Stage Combat in Practice and Performance

The details
East 15 Acting School
Southend Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
12 August 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA W412 Acting and Stage Combat

Module description

This is a compulsory module for the BA Hons Specialist Performance Skills: Stage Combat. During the Foundation years students were trained in the use, style and overall performance of a range of combat/physical disciplines, giving them an appropriate base from which to apply these skills in complex performance scenarios in the BA Hons final year. The module takes working knowledge of weapons gained in Years One and Two of the Foundation degree, and applies it to professional performance situations.

You will move from being a performer of stage combat and work to understand the logic of choreography for theatrical violence, which calls upon a variety of physical and contextual skills. You will study the progression of story line and character action within a range of stage combat scenarios.
You will undertake units of work in fight choreography and fights on camera.

Terms One & Two: Choreography
In this unit students will gain experience in Choreographing their own work, both with weapons and through unarmed combat. They will also be performing choreography created by their peers and have the opportunity to offer feedback and constructive criticism in this work. The training scan be roughly categorised in two sections. Theatrical Illusion - in which the students will explore how techniques can be employed for the greatest impact. This will involve an exploration of angles and stage positioning, rhythm and timing, and alterations to basic technique for alternative stagings. Additionally, students will explore how to create stage effects that help to create the illusion of reality on stage. Story Telling is other component that ensures the fight suits and serves the arc of the play by looking at both plot and character development throughout the fight, as well as martial logic within choreography. Students will look at different theatrical genres and explore what choreography best suits the style of the play.

The unit is designed to foster their growth as both a performer (by gaining a better understanding of the craft) and to introduce them to the demands of a fight choreographer/director, as another possible route to employability. The unit will call on a combination of taught skills, creative input, lateral thinking, problem-solving, and textual analysis.

Terms One & Two: Fight scenes on camera
This module builds on the preparatory work done in year two. Students will be required to draw upon disciplines learned in previous modules to create:
1. A dramatic scene, which will be filmed and edited into a short film. This will involve working with a film director and a film crew under professional working conditions. Students will be required to prepare for this during directed and independent rehearsals. The part of the module will reinforce the basics of acting for camera before they move forward to create fights fir this medium.
2. Choreography for camera, which will be performed and shot on location, utilising costume as necessary. Although this unit will be conducted under professional working conditions shooting and post production resources will be limited.
This unit will call upon the acting, research and stage combat skills that have been developed over the preceding terms.

Module aims

To provide students with:
- Advanced skill and control of weapons in a performance situation
- Further knowledge of the professional demands of a stage combat practitioner, across a variety of roles
- Experience of identifying problems and testing theoretical solutions in practice
- Experience of collaborating to create fight performances
- Opportunities to adapt and apply their knowledge to suit given circumstances
- Develop the acting skills and technique required to perform in front of a camera
- Further develop the skills needed to perform a choreographed fight, safely and dramatically.
- Understand and work within the technical requirements involved in recording dramatic scenes
- Combine previous combat and acting skills in high-pressure situations
- Gain knowledge of working practices within the industry

Module learning outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate ability to:
- An appropriate level of skill and weapon control in a performance context
- Identify problems and produce practical solutions within a given framework
- Combine text analysis with the physical embodiment of character in a practical setting.
- Liaise with others to achieve a set brief
- Apply research and skills to performance work
- Understand the uses of a range of theatrical effects
- Advanced understanding of safety requirements when setting fights for a production.
- Sustain character and style within the demands of a technical production
- Communicate character and storyline during a dramatic scene
- Perform fights convincingly and in character
- Take instruction from directors and use them to improve performances
- Assess personal growth
- Work effectively as one part of a production team

Module information

This module includes preparation for externally-assessed British Academy of Dramatic Combat (BADC) and British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC) awards.

Learning and teaching methods

Practical Classes, rehearsals, research and occasional lectures


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Practical   Choreography    50% 
Practical   Fight Scenes for Camera    50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Nick Hall, email: halln@essex.ac.uk.
Nick Hall, Chris Main
For further information please email halln



External examiner

Mr Philip D'Orleans
British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat
Physical Skills Instructor
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
East 15 Acting School

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.