Do You Quarrel Sir?

An immersive day of Shakespearian theatre. Take the play off the page and onto the stage with a fight director and our expert in Elizabethan theatre. “Do You Quarrel Sir” is a workshop in two parts allowing students to explore a Shakespearian text of your choice through a variety of practical approaches. 

The first section of the workshop uses stage combat as a means of exploring a play text. Students learn a basic collection of stage combat tecnhiques before being guided in their own staging of a Shakespearian fight, murder, duel or quarrel. The second section of the workshop facilitates students in using original Elizabethan performance techniques to bring the text to life in a unique, pragmatic and accessible way. This section is run by our resident expert in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre using games, exercises and practical approaches to performing and understanding a play text.  


An amazing day. The best Shakespeare workshop we’ve had. The students learned so much. Now roll on the exams!

Alex Lipman- Head of Drama, Claremont High School, Harrow, 2019

Section 1: Stage Combat 

Stage combat by it’s very nature is physically active and requires practical solutions to creative problems. By studying the fights of Shakespeare practically, students are encouraged to perform the text and gain a greater understanding the plays and their staging.

The workshop covers basic armed (sword or knife) or unarmed stage combat skills which are then utilised in a staging of a Shakespearian fight related to the students current area of study. How do we deal with text in a fight? What can a fight tell us about the rest of the play? What is the context of this fight? What are the weapons and fighting styles like? How would these fights have been performed in Shakespeare’s day?

Section 2: Text 

Ben Jonson described Shakespeare as a writer “for all time” (and we’d agree!) but stepping back to learn how, when and why his plays were written and performed creates an entirely new perspective and understanding of what’s on the page. This workshop teaches students how to re-imagine the texts they are working with through the eyes of Elizabethan or Jacobean actors, using practical tools and techniques of the time to understand and analyse text, approach staging and ultimately perform Shakespeare with new confidence, immediacy and spontaneity. 

This workshop is available for any of Shakespeare’s plays, but also contemporary works The Duchess of Malfi, The Revenger’s Tragedy, Women Beware Women and The Changeling. 


Half Day (1- 3 hours)   2 instructors TOTAL £560 plus travel

Two 1.5 hour sessions can be run consecutively with a single group or across 2 groups trading places half way. 

Maximum group size 30. Both workshops require a large open space such as a drama studio or school hall.

Full Day  2 instructors TOTAL £760 plus travel

A full day session can be divided into 2 sessions with a single group or run as multiple 1.5 hour sessions to cater for larger numbers of students.

Maximum group size 30. Both workshops require a large open space such as a drama studio or school hall.

The Instructors

Lauren Jansen-Parkes is a writer, dramaturg and theatre facilitator who specialises in bringing classic texts to life in new and sometimes really old ways. She has an MA in Staging Shakespeare (University of Exeter), and has worked as script advisor and dramaturg with Grassroots Shakespeare London (a theatre company specialising in Shakespearean original practices). Her feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s history plays Margaret of Anjou was produced by Those Women Theatre Company in 2016. She has recently worked with Birmingham Poverty Truth project to adapt modern stories of poverty into Early Modern English for performance.
Mark Ruddick is a fight director and founder of Squire Stage Combat. He has a passion for European martial arts including Elizabethan rapier and has been teaching in schools for over nine years. His industry clients include Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera and he has also worked with The Globe and National Theatre

“I wanted to say how grateful I am for such another excellent day with our Form 3 students. I thought that this year was even better than the previous, and once again all students were extremely complimentary about the quality and engagement of the instruction. The boys have complimented you all on your ability to keep them both interested and entertained throughout the day, and very much enjoyed the range of activities offered. The dramaturgy session with Lauren was amazing and the boys really enjoyed understanding about the context and theory behind the text. The sword session once again was fantastic and Rowan was an excellent leader. Yourself and Rich were mentioned positively a great deal by the boys; they thought you were both extremely personable and felt respected the whole time. The loved the constant use of humour but at the same time enjoyed the physicality of the session. Overall, they commented on how you were both great role models for getting into drama – which I’m sure must be a huge compliment. Thank you again and please feel free to pencil in the same week next year!”

Benjamin Morris - Head of English, St Columba’s College, St Albans, 2019