26th Stage Combat Workshop offers chance to expand horizons

June 29, 2017


John Stack
Staff Writer | jes062@latech.edu


For the 26th year in a row the Stage Combat Workshop (SCW) 2017 took place April 14-16 at the Lambright Sports and Wellness Center.


The Stage Combat Workshop at Louisiana Tech University is one of the oldest regional stage combat workshops in the country.


Since its inception in 1991 by Mark Guinn, professor and director of the School of Performing Arts, the workshop has grown into one of the most widely respected and exciting workshops available.


“The SCW at Tech began as an alternative to the National Stage Combat Workshops produced by the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD),” Guinn said. “It also began as a responsibility of regional representatives for the Society of American Fight Directors and I was a regional representative.”


He said most importantly, he began the workshop as an opportunity to provide a venue for young teachers in the organization to teach.


Kathleen Schmidt, coordinator of the SCW, said she has enjoyed arranging these events over the past several years.


“I’ve coordinated the 24th, 25th and now the 26th Annual Stage Combat Workshops,” Schmidt said.


She said the SCW has easily been the highlight of her four years at Tech, and even though it is a lot of work to put it on, she would do it again in a heartbeat.


She is not the only one with a recurring presence at the SCW; Austin Harrison, a second-year graduate student graduating from Tech in May, will be a teaching assistant for his second year at the workshop.


“The Louisiana Tech Stage Combat Workshop provides an excellent opportunity to meet combatants and teachers I otherwise would not have a chance to meet and establish a network for my further pursuit with the SAFD,” Harrison said. “In addition to this, the workshop gives me an opportunity to learn new and diverse stage combat techniques from masters and certified teachers while also allowing me a chance to assist them in classes as a TA.”


He said his workshop helps to do more than just learn new skills and hone other ones; it provides an environment to broaden one’s horizons.


Millie Omps, a second-year graduate student at Tech is currently preparing to graduate and for a career in the  field of stage combat.


“The workshop here is so much more than classes,” Omps said. “It’s an opportunity to expand, educate and grow.”


She said due to the variety of levels offered, people from all different backgrounds can find a class suited to them.


“The SCW is also a great place for the community to learn about stage combat and the Society of American Fight Directors,” Omps said. “For those like myself, the multitude of students and teachers alike that come from all over the country allow for networking and asking questions about the field in other respective areas.”


She said it is also just good, old fashioned, sword-swinging fun.


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