Members of FIGHT LAB will explore the techniques required to bring thrilling fight scenes to both stage and screen, utilising an array of weapons and art forms, from medieval broadswords, right through to modern hand to hand combat.
Sessions are led by trained professional, Liam Bessell, and take place in a safe, secure environment designed to finesse the skills of choreographing dynamic and explosive fight scenes. The sessions are physical and involve high levels of teamwork and communication.
The upcoming autumn season’s extended format will return Playbox Theatre’s unique theatrical fight training program to its explorational roots, with a focus on cinematic choreography for the big screen, as well as rehearsing towards FIGHT NIGHT, where skills will be shared on stage at The Dream Factory. If you’re looking to explore a multitude of fighting styles in greater detail…then the laboratory’s doors are wide open!
For further information, please take a look at our FAQs at the bottom of this page.
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.
Fight Lab runs in studios at our own theatre, The Dream Factory, in Warwick.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You should always wear comfortable, practical and flexible clothing.
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. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to place an order.
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.
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.
Fees are payable in advance of each training block. The cost for Fight Lab 1 is £165 and for Fight Lab to, the cost is £200 per programme (6 x 2 hr workshops), and you are invited to renew in advance of every new block of training. There are discounts for members who also attend other Playbox workshops – send us an enquiry if you’d like to find out more about these.
We offer a two-week trial period for new members. Fees are payable in advance, but if, after the first two weeks of attending, you find the workshop is not for you, we refund you for the remainder of the programme. Our trial policy endeavours to discourage dipping in and out throughout the season, which can be very disruptive for regular members.
If you’d love to join, please apply online.
Fight Lab Autumn 2021 is a new course of training 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!