A theatre in London, famous principally for ballet. Here in 1931 Ninette de Valois and Lilian Baylis founded the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet, now the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

It is named after Mr Dick Sadler, who built the first playhouse there. In 1683 he discovered a therapeutic well on his grounds and began using that as an attraction. (It abuts the district of Clerkenwell, also named for a famous well.) The newest building on the site (the sixth, if I'm counting right), in Rosebery Avenue in Islington, opened in 1999. It has 1500 seats in the main theatre, and also has a small studio space called the Lilian Baylis Theatre.

The new building has pretty coloured light effects on its front, and neighbouring trees are festooned in light bulbs. It is however almost impossible ever to find the leaflet that tells you all the coming attractions.

One of the star performers of the nineteenth century was the clown Joey Grimaldi. Between 1844 and 1862 it was a serious Shakespearian theatre, but at the end of the century it became a cinema, and closed in 1915. It was restored under Lilian Baylis, who arrived in 1925, and was joined by de Valois in 1928. Their efforts led to the creation of modern English ballet.

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