5 Questions to Mark Bruce about his latest dance-theatre work – Macbeth

Mark Bruce.<br />© Mark Bruce Company. (Click image for larger version)
Mark Bruce.
© Mark Bruce Company. (Click image for larger version)

Mark Bruce Company are touring their latest creation, Macbeth, across the UK until May 2018. The tour includes a long London season (23/2 – 17/3) at Wilton’s Music Hall.
Full tour details

What first attracted you to Macbeth and how long have you been working on it? Is it still a story with things to tell us today?

I first read Macbeth at school – it has always had a strong impression on me – its themes, its world; its darkness, beauty – it is an incredible play. It will always be relevant – there are Macbeths everywhere. I began seriously considering an adaptation a couple of years ago. I felt it was the right time and that I had the right cast. We started with some research about a year ago. The main rehearsal period was six weeks leading up to our first performances.

I always find the music to your shows a fascinating mix of classical, atmospheric and
pop of various vintages – and always, always, surprising. How do you make your choices and what are you using in Macbeth?

I spend a lot of time listening to all kinds of music. I consider anything that resonates with me and marries with whatever subject matter I am working with. I spend a lot of time putting different music together in a way I feel works and makes sense. My main musical source for Macbeth is Arvo Pärt.

Jonathan Goddard in Macbeth.© Nicole Guarino. (Click image for larger version)
Jonathan Goddard in Macbeth.
© Nicole Guarino. (Click image for larger version)

How do you create – do you go into the studio with a firm idea of the movement you want? Or is it more free-form and organic?

I do a lot of work before I get in the studio. I will write the entire structure of the work as a blueprint and know my subject matter inside out – that way I can go beyond with what emerges in the creative process. I am an old-fashioned choreographer – as in I make all the movement material – the dancers have a lot of freedom once they have learnt it. But I always have a strong vision for a work and I will simply set about realising it.

The countywide tour runs through to May – do you find you and the dancers ‘tinker’ with works and interpretations as a tour progresses?

It is possible – I always watch the show, take notes and want to keep it fresh. I remain the outside eye, and sometimes this can involve changes to the work.

Who are your dance and choreographic heroes?

I grew up surrounded by the dancers and work of Rambert in the 70s and 80s. I think this had a strong impact on me.

I also admire the choreography and dancing of films such as Westside Story and Singin’ in the Rain.

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