Taking time out from his current TV shoot Mark Ruddick, founder of Squire Stage Combat, paid a visit to Razzamataz Theatre Schools Yeovil to deliver a fighting skills workshop to the students.
Mark has worked extensively in opera, TV, film and theatre, as a performer but also choreographing fights and coordinating stunts as well. He has worked extensively at Glyndebourne Opera and with Realm Pictures as well as for the BBC and CBBC.
The 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 can be an integral part of the story telling process. A fight is a play in micro, and by understanding its construction, students can grasp an understanding of the play as a whole.
Students were taught a range of basic techniques and how to portray stage violence effectively with correct actions and reactions. Mark taught the younger students some non-contact combat skills such as the strangle and the slap. The older students then received a longer session that also included sword fighting basics and choreography.
“The students had an absolutely amazing time. In fact the first question asked in the Q&A was ‘are you coming again?’” says Claire Walford, Principal of Razzamataz Yeovil. “We are always looking to invite industry professionals in to share their skills and experience with our students.”
“We believe it is important to encourage more children to get into performing arts, which is shown to not only have positive effects on health and wellbeing but also on confidence and self-esteem, massively important for teenagers who are navigating a new period in their lives’ adds Claire. “These are important life skills to have and just as important to those children who don’t take their performing arts training any further than just having a bit of fun on the weekend.”