We did it
On 21st April 2017 we successfully raised £29,860 with 41 supporters in 35 days

An ambitious new project by Alexander Whitley Dance Company bringing together space science and the contemporary arts

by Alexander Whitley Dance Company in London, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We’d like to extend a huge and heartfelt thank you to all our supporters.  The artists and project team are all thrilled to receive so many great donations and to have reached our target of £25,000.  Your generosity also releases the donation from Nesta and Arts Council England which is wonderful news.

But let’s not stop there.  We would love to make 8 Minutes even better, bigger and brighter, and so have set ourselves a new target of £30,000.  With more funds we can extend our work to more schools, host more family workshops at the theatres we perform in, and have more time in the studio to work together to create an amazing production.

Let’s see if we can make that happen. 


It takes light only 8 Minutes to travel the 93 million miles that separates the earth from the sun. Taking inspiration from this and other awe-inspiring aspects of solar science, choreographer Alexander Whitley is working in partnership with STFC RAL Space, one of the world’s leading space research facilities, to create a new dance production and associated Creative Learning Programme, illuminating our relationship with the star that gives us life.  

Our first major dance work for the world renowned Sadler’s Wells Theatre main stage, 8 Minutes will use movement, film and music to investigate a subject which can’t help but ignite the imagination.


Since 2014, Alexander Whitley Dance Company has combined movement and digital technology to push the boundaries of contemporary dance. We are a small registered charity and to realise this project we need support from a variety of sources: commissioning funds, performance fees, Arts Council England project funding, grants from trusts and foundations, in-kind support from partner organisations and donations from people like you.

The creation phase of the project begins in May. Your investment now, will:

  • Afford Alexander more time and space to work with 7 dancers,
  • Enable us to hire a large LED wall so that we can present the solar images with maximum impact,
  • Contribute to the costs of musicians and recording time for the music score,
  • Provide interactive equipment and learning tools for the Creative Learning Programme,
  • Support artists’ fees for delivering workshops to families.

“Whitley, the 33-year-old dancer-turned-choreographer whom everyone in the dance world is putting their money on right now.” Evening Standard

Photo Johan Persson, image Joe Walkling


"The scientist must represent the truth, as they see it, with no latitude to add their subjective opinion, leaving them to find the raw patterns within life, the stars and the cosmos. The artist can provide us with an interpretation that can bring that science to life, show meaning to those that are untrained and provide insight into the way that humanity understands and interacts with their surroundings.” Dr Hugh Mortimer, Research Scientist at STFC RAL Space and 8 Minutes collaborator

The production features a score by electroacoustic innovator Daniel Wohl, one of his generation’s "imaginative, skillful creators" (The New York Times) and high-definition imagery from BAFTA award-winning visual artist Tal Rosner.  Following the world premiere at Sadler’s Wells Theatre 27 & 28 June, 8 Minutes will tour the UK. We’ve launched this Crowdfunder campaign to raise the remaining funds needed to bring 8 Minutes to life.  With your help, this project will bring a fascinating perspective on space science to new audiences.

“Alexander Whitley creates not only beautiful and interesting forms of movement, but conceives choreography as the embodiment of an intellectual pursuit.  His work is of particular interest and significance for the way in which it engages with contemporary thinking and current issues.” Alistair Spalding, Artistic Director, Sadler’s Wells Theatre


We want to make both solar science and dance engaging and accessible to people all over the country.

The 8 Minutes Creative Learning Programme is premised on the idea that learning through movement can help people understand scientific concepts and information by exploring it through the body, and that learning about science through the arts, can spark deeper understanding and engagement by more people. This project will promote a deeper understanding of movement and its ability to draw together fields as diverse as choreography and physics.

The programme includes offerings for Key Stage 2 Primary School children, workshops for families and classes for dance students and professionals. We’ve also developed a freely available website with resources for children, educators and the public.


Any donation, big or small, will help us to move audiences, inspire teachers, engage children and ignite imaginations across the country.

“Contemplating the enormous scales and forces of space science, as I have learnt researching this project, requires a pretty huge effort of the imagination and inspires a different perspective on the world we are familiar with. The theatre, too, is a place in which our imaginations are activated, a blank canvas where new worlds can be created, where things transform and possibilities extend beyond the everyday. 

The parallels here are what got me so excited about making 8 Minutes. Space science is a fascinating and awe-inspiring subject matter to learn about and has filled me with a sense of wonder, which I hope to bring to the stage in this dance production, stimulating people’s imaginations in the way mine has been.” Alexander Whitley, Artistic Director and Choreographer


8 Minutes is a Sadler’s Wells commission and a DanceEast and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance co-commission. We would also like to thank Arts Council England, The Point Eastleigh, Music Sales Group, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Studio Wayne McGregor, Platform Theatre Central Saint Martins, Jerwood Space, Rambert, NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts. Alexander Whitley is a New Wave Associate at Sadler’s Wells supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. 

This project has been approved for funding through the Artists + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 50% towards its fundraising target from Arts Council England.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£25 or more

£25 Reward

You will be listed as a supporter of 8 Minutes on our website and social media channels

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Receive a limited edition 8 Minutes A3 poster signed by the artists

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Receive a signed CD of composer Daniel Wohl’s music

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Receive a signed copy of the front page of the score of Daniel Wohl’s music for 8 Minutes

£100 or more

0 of 20 claimed

£100 Reward

Receive a limited edition signed print of Tal Rosner’s space imagery for 8 Minutes

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Receive two tickets to a performance of 8 Minutes at Sadler’s Wells and an invitation to watch an open rehearsal with the artists and dancers in Central London.

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Receive one ticket to the premiere of 8 Minutes at Sadler’s Wells, an invitation to the pre-show reception and the post show party with the artists, lead scientist and dancers, and an invitation to watch an open rehearsal with the artists and dancers in Central London.

£1,000 or more

1 of 5 claimed

£1,000 Reward

AWDC will arrange you to tour RAL Space at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire with lead research scientist Dr Hugh Mortimer. You will also receive an invitation to watch an open rehearsal with the artists and dancers in Central London.

£1,000 or more

0 of 10 claimed

£1,000 Reward

Receive two tickets to the premiere of 8 Minutes at Sadler’s Wells, an invitation to a pre-show reception and a post show party with the artists, lead scientist and dancers and an exclusive invitation to the dress rehearsal at Sadler’s Wells.

£2,500 or more

2 of 5 claimed

£2,500 Reward

Receive two tickets to the premiere at Sadler’s Wells, an invitation to a pre-show reception and a post show party with the artists, lead scientist and dancers. We will also arrange for you to have tea with the creative team.

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