Sadler’s Wells artistic director Alistair Spalding has claimed the UK needs more mid-scale dance venues to provide career “stepping stones” for artists.
The comments were made at East London Dance’s 2019 Ideas Summit, which is an event focusing on enterprise in dance that took place at Stratford Circus Arts Centre on March 29.
Spalding said a new 550-seat venue being built for Sadler’s Wells as part of a major cultural development in the Queen Elizabeth Park would not only provide a mid-scale space for dance but also help develop artists.
He told The Stage: “There was a gap, and we’re filling it for London, so to have this possibility of a 500-seater, that doesn’t really exist in London – particularly not dedicated to dance – has been a long-term ambition.
“There are quite a few companies already who work at that scale and don’t really have a proper platform, particularly outside of London, so they can come more frequently as well.”
Spalding added: “It’s another opportunity for someone like Alex Whitley, who is a new wave associate [at Sadler’s Wells]; he had to make the leap straight into the main house and he would have benefited from this other stage, working in the middle scale somewhere more intimate, somewhere with less pressure in a way.
“Also you can develop the audience as well, that’s the other side of it – so not having to find 1,500 people a night.”
The Sadler’s Wells artistic director and chief executive said he would like to see more mid-scale venues around the country dedicated specifically to dance.
“What happens at the moment is most of the dance programmes are in [other] theatre programmes and now and again you have some dance, and it’s not really how you generate audiences,” he added.