robin colyer : theatre practitioner

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"The great thing about booking Robin for a workshop is that you always know it's going to go down a storm...with all ages, from small child to retired adult, they always love it!" Beth Flintoff - Outreach Director, Watermill Theatre

"Thanks for making the eye gouging scene so wonderfully disgusting!!" Ashleigh Wheeler - Producer, "Fiji Land" (Oxford Playhouse, Southwark Playhouse)

After leaving drama school I completed an apprenticeship at a stage combat teacher, qualifying under both the British Academy of Dramatic Combat (BADC) and the Academy of Performance Combat (APC).  I've taught many students as part of the combat teaching team at Guilford School of Acting, and have worked as cover teacher for a number of other leading drama schools, including Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Oxford School of Drama, East 15 and The Bridge Theatre Training School. I also delivered a series of stage combat workshops for the National Theatre with cast of War Horse in 2012.

Key areas of syllabus teaching include: Unarmed Combat, Single Sword, Broadsword, 18th Century Smallsword, Rapier & Dagger, Quarterstaff and Knife

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Stage Combat Workshops

I am able to offer workshops and an introductory, intermediate or advanced level, tailoring the work to suit a range of students, from Schools, Youth Theatres (13+) and Amateur Companies to Drama Schools and other professional-level training. Workshops start from a singe session of up to 3 hours.

Educational Work Pack & DVD

I have developed a interactive DVD teaching programme, complete with teacher notes, which allows drama teachers to confidently lead their own introductory-level stage combat workshop.

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Fight Directing for Theatre

My work as an independent fight director for professional theatre has led me to develop my experience in a wide variety of dramatic contexts, from traditional Elizabethan swordplay, to contemporary street fights and domestic violence.

As a fight director, I am keen to work in close collaboration with the director and actors, always prioritising the story-telling needs of the play over 'flashy' techniques.  

I am always careful to make sure the combat techniques used match the imagined experience of the character, the nature of the dramatic situation and the physical capabilities of the actors involved.  Of course, safety is always paramount and goes hand in hand with the desired visual outcome.

The Question of Violence

One of the great paradoxes of stage combat as a dramatic art form is that, in order to convey safely and effectively the illusion of violence, the performers must work together with the greatest of respect and co-operation, both in rehearsal and performance.  It is a truly collaborative art and it may be useful to remind students and colleagues of this, especially those who feel concerned that the study of stage combat may in some way encourage violence.

As with all theatrical techniques, stage combat skills are designed to facilitate the telling of a story.  They are designed to be performed in the context of character and situation, rather than as a demonstration of, for example, martial arts ability.  This is an important distinction and it is often helpful to remind students of this if they seem to be overly concerned with combative realism or with techniques they have encountered in other contexts, such as martial arts classes.