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Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK


Sadler's Wells rescued

Open again for business - the new-look London theatre

The chief executive of Sadler's Wells theatre says a rescue package has been agreed to ensure it stays open.

The future of the capital's premier dance theatre, which has just been rebuilt at a cost of 48m, was in doubt after the troubled Royal Opera House decided to axe its six-month run at the complex in Islington, north London, as part of its year-long closure plans.

But Sadler's Wells chief executive Ian Albery told BBC Newsroom South East: "Now the Arts Council has come through for us with the Royal Opera House and it will enable us to have a wonderful artistic programme next summer."

The rescue package, in excess of 1m, will be used to programme new events in place of the Royal Opera House performances.

But a spokesman for the theatre said it was too early to say which companies would be approached.

Although the structure has not been completely finished and local authority licences have yet to be granted, the curtain went up on Monday night for the first performance by the Rambert Dance Company.

A spokesman for the theatre said the performance went very well and added that the public seemed very positive about the refit.

The new structure - partly funded by a National Lottery grant of 36m - is the sixth theatre to stand on the site since Dick Sadler opened his 'musick house' in the 1680s - and will use the latest techniques to stage shows.

Indeed, it is set to revolutionise dance in London with a stage which is double the size of the old one and will attract world renowned companies.

It can be adapted to have shows "in the round" and images can be projected around the auditorium.

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