Sadler’s Wells has won both dance awards at this year’s prestigious Olivier Awards, with prizes for two productions the organisation helped bring to the stage.
TRAPLORD by Ivan Michael Blackstock, produced by Sadler’s Wells, Factory International, 180 Studios and Altruviolet, won Best New Dance Production, while Dickson Mbi won Outstanding Achievement in Dance for his choreography for his solo show, Enowate.
The Olivier Awards, established in 1976, celebrate the world-class status of London theatre. The awards were presented at a ceremony held last night at the Royal Albert Hall.
Sir Alistair Spalding CBE, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “I’m thrilled that Ivan and Dickson have been recognised with these awards. It’s a testament to their enormous talent. I am very proud that we are producing and presenting Olivier Award-winning work, and that these productions were presented by Sadler’s Wells during a season that platformed the work of Black dancemakers. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.”
TRAPLORD received its world premiere at 180 Studios in April 2022. Meditating on life, death and rebirth, TRAPLORD uses dance, theatre and spoken word to explore raw and confrontational themes of mental health and masculinity. TRAPLORD is an invitation to question the stereotyping of Black men in contemporary western society; an attempt to escape from the mental state of being condemned before having lived.
Enowate, which was presented on the Sadler’s Wells stage in October 2022, is Dickson Mbi’s solo performance inspired by a life-changing journey to his ancestral home in Cameroon. Enowate, meaning ‘truth stands’, draws on sinuous elements of hip hop and contemporary dance in combination with original music and otherworldly animated projections.
Enowate was part of Well Seasoned, conceived and curated by Jonzi D and Michelle Norton of Breakin’ Convention at Sadler’s Wells. Running throughout 2022, Well Seasoned platformed work by Black dancemakers on all Sadler’s Wells’s stages, including its Digital Stage.
Catrina Nisbett was nominated in the same category as Dickson Mbi, Outstanding Achievement in Dance, for her performance in Family Honour by Spoken Movement. Family Honour was commissioned by Sadler’s Wells and was part of Well Seasoned. Dickson Mbi, Ivan Michael Blackstock and Catrina Nisbett have previously worked with Breakin’ Convention.
Breakin’ Convention’s Artistic Director Jonzi D said: “I’m so proud of Ivan Blackstock! TRAPLORD is a stunning piece of work that deserves all the accolades. Big ups to Dickson for his remarkable solo, and Catrina’s incredible performance with Spoken Movement. Breakin’ Convention alumni keep winning!”
Meanwhile, Sadler’s Wells Ambassador Dame Arlene Phillips was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a choreographer and director. Beverley Knight won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her role as Emmeline Pankhurst in Sylvia, which is directed and choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince. Sylvia is co-produced by ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company and the Old Vic, in Association with Sadler’s Wells and runs at the Old Vic until 8 April 2023.