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Fists for Freshers in fight fantasies

Philip d’Orléans in action

An ‘assault’ on new theatre students will be launched by one of the country’s biggest names in fight directing.

Master teacher with the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat, Philip d’Orléans, will share the skills of beating people up safely with University of Cumbria newcomers during Freshers’ week.

Described as a ‘coup’, the maestro’s appearance signals a rare opportunity to learn from an expert who has worked with leading companies, including the Royal Shakespeare, film giants Warner Bros and Universal Pictures and television.

The university’s professor of practice, Graeme Danby, said having someone of Philip’s stature was a clear sign of intent to industry professionals.

He added: “Philip is a personal contact of mine. It’s a coup to get him. I will continue to bring the best in their fields on to campus – to enhance and educate.”

Philip d’Orléans said: “Fight directors exist because it’s inherently dangerous creating the illusion of violence on stage and actors often get hurt in the process.

“Our main priority is to keep them, the rest of the cast, crew and audience safe.

“Simply put, the fight director tells violent stories safely.”

He explained there were many paths to becoming a fight director, from martial artists or fencers, actors or from backstage positions.

“I think the most common error people make is assuming the job is about fighting,” he added.

“Fights are the simplest part of the work, anyone can bash together a fight. The important element is being able to tell the story through action safely.”

Professor Danby said that although stage combat was not currently covered in any modules, Philip’s visit had the potential ‘to lead somewhere’.

He is at the university on Thursday, September 20.

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