This weekend (Friday 21 & Saturday 22 September) sees the final two performances of The Great Thames Disaster by Daisy Farris Dance Collective at Boathouse Creative Studios in Barking.

In this blog, Ideas Test volunteer Lauren Wright reviews the dance piece when it was performed at The Sheppey Promenade Festival this summer.

Photo: Lauren Wright

On Saturday 28 July 2018 the Daisy Farris Dance Collective performed ‘The Great Thames Disaster’, during the Sheppey Promenade Festival. The story was brought to life through dance and physical theatre.

The sun was shining, much in the same way that it may have been on 3 September 1878, the day that the SS Princess Alice was returning from London to Sheerness. However, tragedy unfolded as the Princess Alice collided with the Bywell Castle, a large cargo ship. Chaos and carnage ensued, and The Princess Alice sank to the bottom of the river Thames.

Photo: Lauren Wright

As I watched the performance, I was able to envisage the jovial and light-hearted atmosphere on board. I felt hopeful and I wondered about the lives of the people on board.

It is estimated that around 600 people lost their lives during the Great Thames Disaster. I was able to bear witness to this loss of life – the story eloquently told in a way that was both engaging and inspiring. I found the piece captivating and entertaining.

Photo: Lauren Wright

The Collective worked together to creatively portray the disaster that unravelled that fateful day, giving a new perspective on an important historical event. It was evident that collaboration was at the heart of the performance, the choreography was uplifting and immersive.

The performance was followed by a family-friendly dance workshop. The workshop was fun and inspiring. I left feeling energised and refreshed!

Further information about the Daisy Farris Dance Collective can be found on their website at


By Lauren Wright


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