The Great Thames Disaster
About the project
On the evening of the 3rd September 1878, The Princess Alice paddle steamer was returning to London, loaded with tired yet jovial passengers who had enjoyed a day trip to Sheerness. As dusk settled the day-trippers were blissfully unaware of their terrible fate. When The Princess Alice approached Woolwich, the paddle steamer collided with a large cargo ship, causing her to rapidly sink to the bottom of the Thames. Hundreds of people lost their lives in the accident making it Britain's most tragic peacetime disaster. Despite this huge loss of life and the long term impact it had on Britain's waterways, this piece of local history appears forgotten...
DFDC's most ambitious location was on board LV21, a light vessel ship transformed into an arts venue.
In 2018, 140 years later, Daisy Farris Dance Collective (DFDC), toured The Great Thames Disaster, following the route The Princess Alice took along the Thames. Capturing the hearts and minds of audiences, the show uses contemporary dance and physical theatre to reimagine this lost piece of history. In each location, DFDC worked with local young people to involve them in the performances in their hometown.
Performances took place in unusual locations and venues brining dance into communities along the Thames. DFDC's most ambitious location was on board LV21, a light vessel ship transformed into an arts venue. The Great Thames Disaster took over the ship in a site-specific, promenade style performance; audiences were welcomed on board and immersed in the story as it unfolded in unexpected locations. DFDC collaborated with visual artist, Nicola Flower, who created an immersive installation. Nicola's hauting and beautiful work took over the hull of the ship and was inspired by the aftermath of the disaster.
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Research and development
In 2017 DFDC undertook a research and development project. Working in partnership with the National Maritime Museum, Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust and Greenwich Dance, DFDC explored how history can be reimagined using dance and physical theatre.
The project also investigated how an extended community cast can be integrated into the performance.
The workshops
То book a workshop or for more details contact Daisy Farris:
All workshops are available as one-off workshops or a longer project over several weeks with a performance at the end.
Primary Schools
Secondary Schools
University Students
Community Groups
Primary Schools
"I like dancing and when you learn about something new as well, like The Princess Alice, I find it fun!"
Saola, participant, Research and Development Project 2017
  • Fun and inclusive dance/ movement workshop.
  • Children will explore storytelling and characters through movement and physical theatre.
  • Curriculum topic links- Local History and Victorians.
  • Suitable for KS2.
Secondary Schools
"'s very immersive and very fun to do..."
Millie, student performer, 2018 tour
  • Students will be taught about the historical content and encouraged to develop their own creative responses through a series of group tasks.
  • Workshops are inclusive with a movement/ physical theatre focus.
  • Curriculum links (KS4): history, English language (developing stories), dance, drama
University Students
"...I came in and realised what you can do in a short space of time, about how you can create a character within movement"
Jack, student at University of the Creative Arts Acting, 2018 tour workshops
  • Students will be taught key skills in movement and devising as well as encouraged to develop their own creative response through improvisation and creative tasks.
  • Suitable for students on full-time Dance or Acting courses.
  • Workshops focus on using physical theatre to devise characters and develop a narrative.
  • Available as a one-off workshop or multiple session integrated into the course unit
Community Groups
"As we moved here quite recently to Greenwich, I really enjoyed meeting new people"
Monika, participant, Research and Development Project 2017
  • Fun and inclusive workshops suitable for participants of any age or ability.
  • Workshops focus on developing confidence and creativity through movement and physical theatre.
  • Collaborative approach brings people together across communities.
  • Suitable for the whole family
The company
Established in 2013, Daisy Farris Dance Collective creates contemporary dance work that holds collaboration and participation at its heart. DFDC proudly brings together artists from across disciplines under the artistic direction of Daisy Farris. Daisy works closely with both dancers and collaborators, regarding each individual as an essential part of the creative team.
Our partners
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