to normal on Monday 14 January. The Local History Centre is closed for its annual stocktaking. Staff will be undertaking... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2013 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Staff at the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive at Islington Local History Centre wish all of our blog readers and contributors a very happy and prosperous New Year 2013. Our blog title begins rather cryptically - Because We Must. This in fact was the name of the show performed twenty-five years... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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It's recently come to the archive's attention that the infamous smog attack on London sixty years ago this month even affected a performance at Sadler's Wells Theatre. On Tuesday 9 December 1952, after four-days of atrociously foggy conditions in London, in what became known later as the Great Smog of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Please forgive this blog title's reference to the 1989 Hollywood film Field of Dreams but it seemed very apt regarding the current status of the collection. It's been over a month since we launched our Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive catalogue on the Archives Hub and I'm delighted to report that... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Following the excitement of the recent launch of the online Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive catalogue and accompanying display, today's timely blog brings our ongoing history and development of Sadler's Wells Theatre up-to-date. Our previous installment, posted earlier this month, describing A new theatre for a new millennium, focused on the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
From now until 20 October 2012, and hot on the heels of the online launch of the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive collection on the Archives Hub (see previous blog), the story of the 'Wells' through the use of archive material can be viewed at Islington Local History Centre. Dedicated interpretation... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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I am very pleased to announce that blog readers will be amongst the first to be able to view our online catalogue to the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive collection, which went live a few days ago. The catalogue is being hosted on the Archives Hub, which also details other special... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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As the new millennium approached, change and modernisation for Sadler's Wells was in the air, heralding a new chapter in the history of this remarkable institution. In 1994 Ian Albery became chief executive of Sadler’s Wells and he oversaw the rebuilding of the theatre. Costing an overall £54 million, the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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In last week's blog - A Grimey Affair - mention was made about how, following the departure of its two resident companies during the 1960s, Sadler’s Wells became a venue for international and UK based companies wanting to launch their careers. In fact, the archive's largest series relates to these... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Our previous blog - Pas de deux - looked at the mixed fortunes of ballet at Sadler's Wells following the end of the Second World War in 1945. Not to be out done by its dance partner, opera at the theatre was to experience drama equal to any production narrative.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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As promised in the previous blog, our ongoing brief history of Sadler's Wells continues with a look at life at the theatre following the Second World War. In 1946, with the re-opening of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the ballet company was invited to become the ROH's resident... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
...but we're hopefully not facing the final curtain! In fact, here at Islington Local History Centre, we are coming close to completing the project to sort and catalogue the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive. It's hard to believe but it's been nearly 15 months since the project began and the collection... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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Blog readers may recall my December 2011 post - Christmas with a Twist - that highlighted one of the treasures held in the Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive, namely a play-script of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist performed at the Wells in December 1838. I am delighted and excited to announce that,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
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While this year the nation is celebrating the 200th-birthday of Charles Dickens, seventy-years ago The Old Vic and Sadler's Wells theatres were preparing to commemorate the 368th-birthday of another literary giant, William Shakespeare. A veritable who's who of British stage actors of the day gathered on 23 April 1932 to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive
We extend a very warm welcome to our new Sadler’s Wells Theatre Archive Project Archivist, Paul Williams, who will be steering the cataloguing project to its conclusion in July. Paul brings his expertise to Islington having previously worked on a diverse range of projects and collections at various institutions. These... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2012 at Sadler's Wells Theatre Archive