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Following his Olivier Award in 2019 for Outstanding Achievement in Dance, Akram Khan returns to the stage, alongside five world-class musicians, in XENOS – “a work of defining greatness, and a fitting farewell to a stage career that has illuminated British dance” (★★★★★ The Observer).


Shifting between classical kathak and contemporary dance, Khan conjures the shell-shocked dream of a colonial soldier in the First World War. Meaning ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’, XENOS takes place where humanity stands in wonder and disarray, on the border between East and West, past and present, mythology and technology.

A stellar creative team joins the journey, including fellow Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist lighting designer Michael Hulls, dramaturg Ruth Little, playwright Jordan Tannahill, designer Mirella Weingarten, costumier Kimie Nakano and composer Vincenzo Lamagna.


"Lit from within, the brass horn moves of its own accord shining its beam like a searchlight. It reminded my of the Pixar animated desk lamp – a rare moment of levity in a dark piece.

Lighting designer Michael Hulls doesn’t light the stage so much as irradiate it. Cool greens and pinks shine like marble as a silhouetted Khan turns into a living shadow puppet; the light morphs from the rusting, autumnal colours of battle fire, the heat of molten lava into the red rock dust of the Sedona desert as Khan moves into the final stages"

– Neil Norman, The Stage

"the lighting provided by a makeshift tangle of wires and bulbs that references the trenches as well as Indian wedding decorations (lighting design is by Michael Hulls, to whom unstinting praise)"

– Luke Jennings, The Guardian

"Michael Hulls ’s superb lighting takes on a crueller edge"

– Mark Monahan, The Telegraph


Artistic Director/Choreographer/Performer

Akram Khan


Ruth Little

Lighting Designer

Michael Hulls

Original Score and Sound Design

Vincenzo Lamagna

Set Designer

Mirella Weingarten

Costume Designer

Kimie Nakano


Jordan Tannahill

Rehearsal Directors

Mavin Khoo and Nicola Monaco


Jean Louis Fernandez

World Premiere 21st February 2018, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens

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