Bacchae: Prelude to a Purge

Marlene Monteiro Freitas

Cape Verde

18 – 19 Jun

Sadler's Wells, London

Prices from: £22.00


Venue is fully accessible with accessible parking.


Image Credit © Laurent Philippe

18th June-

Post-show talk
BSL interpreted post-show talk on Tuesday 18 June, with Kris Nelson artistic director of LIFT and members of the creative team

A raucous and absurd carnival processes onstage to the sounds of Brazilian funk, clown antics, pop, and Ravel’s Boléro.

In this wildly delirious work, Cape Verdean-born, Lisbon-based choreographer and performance artist Marlene Monteiro Freitas dares you to traverse the order and wild chaos of Euripides—and ultimately, the depths of the human psyche.

In 2017, Marlene was acknowledged by the government of Cape Verde for her cultural achievement. In 2018, she created Canine Jaunâtre 3 for Batsheva Dance Company and was awarded the Silver Lion award for dance at the Venice Biennale.


Did you know?


Originally created for a ballet and with influences from jazz, Boléro is a repetitive orchestral crescendo composed by Maurice Ravel. While you might not know the name, you’re very likely to have heard this music before. The piece was a universal success when it was released in 1928. It has been described as, “a sinuous and sexy composition with ‘no music in it’”.

Euripides was a famous playwright in Ancient Greece. He wrote a play called The Bacchae, a tragedy based on a Greek myth about the punishment of a king and his mother by the god Dionysus. Also known as Bacchus to the Romans, Dionysus was Greek god of fertility and later came to be god of wine and pleasure. His followers were known as the Bacchae and they often celebrated together in wild, raucous gatherings.


Five trumpeters and eight dancers scream, sing, and don masks, eventually joining in a mad, mesmerizing rendition of Ravel’s Boléro. Half carnival, half decadent variety show, this seductive “Bacchae” embodies the Dionysian spirit that drives the play, dark side and all.
— Marina Harss


Presented by Sadler’s Wells and LIFT

Choreography by Marlene Monteiro Freitas
Set and lighting design by Yannick Fouassier
Sound design by Tiago Cerqueira
Produced by P.OR.K (Lisbon, PT)

Sadler's Wells