Sadler's Wells & Universal Music announce the world premiere of The Who's Quadrophenia, A Mod Ballet

Sadler's Wells & Universal Music announce the world premiere of The Who's Quadrophenia, A Mod Ballet

Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK have announced the world premiere of Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet, based on The Who’s 1973 multi-million album of the same name, written by Pete Townshend.

The ballet show will be touring Plymouth Theatre Royal, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Mayflower in Southampton before having its official opening at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, which will begin on June 24 and last until July 13 next year. It will also visit The Lowry in Salford in 2025. 

An orchestral arrangement of the album by Rachel Fuller and Martin Batchelar, first heard in concert version at the Royal Albert Hall and recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, will be the backdrop for the brand new production. 

Townshend's record originally inspired the 1979 cult classic feature film of the same name, and this new production, choreographed by Paul Roberts and directed by Rob Ashford, is set to introduce new audiences to the piece. 

“Quadrophenia is the only Who album that I solely composed and produced and the movie that followed in 1979 launched the careers of some of the finest young actors of the time,” said Townshend. “In 2016, Rachel Fuller agreed to create an orchestral score of the album. When I first heard a demo of this version, without vocals, my first thought was that it would make a powerfully rhythmic and emotionally engaging ballet. Workshopped in 2023, that thought became a reality and I knew we had something that would resonate with new audiences, and also bring joy, as it had in its other iterations for decades. The themes of young people growing up in difficult times are still so relevant. It’s going to be poignant, tender and poetic and epic.’

David Joseph, chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK, said: "When Rachel and Pete came to me with the idea of a Quadrophenia ballet with extraordinary new arrangements, it was probably one of the easiest ‘we’re in’ moments I’ve had. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Alistair and the Sadler’s Wells team so they were the obvious next call, and they just got it immediately. Our only conditions for this project were artistic and creative excellence, which each partner has delivered in abundance. Finally, I must thank Paul Roberts, whose genius has lifted the whole production into something we are all so proud of.”

Sir Alistair Spalding, artistic director and co-CEO of Sadler’s Wells, added: “It's an honour for Sadler’s Wells to be a collaborator and lead producer of this unique production. Quadrophenia is a story crying out to be told through dance and with this talented creative team we can be sure that we can achieve its full potential. Working closely with Pete Townshend, his team and our regular collaborator Universal Music UK we can each bring our particular skills and knowledge to make this classic of The Who's discography a powerful and meaningful story for our time.” 

“Quadrophenia has already inspired me so much, bringing its legacy forward and discovering its voice in movement created so much emotive energy and passion every time we entered the workshop room,” said Paul Roberts. “I know that taking our next big step into rehearsals will stimulate so much more excitement and our generous, brilliant, madly talented young cast offer nothing but vitality to this iconic story. I can’t wait!”

Rob Ashford said: “I’m excited at the idea of art forms evolving and emerging into new territory. That’s certainly what’s happening with Quadrophenia and I’m thrilled to collaborate with these brilliant artists on this dance/theatre piece. The music is timeless in its orchestral form and makes the perfect backdrop as we tell the story of Jimmy, and evoke a world of Mods and Rockers.”


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