News: The Olivier Awards 2015

Thursday 2 April 2015 by Clare Evans

Thomas Ades - See The Music Hear The Dance - Crystal Pite's 'Polaris' -  Sadler's Wells

This year’s Olivier Awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Opera House next Sunday, 12th April. The Society of London Theatre have already announed that they will be making a Special Award to Sylvie Guillem, who retires from the stage at the end of this year, in recognition of her many achievements over the course of an extraordinary 39 year career. Get to know the people and productions who’ve also been nominated in the Dance categories….


32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom at Barbican
Part of London International Mime Festival, Belgian dance collective Peeping Tom’s 32 Rue Vandenbranden impressed critics with its uncompromising ingenuity and hyperreal quality. One of the inspirational sources for this piece was Shohei Imamura ‘s The Ballad of Narayama where an old woman is taken to the top of mountain Narayama by her children, to die.

“An eerie and original show, there’s a lot going on in this cold, cold place…” – Lyndsey Winship, The Evening Standard

Mats Ek’s Juliet And Romeo by Royal Swedish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells
Created for the Royal Swedish Ballet in 2013 and presented as part of the Sadler’s Wells Northern Light season, Ek unwraps Shakespeare’s most famous tale, showing how the starcrossed couple’s tragedy is both cause and symptom of the tumultuous society in which their lives unfold.

“It’s in the person of Juliet that we see Ek’s choreography at its most subtle and tender… in the choreography’s lyrical underpinnings and fluid musicality, we see the fully realised woman that she might have been.” – Luke Jennings, The Observer

Tabac Rouge by Compagnie Du Hanneton/James Thiérrée at Sadler’s Wells
Tabac Rouge is a world in which mystery, mirrors, music and movement combine to catapult you into the unfathomable logic of dreams. Unclassifiable as a genre piece, Thiérrée combines and defies elements of circus, dance and theatre. Which is perhaps not surprising, considering he’s Charlie Chaplin’s grandson and first started performing at age four in his parent’s circus.

“Thiérrée’ reigns and controls, physically positioned in the centre of this work, an unapologetic patriarch – a tyrant, inventor or demented old man.” – Josephine Leask,


Christopher Wheeldon for The Winter’s Tale at the Royal Opera House
The Winter’s Tale is the first three-act ballet based on Shakespeare to premiere at the Royal Ballet since Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet in 1965, and the second new full-evening story ballet commissioned in the past 20 years. The other was also Wheeldon’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it is with The Winter’s Tale that Wheeldon has cemented himself as both a commercial and critical hit.

“Christopher Wheeldon’s new three-act version of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is a triumph. It is contemporary and classical, traditional and modern, narrative and abstract. It feels like something entirely new.” – Sarah Crompton, The Telegraph

Crystal Pite for her choreography in the productions of The Associates – A Picture Of You Falling, The Tempest Replica and Polaris at Sadler’s Wells
A former dancer with William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt, and Sadler’s Wells newest Associate artist, Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite hit the ground running with The Tempest Replica, her haunting meditation on Shakespeare’s last play, and has gone from strength to strength, showing her versatility as a choreographer with her intimate duet A Picture of You Falling and her cast of 60 strong dancers for Polaris.

“an altogether tremendous accomplishment, exciting and dramatic and featuring a veritable army of superbly disciplined dancers… seething across the stage in skittering waves.” – Donald Hutera reviews Polaris for

Rocío Molina for Bosque Ardora at the Barbican
Part of Dance Umbrella 2014, Bosque Ardora showcased dancers engaging with their deep animal instincts to explore the struggle for survival in the natural world. Rocío Molina rejects the frills and fans of conventional gypsy dancing, bringing innovation and a sense of expressive freedom to traditional Flamenco form.

“The ninety-minute, non-stop show is built of several discrete sequences, each of which is dominated by Molina’s dancing, although every other member of the ensemble had their chance to shine” – Graham Watts,

The Elders Project as part of the Elixir Festival at Sadler’s Wells
In September, Sadler’s Wells presented its largest celebration of lifelong creativity and the contribution of older artists with the Elixir Festival. Over four inspiring days, the festival featured a range of performances from some of the oldest dancers ever to take to the Sadler’s Wells stage, from ex-dancers who had performed with Fonteyn and Nureyev, to pensioners who had discovered their love of the artform long after retiring.

The Elixir Festival celebrates not just older dancers, but dancers moving well into their seventies and eighties. It challenges all our preconceptions about what dancers should look like and asks us to examine movement in new ways, to open eyes and hearts to different pulses and inflections in dance itself. – Sarah Crompton, The Telegraph

The Olivier Awards 2015 ceremony will take place at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 12 April, with a full television highlights package broadcast on ITV at 22:15 that evening. For the first time this year, there will also be an Olivier Awards pop-up space near the Covent Garden Piazza entrance of the Royal Opera House. A host of free activities, workshops and exhibitions will run from Tuesday 7 April until the day of the ceremony itself.

For the full list of nominees and more information on the pop-up events, see

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