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Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK announce Pete Townshend’s ‘Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet’

Paris Fitzpatrick (second left) and Pete Townshend (centre) for 'Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet'. Photo by Johan Persson.
Paris Fitzpatrick (second left) and Pete Townshend (centre) for 'Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet'. Photo by Johan Persson.

Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK are delighted to announce the world premiere of Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet.

In 1973, guitar smashing rock genius Pete Townshend wrote Quadrophenia. Recorded by The Who, it quickly became an iconic and multi-million selling album. Quadrophenia defined a generation and in 1979, inspired the cult classic feature film of the same name.

Now it’s back – this time as an explosive dance production – Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet – with a cast of exceptional dancers, introducing new audiences to troubled mod Jimmy’s story while remaining true in spirit to the much-loved original. Quadrophenia is steeped in the mythology of the 1960s – sharp suits, soul music, vespas and parkas but its themes of lost youth, rebellion, the search for belonging and hunger for social change are just as urgent today.

Quadrophenia, a Mod Ballet will tour to Plymouth Theatre Royal (28 May – 1 June 2025), Edinburgh Festival Theatre (10 – 14 June 2025) and the Mayflower, Southampton (18 – 21 June 2025) before having its official opening at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London (24 June – 13 July 2025) and then visiting The Lowry, Salford (15 – 19 July 2025).

A rich, 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 is the backdrop for this brand new production. 

Choreographer Paul Roberts and Director Rob Ashford bring together some of the UK’s finest creative talent from the worlds of music, theatre, film and dance. With original costumes by renowned British fashion house Paul Smith and Natalie Pryce, projection by Nick Hillel and lighting design by Fabiana Piccioli. The creative team bring new dimensions to the raw energy and emotion of one of the UK’s most iconic rock albums.

Rising star Paris Fitzpatrick will perform the iconic lead role of Jimmy. Paris won Outstanding Male Modern Performance for his Romeo in New Adventures’ recent production of Romeo and Juliet at the National Dance Awards earlier this month.

Pete Townshend said, “Quadrophenia is the only Who album that I solely composed and produced (1973), and the movie that followed in 1979 launched the careers of some of the finest young actors of the time. 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.”

Sir Alistair Spalding CBE, Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Sadler’s Wells, said, “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 and 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.”

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.”

Paul Roberts said, “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. 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. 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.”

For more information, visit modballet.com.

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