21 October 2018

12pm and 2.30pm

IWM North

Main Exhibition Space

Free event

No booking required
A dancer, part of Contagion which will be performed by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance at IWM North on 21 October 2018.
Photograph: Jane Hobson
★★★★★ 'Vivid, moving and stunningly stylised' The Times

2018 marks the end of the centenary of First World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic, one of the deadliest episodes in human history.

Contagion is a brand-new dance piece co-commissioned by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance and 14-18 NOW, reflecting on the First World War and the devastating effect of pandemics. Performed in the spectacular setting of IWM North, the choreography and design of this piece will consider the parallel warfare of human vs human, and virus vs human.

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 humankind 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.

Discover a lesser known story of the First World War and the impact felt long after the guns fell silent.

Further Information

  • Contagion: A Closer Look

    21 October, 1-2pm


    Hear from Shobana Jeyasingh and Professor Jon Oxford, leader in the field of vaccine and anti-viral clinical trials, to find out more about the Spanish Flu and its influence on choreography and audiovisual experience in Contagion.


    Meet 12.45pm at IWM North and walk to Ziferblat, MediaCityUK. Free, no booking required.


    Suitable for adults and families 12+

  • Performances

    Performances will be at 12pm and 2.30pm with each one lasting approx. 30 minutes. This is a free, drop-in event so no booking is required.

Contagion forms part of our Making A New World season, a programme of innovative exhibitions, installations and events taking place across IWM North and IWM London. The season explores themes of remembrance and how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.

Contagion is part of Manchester Science Festival 2018. The largest science festival of its type in the country, it puts science at the heart of culture, finding creative ways to communicate science to audiences of all ages.

Contagion is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, supported by Wellcome, Oak Foundation and the Deborah Loeb Brice Donor Advised Fund at CAF America.


Contagion at IWM North has the following partners: Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, 14-18 NOW, Wellcome, The National Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and First World War Centenary led by IWM.

Making A New World

Making A New World

Our season explores how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today through a programme of free exhibitions, alongside immersive live music, performance and public debates.
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Exterior photograph of IWM North
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IWM North
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