ENB performs Akram Khan's Creature

Published: 21 June 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber

Akram Khan and Jeffrey Cirio rehearse Creature Credit: Laurent Liotardo

English National Ballet’s world premiere of Creature by Akram Khan will take place at Sadler’s Wells, London, from 23 September to 2 October 2021.

Creature is inspired by Georg Büchner’s expressionist play Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Drawing on themes of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind, Creature is the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging.

Khan said, “The COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK just weeks before Creature was due to première in London last April and the final stages of our creation and rehearsal process were brought to an abrupt halt as the country went into lockdown. On returning to the studio, I’ve brought the experiences of the last year with me, drawing on themes of isolation, mental health, and patriarchal systems… and within that, I am exploring our very destructive nature of wanting to control everything… man-made systems, nature, animals, fellow humans, our future, and even our past… we want to control it all. And what I am realising is that you can’t control a living thing, without destroying what’s alive about them.”

Khan is joined by a creative team comprising designer Tim Yip, composer and sound designer Vincenzo Lamagna, lighting designer Michael Hulls and dramaturg Ruth Little.

Creature is Akram Khan’s third collaboration with English National Ballet and follows the success of Dust (performed as part of Lest We Forget in 2014), and Giselle, Khan’s first full-length ballet.

The postponed international première of Creature will take place at Chicago’s Joan W and Irving B Harris Theater 24–26 February 2022.