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About Us

"Let us, ciphers to this great account, on your imaginary forces work" - William Shakespeare

Theatrical combat is everywhere. From the children who play Peter Pan & Captain Hook in the garden with sticks, to, well, the actors who do the same! From the sword fights of Romeo & Juliet on stage, to the Martial Arts epics of the silver screen, action is a magnificent part of storytelling.

Sword & Scoundrel Rapier

What is Stage Combat?

Theatrical Combat (or Stage Combat, as commonly known) is the study by performers of the safe techniques required with stage safe weaponry, in order to convince an audience that the fight or violence they are presenting is believable and exciting. A performer has two jobs; to convince an audience, and to be safe with their fellow cast.

Stage Combat teaches the performer techniques, principles, and aesthetics that allow them to portray characters that can fight, duel, and those that can't! As this can range from unarmed combat and a single slap, to a duel with Case of Rapiers, the performer needs to learn not just the broad range of techniques, but body control, and the balance between playing characters that intend each other harm, and being actors that do not.

Zorro, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn

Theatrical Combat, the illusion of violence for Stage and Screen, has been a skillset for performers since the days of William Shakespeare and beyond. 

Theatrical Combat - A brief history

Historically, combat for performance has dated from the simulated tribal war dances, staged gladiatorial combat, and ritual of 2,000 years ago. 

Ancient Greek Theatre employed staged combat and violence, and traditions of staged combat evolved throughout in western theatre with the likes of Shakespeare and Marlowe adding compelling Sword Fights to their plays. 

In the years following, what we consider as traditional methods developed, and in the 20th Century, standardised techniques from Historical Manuals such as those by Alfred Hutton became the go-to for combat in theatre and film.

Perhaps the most galvanising force was that of the fight directors Paddy Crean, Bill Hobbs, and Bob Anderson, who shaped Stage Combat in a way you will certainly recognise today; from the Theatre Fights of John Gielgud, the Swashbuckling of Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and Tyrone Power, to the epic films of the 21st Century such as the Lord of the Rings.

With the popularity of Martial Arts and Fence which heavily influences modern societal sports and hobbies, Hong Kong cinema and action thrives today, and audiences more than ever are aware of the action of theatre and cinema.

An 18th Century Small Sword fight.
Duncan Woodruff & Gareth Locke
Filmed by True edge Combat

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