Stage Combat

Stage combat

The Academy of Performance Combat

The School of Fine and Performing Arts has been working with the Academy of Performance Combat (APC) for four years, most notably on the Second Year Module in Stage Combat, one of the most popular Undergraduate option choices within the School. Andrew Ashenden, a Founding Member of the APC and one of its most experienced Fight Directors, as well as intensive weekend courses at the School’s theatre - the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre.

The aim of an APC course or workshop is to equip actors to employ the skills of Stage Combat in their careers in theatre and film. It is also an excellent physical and mental workout, and the APC welcomes members of the general public who want to try something new, without necessarily wanting to be assessed through examination.

CombatStage Combat Summer School

Our most ambitious offer is the APC Summer School, which runs for a week in early August at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) for a maximum of 20 participants. Based in the LPAC’s air-conditioned studios, for six days the Summer School guides participants through a series of armed and unarmed Stage Combat techniques, supervises their rehearsals and prepares them for examination by an external examiner.

There are three levels of Stage Combat: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Once successfully assessed participants become members of the APC’s Actors to Arms scheme, and can apply for course discounts in the future, as well as having their proficiency in armed and unarmed combat recorded in a log book which is Equity recognised.

As well as a non-residential option the Summer School also offers residential accommodation in University Halls of Residence. Each individual room comes with an en-suite shower, bed linen, towelling and a kitchen shared between six participants. Breakfast and lunch are provided at the University’s cafeteria.

All Instructors and Examiners hold Enhanced DBS Disclosures  - certificate numbers can be supplied on request.

Health and Safety

Unarmed Stage Combat is a largely non-contact practice. APC Instructors are rigorously trained in delivering clear, precise and safe workshops to course participants. Instructors will only allow participants to proceed with tuition once the workshop’s health and safety guidelines are clearly understood by all participants.

Correctly executed stage combat will look convincing and theatrically violent. Unarmed Stage Combat, however, helps to create and maintain that illusion. It does not teach real fighting techniques.  Armed tuition teaches participants the art of realistic close quarter stage combat that realistically simulates injury while mostly restricting contact to weapons. Routines are demonstrated, monitored and rehearsed step-by-step to ensure participant safety.


There will be no more than 20 participants per class. Stage Combat requires its participants to work in pairs.

Any medical condition involving participants should be communicated to the Fight Instructor before the course. Prospective participants with a serious medical condition may be advised not to enrol for a course following the advice of a Fight Instructor.

No watches, rings or jewellery can be worn during the workshop: these can cause injury.

Appropriate clothing must be worn to allow free movement: t-shirt, track suit bottoms and trainers are sufficient.

The Lincoln Performing Arts Centre has shower facilities which can be used free of charge after a workshop or taught session.

Andrew  Ashenden has worked as an Equity Fight Director for over a decade in Television, Film and Theatre. His clients include BBC Wales, Welsh National Opera, The National Theatre of Wales, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal Bath, The Globe, Birmingham Stage Company and Harrogate Theatre. Resident Fight Instructor for GSA, The Bridge, University of Lincoln and Royal Academy of Music, Andrew has also authored two books on stage combat.

Further Information

For more information on the APC’s Lincoln Summer School please contact Andrew on 07928 324706.

Host Your Own Workshop

The School of Fine & Performing Arts welcomes enquiries for bespoke Stage Combat workshops for Schools, Colleges and other organisations.

To discuss these in more detail please contact Conan Lawrence by phone  01522 837608 or email