Going Out | SS Great Britain to 'set sail' virtually

A unique multimedia attraction will bring the ocean back to the SS Great Britain again

The Limbic Cinema will transform the dry dock surrounding the SS Great Britain into a huge digital projection theatre, filled with ‘the energy of the oceans’ from 23 August until 19 September 2021.

For the first time in 50 years, the sights, sounds and movement of a living sea will surround the ship’s hull. The dry dock will be transformed into a huge digital projection theatre, filled with the energy of the world’s underwater oceans.

Speakers set within the dry dock will resonate with music and sounds of the ocean, with an original score composed by Joe Acheson (Hidden Orchestra).

Performance poet Saili Katebe, a writer and performer based in South West England, has written a new spoken word piece for this installation, which leads the narrative. Having undertaken two residencies previously at Brunel’s SS Great Britain, Saili’s creative response explores themes of invention, discovery, migration and freedom.

Multi-sensory experience

Descend under the glass sea and walk around the iron hull, becoming immersed in the multi-sensory storytelling as you reach the bow. Set in three acts – ‘departure’, ‘storm’ and ‘icefield’ – you will be taken on a journey that sets off across the ocean, and will encounter various sea life before a storm has the ship rising and falling in the waves with thunder and lightning all around.

Glowing icebergs signal a more reflective pace as the ship navigates carefully through an icefield. Events depicted through the storytelling are developed from passenger diaries, providing a real sense of revisiting the ship’s long and dramatic history.

Image credit Mo Malik

On 2 September, you can book a ‘museum late’ to see Iron Island and explore the ship ‘after hours’. Pop-up bars will offer an exclusive Iron Island cocktail, prosecco and full bar.

Saili Katebe said: “The ship carried thousands of people to America and Australia – many of them leaving home forever. She still bears the cargo of their stories – so much hope, fear and ambition. I imagined the ship as an island made of iron, something which stays strong even in the upheaval of change and challenge.”

Entry is included with admission to Brunel’s SS Great Britain. For information, please visit

Main image credit: SS Great Britain – from dockyard – David Noton
Share this Post:

More Posts: