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News - Rambert Presents the World Premiere of Life is a Dream

Monday, May 21, 2018
Britain’s leading contemporary dance company presents the world premiere of Life is a Dream at Sadler’s Wells this week with music by the Polish composer Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994), one of the major figures of 20th-century avant-garde music.

Choreographed by two-time Olivier Award-winner Kim Brandstrup in collaboration with legendary filmmakers the Quay Brothers, Life is a Dream is a two-act, modern reimagining of the 17th-century play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Following its run at Sadler’s Wells, Life is a Dream will feature at the Bergen International Festival in June 2018 before touring the UK and internationally to 2019.

The Rambert Orchestra will perform the music by Lutosławski which includes his folk-inspired Dance Preludes, Musique Funèbre written in memory of Bela Bartok, and Chain II, a thrilling violin concerto. The second act is set to Lutosławski’s Symphony no. 4, a piece often described as a summation of his life’s work. Life is a Dream also features recordings of 1950s pop songs, fox-trots and tangos by "Derwid", Lutosławski’s pseudonym and post-war alter ego.

Choreographer Kim Brandstrup says 

‘What I find in Lutoslawski’s music is beautiful, and there’s an emotional line running through it that’s almost like speech. … It’s not rhythmically tight and precise like Stravinsky, for example, but it’s incredibly emotional music that’s never sentimental.’ (The Times on 17 May, 2018)

Life is A Dream is commissioned by Bergen International Festival and is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute / Polska Music, Cockayne Grants for the Arts – a donor advised fund of The London Community Foundation, and Arts Council England.

For more information, please visit

Choreography Kim Brandstrup
Design Quay Brothers
Music Witold Lutosławski
Lighting design Jean Kalman
Costumes Holly Waddington
Dramaturg Willem Bruls
Projection consultant Jonathon Lyle
Sound design Ian Dearden
Based on the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca


Sadler’s Wells, London
Preview performance Tuesday 22 May, 7.30pm
Premiere Wednesday 23 May, 7.30pm
Tickets £10 - £45 | 020 7863 8000

Bergen International Festival, Norway
Wed 6 Jun | +47 55 21 06 30

UK Tour

Norwich Theatre Royal
Thu 27 – Fri 28 Sep

Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Mon 1 – Tue 2 Oct | 01492 872 000

The Lowry, Salford
Wed 10 – Sat 13 Oct | 0843 208 6000

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Thu 22 – Sat 24 Nov | 0131 529 6000

Theatre Royal Plymouth
Mon 26 – Sat 1 Nov | 01752 267 222

Theatre Royal Glasgow
Thu 14 – Sat 16 Feb 2019 | 0844 871 7647

Eden Court, Inverness
Thu 21 – Fri 22 Feb 2019 | 01463 234 234

Curve Theatre, Leicester
Tue 26 – Thu 28 Feb 2019 | 0116 242 3595

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