Black Waters

Premiered February 2020

We regret to announce that due to the ongoing situation around Coronavirus (COVID-19), our tour of Black Waters has been suspended, in line with government guidance. The individual venues have contacted customers about ticket refunds. This is an unprecedented situation for us all, however, we hope to be back with you as soon as it is safe to do so. We are working closely with our partner venues to reschedule performances, and will provide you with an update about this as soon as we can.

Phoenix Dance Theatre is a registered charity. For over three decades, we have performed, educated and inspired people across the globe, some of whom have never experienced contemporary dance before. This is difficult and unprecedented time for the company, and the sector as a whole. As such, we would be extremely grateful for any donations you could make to the company. Whether its £1 or £100, either as a one-off gift or a regular annual commitment, all donations are gratefully received. Please head to this page for more information about ways you can support us.

In the meantime, stay safe and take care.

About Black Waters:

In the late 18th century, the owners of the Zong ship attempted to claim insurance on the lives of the 130 African slaves that they threw overboard. Over 100 years later the Kala Pani prison was used by British colonial forces to incarcerate Indian freedom fighters who spoke out against the regime.

Inspired by these two narratives – Black Waters presents audiences with a wider exploration of how British colonial forces commodified people for gain, and as a consequence, saw a blending of cultures and the birth of fragmented identities for whom home has always remained a contested space.

Black Waters sees Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sharon Watson co-choreograph for the first time with the Artistic Directors of Kolkata-based, Rhythmosaic, Shambik Ghose and Dr Mitul Sengupta in a fusion of western contemporary dance movement and classical kathak Indian dance.

Sharon Watson said, “Black Waters is not about recreating these two events through contemporary dance, but is an exploration of place, worth and belonging, which can often be conflicting for people of colour.

Placing multiculturalism at its heart, the piece is an emotionally evocative and culturally relevant production, which shows how from despair, people find value, inspiration and hope.



“This is a thrilling and intense piece of dance theatre which is at once accessible as well as secretive and obscure”

— Rich Pickings

“Congratulations to artistic director Sharon Watson and the choreographers, costume and lighting designers for another clear illumination of our rich, shared cultural history”

— The Yorkshire Times

“The company’s athletic dancers make complex physical partner work look effortless”

— The Reviews Hub

“Incredibly moving, visceral and honest, the whole thing is quite literally, breath-taking”

— The Yorkshire Post

“anguished and marvellously nuanced”

— The Guardian