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The next generation of leading choreographers assemble in double bill at Sadler's Wells

Updated: May 5

This week London audiences get to experience first-hand the next generation of leading UK choreographers in a double bill hitting Sadler's Wells from Matsena Productions and House of Absolute on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th May.


We managed to grab choreographers and directors Anthony Matsena, Kel Matsena and Julia Cheng for a quick chat to find out how the programme is shaping up ahead of opening night.


Julia Cheng (left) in Warrior Queens, Anthony Matsena (top right) and Kel Matsena (bottom right) in Shades of Blue. Photo: Jack Thomson
Julia Cheng (left) in Warrior Queens, Anthony Matsena (top right) and Kel Matsena (bottom right) in Shades of Blue. Photo: Jack Thomson

How excited are you all to see your work hit the main stage at Sadler’s Wells?

JC: I’m deep in anticipation and still in work mind mode until the curtains go up. I am honoured and excited to work with such a great team of creatives. Sadler’s main stage means a lot to us as a company, it’s a stage we feel our work deserves to be on and we’ve worked hard to make this happen since Warrior Queens first inception in 2016 at Lilian Baylis for Breakin’ Convention.


KM: Having our work presented on the main stage at Sadler's Wells is something we’d always dreamt of but never imagined it would come this quickly. It’s all down to our amazing team of supporters and collaborators who continue to inspire us to break boundaries and be bold in all that we do. We can’t wait for it to hit the stage on Friday.



Julia Cheng in Warrior Queens. Photo: Jack Thomson
Julia Cheng in Warrior Queens. Photo: Jack Thomson, courtesy of House of Absolute


What can people expect to see from Warrior Queens and Shades of Blue?

JC: I would say expect nothing! I hope they remain present in the work to receive whatever connects to them. Warrior Queens is influenced by the Hua Mulan folk story, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, our lineages, bloodline and ancestry. It also uses Yin / Yang energy, displacement, notions of gender, indigenous erasure, colonialism, duality of upbringings, social non-conformity, power, adversity and resilience as influences.


AM: For Shades of Blue people can expect highly energetic, dramatic, emotional and theatrical telling of a story of our times. A lot of things inspired us to make this work but the biggest driving force was the BLM protests in 2020 and how the world and ourselves dealt with it.


Anthony Matsena in rehearsals with Matsena Productions artists for Shades of Blue. Photography: Moligo Photography
Anthony Matsena in rehearsals with Matsena Productions artists for Shades of Blue. Photography: Moligo Photography

What does the next year look like for House of Absolute and Matsena Productions? Can we expect more exciting work hitting stages around the UK?

JC: Next year is an open book - this is our first performance project physically since the pandemic. There are great things on the horizon including digital projects, however, reconnecting and nourishing our artistry together will be at the forefront as well as finding ways to develop this work into a full-length evening.


AM/KM: Next year for Matsena Productions is very exciting. We will be touring Shades of Blue, working on our new production (more info to follow when we can share!) and Anthony will be working on GALWAD in his role as Lead Choreographer.



Catch Shades of Blue and Warrior Queens in a double bill at Sadler’s Wells 6 - 7th May 2022.

Shades of Blue also visits RWCMD's Richard Burton Theatre 10 - 11th May 2022.