Marc Brew Company is in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Unlimited Festival, sharing experiences and learning from the Unlimited Festival in London in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Rio: an inspirational city
How's your time in Brazil going so far?
We arrived in Brazil late on Wednesday evening and were greeted with a warm welcome from the People's Palace Project when we arrived at our hotel. Rio is a city of contrasts, old and new, inner city buzz and beautiful beaches, awesome mountains and lush rain forest.
What have you seen/done?
Yesterday was a rest day for the company to acclimatise to the country and to recover from the journey. We took the opportunity to sight see and took a trip to Sugarloaf Mountain and to see Christ the Redeemer. This is a really inspirational city for artists to visit.
What have you learnt/taught?
We are here as part of the Unlimited Festival which has been organised to run alongside an Olympic Forum, part of the handover of the cultural legacy from London 2012 to Rio 2016. It is a privilege for us to be part of the artists team who have been brought over from the UK to give a taste of what is possible for Deaf and disabled artists to contribute to the Olympic Games. We are performing as part of the festival and teaching workshops in local communities. In turn we are learning about Brazilian culture and the arts ecology here. It is a fascinating exchange.
What one thing could the UK learn from the arts scene in Brazil, and what UK idea/system would you recommend that Brazil adopts?
Brazilian culture is much more relaxed than British culture and as an artist this is really interesting as it gives room to breathe and explore my practice. Being part of Unlimited has meant that we have been able to bring learning about embedding arts into the Olympic Games, and I hope that we will inspire Deaf and disabled artists here to develop great work, to be ambitious in their thinking and to change perceptions of who can be an artist.
How are you finding being away? What are you missing/loving?
We are really enjoying the Brazilian experience. We will be performing outdoors and of course we are loving the glorious sunshine. As a project-based company we enjoy being on the road together, it gives us a chance to grow and develop as a company. As a wheelchair user I do miss the ease of access and disability awareness that we have in the UK; it is harder to get around independently here and we have had to get used to journeys taking longer with buses and taxis not always stopping, for example. But overall it has been an incredible experience for us. We are loving being part of the first Unlimited festival in Rio and hope it is the start of a much longer conversation and artistic exchange.