21 June 2023  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Forty-two Year 7 and 8s took part in an all-day unarmed and armed combat workshop. ‘They Fight’  is designed to give students an insight into stage combat both as a practical performance skill and also as a tool for academic drama study.

A fight is an integral part of the story-telling process. So much so that the play it features in could not function in the same way without it. A fight moves the narrative along from one place to another and usually acts as a catalyst to future events. It can act as a climax, tying together the themes, events and characters in a dramatic conclusion. It may also provide a setting for major character development. A fight is a play in micro, and by understanding its construction, students can grasp an understanding of the play as a whole.

The first half of the session covered the basic techniques required to stage a fist fight. Students worked in pairs learning a selection of punches, slaps, strangles, grapples and kicks and by the end of the morning session they had a full length fight which they created themselves.

The second half of the workshop focused on sword play. The students learned the basic parries, cuts and footwork required to work safely and then built on their new skills to work through choreography.

The Squire Stage Combat session was all about teamwork and building practical performance skills. The session was also great for building confidence and especially handy for engaging young male students.

The session was led by Mark Ruddick who is a professional performer/combat practitioner working within film, TV and theatre and amongst his team he has credits from The BBC, ITV, Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, National Theatre, WWE, Lucha Britannia, Marvel Studios and HBO.

Stephen Birdsall, Associate Assistant Headteacher for extra-curricular engagement and development, said: “Mark Ruddick was absolutely amazing and had the students captivated from start to finish. He was very accommodating and on top of having a group of 42 students all day; he accommodated the Year 12 Drama and Theatre Studies A-level students, as well as a full Year 8 class in the morning. We will most definitely be having Mark from Squire Combat back into school in the near future!

“Yet again, I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to our Trustees who made this amazing experience possible.”


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