UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Battles staged by : the development and organization of stage combat in Canada Harrison, Nicholas John


This dissertation traces the history and development of stage combat in Canada. The Canadian Theatre Agreement of 2002 recognized fight directors as professional theatre artists for the first time. However, the first recorded professional fight director in Canada was Douglas Campbell at the Stratford Festival in 1953. The fight director has been part of a long theatrical tradition that involves both artistic interpretation of dramatic texts and practical skills. To date there has not been a thorough investigation of the history of the fight director in Canada. Chapter One defines the role and function of the fight director and introduces the people interviewed as part of my research. In Chapter Two explores the origins of modern stage combat. Chapter Three concerns the roles that Douglas Campbell and Patrick Crean played in the establishment of professional stage combat in Canada through their involvement with the Stratford Festival. Chapters Four and Five explore the emergence of the two major Canadian fight associations and the training syllabi they created to properly train actor combatants. Through a series of interviews with professional Canadian fight directors, Chapter Six focuses on the role of the fight director as artist, dramaturg, instructor and choreographer, and analyzes their experiences staging fights for various Canadian productions of Hamlet. Chapter Seven explains the varying methods of fight notation instrumental in archiving a fight director's work for reference. Chapter Eight summarizes the role and function of the fight director in modern Canadian theatre. These elements are placed in context through personal interviews, newspaper articles, existing scholarship on stage combat and fencing, as well as current training methodologies used by Fight Directors Canada.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported