Clara Darcy on We Should Definitely Have More Dancing

Clara Darcy's real-life story forms the basis for We Should Definitely Have More Dancing. She has written the following about her experience and turning it into a play with co-writer Ian Kershaw.


In the summer of 2019, I was finishing one acting job and jumping straight into another, blissfully unaware that the universe had other plans. Having suffered with huge pains in my neck for well over 6 months, I visited my GP, a muscular-skeletal physio and a chiropractor, all of whom were unable to get to the bottom of the problem. In a final last-ditch attempt to stop the pain, in a hope that they would just give me a steroid injection or something similar into my neck, I went to A&E. Due to the brilliant curiosity and professionalism of a junior doctor the mystery was finally solved: I had a ‘fist’ in my head!

Everything which then ensued and which happens in this play actually happened to me. And even now, three years later, it still shocks and baffles me that this actually happened to me. I find it pretty unfathomable!

I felt compelled to keep notes and a diary about my experiences at the time because I didn’t want to forget anything – particularly not knowing if my brain would ever work in the same way again, if I would ever remember any of it or if I would even be the same person coming out the other side of surgery.

Those notes, and interviews with the incomparable Ian Kershaw, formed the basis of this script.

Having balanced on the precipice of life and had a nice little dance with death, it felt incredibly important to share my experiences and lessons learned, particularly as I am very much one of the lucky ones. When you have a near-death experience you can’t help but come back from it with a whole new perspective on life.

And so for that reason, I will always be grateful to my brain tumour. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

None of this would have been possible without the brilliance of Ian Kershaw; it wouldn’t even exist as a play. I can’t really put into words just how grateful I am to him, how much I respect him, how much I owe and how much I adore him. If you ever need someone fighting in your corner, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone better than him.

And like it says in the text, I would not still be here if it weren’t for the exceptional care I received from the NHS at every step of the way. Save the NHS!



We Should Definitely Have More Dancing runs at the Coliseum Friday 17 June - Saturday 2 July, before touring to Theatre by the Lake, Keswick and Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

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