Contagion - 14-18 NOW
14-18 NOW / What's On / Contagion
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance


National tour

Image credit: Design by Spy Studio Original photo by Chris Nash

The casualty count of the First World War was immense – but it came to be dwarfed by the deadly Spanish flu pandemic that swept through the world during the conflict’s final year. The virulent flu strain that emerged in 1918 infected up to 500 million people around the globe, its effects dramatically amplified by huge wartime troop movements. It eventually killed as much as five per cent of the world’s population.

Contagion, a powerful new work from leading choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, is inspired by the nature and rapid spread of the flu virus – the unseen enemy that mankind was battling, while engaging in more conventional warfare in the world outside. The striking work of the Austrian artist Egon Schiele, one of many who fell victim to the Spanish flu, forms a visual footnote to the piece.

Set to an atmospheric soundscape and presented in promenade style with striking digital visuals, Contagion is presented in unusual venues, many with connections to the First World War. The work is accompanied by an innovative digital amplification and learning and engagement programme, bringing the public closer to a subject that remains relevant today.

Co-commisioned by 14-18 NOW and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, supported by Wellcome, Oak Foundation and the Deborah Loeb Brice Donor Advised Fund at CAF America

You May Also Like



London / Edinburgh

Akram Khan, the revered British dancer-choreographer, tells a moving tale of an Indian colonial soldier at war in his last ever solo performances.

Not Yet At Ease

Raqs Media Collective Not Yet At Ease

Free Colchester

An immersive artwork featuring innovative video and sound installations, inspired by letters written home by soldiers during wartime.

To Fight

Blast Theory To Fight

UK Wide

An extraordinary interactive film exploring the reasons why some individuals refuse conscription and choose to remain at home during wartime.

Great & Tiny War

Bobby Baker Great & Tiny War


Reimagining everyday life during wartime, Baker invites us on a tour of a transformed house in this immersive multimedia installation.


Don’t Miss Out

Join the mailing list

Be the first to hear about our programme and event news.

For more information about how we collect, store and use your personal information, please see our Privacy Policy