Company Wayne McGregor
Concept and Direction
Wayne McGregor in collaboration with the dancers
Set Design and Visual Concept
Ben Cullen Williams
Originally danced by
Rebecca Bassett-Graham, Jordan James Bridge, Travis Clausen-Knight, Louis McMiller, Daniela Neugebauer, Jacob O’Connell, James Pett, Fukiko Takase, Po-Lin Tung
Premiere date and venue
4 October 2017, Sadler's Wells, London
What does it mean to write your own life-story? For twenty-five years, Wayne McGregor has been making choreography that interrogates life through the experience of the body, moving intelligently in space and time. His practice has been far-reaching and sought out collaborators from a diverse range of artistic and scientific fields to investigate the nature of embodied cognition.
Now McGregor turns his attention to the body as archive, as he embarks on a cycle of choreographic portraits illuminated by the sequencing of his own genome. The first of these studies, Autobiography, is an abstract meditation on aspects of self, life, writing, refracting both remembered pasts and speculative futures.
Palimpsesting McGregor’s choreographic imprint over personal memoir and genetic code in a continuous re-imagining, Autobiography unfolds uniquely for each and every performance. Life, writing itself anew.
Autobiography marks the first piece McGregor will create in his own recently opened space, Studio Wayne McGregor. Located in the heart of technology and media centre Here East, the space embodies McGregor’s life-long interest in research and collaboration with science and technology research, and will be his centre for experimental creative projects in biology and genetics, AI, VR and new technologies.
For Autobiography, McGregor’s creative team includes set design by London-based visual artist and designer Ben Cullen Williams. His work explores the boundaries between art and architecture and his distinctive aesthetic, in a range of mediums from sculpture, installation, photography to film, crossing boundaries between disciplines. Music is by electronic musician Jlin, a former steel mill worker from Gary, Indiana, credited with bringing a unique sound to the Chicago-born footwork genre. She began producing music in 2008, and followed up her stand out 2015 debut album Dark Energy with the critically acclaimed Black Origami in 2017. Lighting is by long-standing collaborator and award-winning lighting designer Lucy Carter, who won the Knight of Illumination Award for Dance for Chroma (2008) and Woolf Works (2015), McGregor’s works for The Royal Ballet, where he serves as Resident Choreographer. Most recently Carter designed the lighting for McGregor’s immersive art installation and dance performances +/- Human at the Roundhouse. Costumes have been created by artist and designer Aitor Throup, renowned for his work exploring the human anatomy through rich conceptual narratives. His debut runway show in 2016 for his own clothing label New Object Research received critical acclaim for breaking the boundaries of the standard catwalk format featuring life-size articulated puppets instead of models. In addition to running his own multi-disciplinary design house A.T. Studio, Throup is the executive creative director of G-Star RAW. Dramaturgy is by writer and director Uzma Hameed, who has previously collaborated with McGregor as dramaturg on Woolf Works, Obsidian Tear and Multiverse, all for the Royal Ballet. Autobiography is her first collaboration with Company Wayne McGregor.
Music by Jlin in partnership with UnSound.
Science partner - Wellcome Genome Campus.
With thanks to A.T. Studio.
Co-produced by Studio Wayne McGregor; Sadler’s Wells, London, UK; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg; Edinburgh International Festival, UK; Festspielhaus St Pölten, Austria; Carolina Performing Arts at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA; Movimentos Festwochen der Autostadt in Wolfsberg, Germany.
Co-commissioned by West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong; Festival Diaghilev. P.S., St Petersburg, Russia; Centro Cultural Vila Flor, Guimarães, Portugal; Seattle Theatre Group, USA (music); Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, UK.