"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance"
For over eight years Squire Stage Combat has been working across the UK with students of all ages. We provide workshops within schools, universities and private theatre groups, as well as stunt coordination and fight direction for professional clients within theatre, opera, film and television.
who we are and what we do
Squire was founded in September 2010 with a very simple aim; to introduce students of all ages to the exciting world of stage combat and physical performance. As a life long martial artist and industry stunt performer Mark Ruddick (company founder) wanted to share his love of all things action with the next generation of performers. Through Squire Stage Combat and Squire Circus we have gone from strength to strength, working with schools, drama clubs and professional clients all over the country.
We have developed a full range of workshops designed and delivered by industry professionals. We offer taster sessions in traditional stage combat both armed and unarmed, themed parties based around Duelling Jedi or Lucha Wrestling as well as Circus Skills from our team at Squire Circus. Our work includes stunt shows and live fight performances, taster sessions/team building workshops, actor masterclasses, summer school activities and much more. With a diverse team of performers ranging from sword masters and pro wrestlers to acrobats and award winning jugglers we have something for everyone.
All our instructors are professional performers working within film, TV and theatre and amongst us we have credits from The BBC, ITV, Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, National Theatre, WWE, Lucha Britannia, Marvel Studios and HBO. We take great pride in having been an influence on hundreds of young actors, many of whom are now professionals in the own right and are always looking for the next challenge.
Our workshops are fast, physical and fun. They can be enjoyed by everyone since the focus is activity rather than performance. No one is asked to get up on stage unless they want to and all the fights, falls and flailing are fake! After all “the first rule of fight club is NO ONE GETS HURT!”
A well-executed fight scene can make stage combat look easy – but, much like dancing, it must be intricately choreographed and extensively rehearsed to provide that authentic feel while remaining safe.
A significant amount of entertainment relys on characters sustaining injuries. As teachers, injury is something anathema to our professional interests, but many a play requires some form of violence – be it a comical slap or a full-blown battle scene. The challenge at such moments is always how to make the fight look exciting and real without any of the actors actually getting a black eye.
A good stage fight is a work of craft and more difficult than it looks. Anyone can choreograph a fight – but that’s not to say they will be any good. Fights need to have martial or character logic, they need to have a story arc, they need to work for an audience and, most importantly, be safe and repeatable.
A good stage fight should be safe, efficient and effective, and to be so it’s necessary to learn the basic elements of a chosen weapons system, and to perfect those before working them into increasingly complex pieces of choreography. This way, you learn to fight safely, with balance, good distance and confidence. During this process you will also discuss how character choices should affect your fight – from how well you are able to throw a punch, to whether the weapons you’re fighting with are appropriate to your character’s status and training; a drunken punch will be sloppy, while a superhero’s blow will be a knockout.
some of our clients
The Glyndebourne Festival Opera
The Royal Opera House