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★★★★★ The Times
‘When Shobana Jeyasingh is firing on all cylinders there is hardly another UK choreographer who can touch her.’

★★★★★ Culture Whisper
‘Shobana Jeyasingh’s fierce intelligence and outstanding ability to tell a story and convey emotions through her meticulous choreography.’

★★★★★ Broadway World
‘Contagion is sharp and precise, but also imaginatively inventive’

★★★★★ Broadway World 
★★★★ Guardian
★★★★ Evening Standard
★★★★ DanceTabs

Contagion is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Contagion commemorates the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed more people than the First World War itself. The piece is inspired by the nature and spread of the flu virus, the unseen enemy that mankind was battling within, while engaging in more conventional warfare in the world outside. The striking work of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele, who fell victim to the Spanish flu, forms a visual footnote to the piece.

Set to an atmospheric soundscape, this dance installation with digital visuals echoes the scientific features of a virus – rapid, random and constantly shape-shifting. Eight female dancers contort and mutate as they explore both the resilience and the vulnerability of the human body.

This is a standing performance presented in unusual venues, many with connections to the First World War.

The work will be accompanied by an innovative learning programme, bringing the public closer to a subject that remains relevant today.



Watch the live streamed performance from The Great Hall, Winchester


Spanish Flu Now

What would Spanish Flu look like if it happened now? We’ve created six characters caught up in this new pandemic. Each story has foundations in historical truths but is reimagined for today. Follow the stories here. 

Gymnasium Gallery, Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sat 15 Sept: 1pm, 3.30pm, 6pm
Sun 16 Sept: 1pm, 3.30pm
The Great Hall, Winchester
Sat 22 Sept: 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm
Sun 23 Sept: 11am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm Live Stream
Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich
Fri 5 Oct: 7.30pm
St Gabriel’s Church Hall, Sunderland
Thu 18 Oct: 2pm, 6pm
Fri 19 Oct: 2pm, 6pm
Imperial War Museum North
as part of Manchester Science Festival
Sun 21 Oct: 12pm, 2.30pm
British Library, London
2 Nov: 6.30pm (Sold Out), 9pm (Sold Out)
3 Nov: 6pm (Sold Out), 8.30pm (Available)

Suitable for ages 12+

'Vivid, moving and stunningly stylised'

The Times

'A moving act of remembrance.'

Evening Standard

'The body's feverish battleground'


Watch the trailer

Creative Team

Shobana Jeyasingh / Concept, Choreography & Direction Merle Hensel / Set & Costume Design Yaron Abulafia / Lighting Design Nina Dunn / Video Design Graeme Miller / Composer


Avatâra Ayuso Catarina Carvalho Vânia Doutel Vaz Sunbee Han Rachel Maybank Estela Merlos Emily Pottage Ruth Voon


Homepage photo by Chris Nash. Production images by Jane Hobson.

Research and development photography and footage taken at Studio Wayne McGregor

Digital partner Flying Object

Contagion is co-commissioned by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Supported by The Deborah Loeb Brice Donor Advised Fund at CAF America, Garcia Family Foundation, Dr Michael and Anna Brynberg Charitable Foundation, The Mila Charitable Organisation, Oak Foundation, Wellcome and our Creative Circle supporters.

Research and development photos taken by Foteini Christofilopoulou

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