Fight Lab is a brand new course at Playbox Theatre and we are proud to host the only weekly training programme in Warwickshire for stage combat with young people. These are high energy, high skill workshops across a spectrum of armed and unarmed combat disciplines…become a part of this team and you won’t look back! Here are answers to some of your questions:

Who is the director of Fight Lab?

Liam Bessell heads up the Fight Lab team having trained as an actor at LAMDA where he received his theatrical fight training and qualifications from the BADC (British Academy of Dramatic Combat). Liam also has many years of experience in Wing Chun (Chinese Kung Fu) and his passion for combat has lead him to experiment with many different fighting styles. Liam has experience choreographing fight sequences for stage and screen and his fight work for Playbox Theatre includes Peter Pan and The Three Musketeers. He has distinction level qualifications in: Group Fights, Unarmed Combat, Mixed Modern Weapons, Sword and buckler, Bow Staff, Sabre, Rapier and Sword and Dagger.

Where are the Fight Lab workshops held?

Fight Lab runs in studios at our own theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.

I don’t have any experience of stage combat – can I still join the workshop?

Absolutely! Previous experience is not required as we always start with the basics and expand from there. This approach enables young people with varying levels of experience to get the very best from the training.

I’ve done stage combat before – will I be able to extend my skills in this workshop?

Yes. Fight Lab is designed to train participants to the highest possible level, with every participant receiving individual training and targets. There is no limit to the standards that can be achieved within this programme and every young person can keep challenging themselves to develop further.

What techniques does Fight Lab include?

Fight Lab will focus on various techniques, drawing on martial arts, historical combat, basic stunts and how to perform the fight from the character’s point of view. We’ll be looking at everything from unarmed combat to medieval broadsword - Fight Lab seeks to improve co-ordination, timing, agility, speed, footwork and explores how to choreograph one’s own fight.

Will we work on different skills each week, or the same ones for a number of weeks?

In order to explore the work in great detail we will focus on a specific fight discipline over a season, but within each discipline there are such a multitude of skills that the training will be ever-evolving and will certainly keep the members on their toes! To add to this, the training is individually tailored, and as the members’ skills improve, the more techniques they will be exposed to.

Does Fight Lab work towards presentations?

At the end of each season Fight Lab offers its members the exciting opportunity to take part in a performance solely dedicated to stage combat. Fight Lab’s – ‘Fight Night’ is a chance for members to showcase the disciplines they have been focusing on throughout the season in front of an audience – sharing skills with family, friends and members of the public.

What should I wear to my Fighting workshop?

You should always wear comfortable, practical and flexible clothing.

Is there a uniform that I can choose to wear?

We do not have a specific ‘uniform’, but lots of our members love to attend in a Playbox t-shirt or hoodie. These are all available to order online at any time from our Shop.

Is Fight Lab dangerous? Am I likely to injure myself?

The techniques are taught in a safe and controlled environment, the attention being always on safety first. Stage combat is a skill designed to make fight sequences appear dangerous and violent whilst keeping the performers safe and in control of their own actions.

If I’m only a member of Fight Lab, can I audition for Playbox Theatre productions?

You need to be a member of Playbox’s Theatre Training workshops in order to audition for our major productions. If you’d like to know more about these, or about the discounts available to combine Fight Lab with acting, please email

Do I need to bring anything with me?

You should always come suitably dressed and it is a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you. All weapons and equipment are provided by Playbox Theatre.

How much does it cost to join Fight Lab?

Fees are payable each season, which runs in conjunction with the school term. The cost is £155 per season and you renew each holiday. There are discounts for members who also attend other Playbox workshops – send us an enquiry if you’d like to find out more about discounts.

Can I come along for a taster workshop?

We offer a two-week trial period for new members. Membership fees must be paid in advance of attending but if, after the first two weeks of attending, you find the workshop is not for you, we are able to offer a refund of fees minus a £20 admin charge. Our trial policy endeavours to discourage dipping in and out throughout the season, which can be very disruptive for regular members.

How do I join Fight Lab?

If you’d love to join, please apply online.

Will I have to go on a waiting list?

Fight Lab is a brand new course and we are recruiting members now…so this is the perfect time to apply! We anticipate the workshops filling up very quickly, and once the groups are on capacity, we will add names to a waiting list. At the moment, there are places waiting to be filled!

We hope that you now feel ready to reapply for Acting For Screen with Playbox Theatre – we can’t wait to welcome you aboard!

For any other questions, please email