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An interview with dance icon Marc Brew

We had a chat with Marc Brew to discuss representation on stage and how his disability has informed his creative process with his show an Accident / a Life.


  • Dance

Dance icon Marc Brew is starring in a landmark production, an Accident/a Life, at Norwich Theatre Royal. We had a chat with Marc to discuss the show, representation on stage and how he uses his craft to exercise kindness.  

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

My name is Marc Brew, and I am a disabled dancer and choreographer. I trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. I have been working Internationally for over 25 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker. I was Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theatre, Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales, Associate Artist at Tramway in Scotland and Artistic Director of AXIS Dance Company 2017-2021. Since 2008, I have been dedicating time to my own choreography with Marc Brew Company. 

What should audiences expect when coming to see an Accident / a Life? 

It is a very immersive theatrical experience that takes the audience on a powerful journey through the use of storytelling, film, music, dance, and a car. Both Larbi and myself wanted to look in the difficult places to bring out new art-work. By exposing vulnerability it opens up true exchanges. With the wisdom of the age and distance I have now – it is possible to play with my own story and go in and out. Not all of the piece is autobiographical, and we wanted it to challenge people’s assumptions – People have assumptions about who you are and how your bodies behave, so there must be a story. Having space in the piece to do that is exciting. 

Describe the show in three words. 

Powerful, Emotive, Life-affirming. 

What is working with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui like? 

It’s been a wonderful, challenging, and exhilarating experience collaborating with Larbi. He has pushed me to unfamiliar places and guided me with care and respect to delve deep into my physicality and emotional being to share my lived experience. We first met over Zoom (during the pandemic), and our starting point was sharing life stories and key moments of change. For me, this was his car accident, where I went from ballet dancer to paraplegic in a split second.   

How we related to each other’s experiences – led us to storytelling. As a creator who is not really used to narrative, Larbi’s expertise really helped me in storytelling and exploring different options and possibilities. 

Why would you create a piece about a life-changing moment like this? 

Good question; I don’t think I would have if it hadn’t been for the collaboration, support and guidance of Larbi. Over the years, I have shared my story, but I never thought I would ever make a work about that day. My life changed in the blink of an eye as a result of a car accident. I honestly didn’t think my story was worthy enough, and it wasn’t until meeting Larbi and our encounters of sharing our stories that this part of my life came to the forefront of our exploration, and the journey began. Larbi guided and supported me with care to make this work together and to give it the space and time that it needed. I am very grateful to all my team members who have helped us realise the vision and bring this work to the stage. 

Has the creative process changed since the accident? 

Yes, my disability has informed my creative process and my interest in exploring movement potential and how, through restriction, we create new possibilities. 

Is it important to see representation on stage? 

For me, it’s important that we have role models and that our art represents the society we live in. Disabled artists and other underrepresented minority groups should be centre-front on our stages, but there is still a box-ticking and no action. Representation matters. As an example, I have had young disabled people who have seen me perform and afterwards have told me, “I didn’t think it was possible for me to be a dancer, but now that I have seen you, I know it’s possible”.  

How can you tell a story without words? 

I believe we have created a new work of art and storytelling through the multiple layers of dance, storytelling, sound, music, live camera feed, visual media projected onto LED screens, captions, audio description and, of course, a car. Dance expresses and communicates with the body with emotion, and we all have a body, which is why I feel dance has such a strong connection with people; in telling stories, it doesn’t always have to be literal; also, how we can play with how we deliver a story and its meaning through the emotional and physical journey of the performer/s.  

This season, we are exploring kindness through creativity. How do you use your craft to exercise kindness to yourself and others? 

I create space and time for people to be in a supportive environment to express through their bodies the joy of dance. 

an Accident/ a Life is at Norwich Theatre Royal on 24 & 25 May. For more information or to book, visit or call the Box Office on 01603 630 000. 

Book now!