Fight Director

Matt Richardson is celebrating over 30 years of experience in the study, practice and refinement of the art form of Stage Combat.

Fight Director Matt Richardson with his favourite sword.

He has been studying stage combat since before Fight Director training became available in Canada, and has been directing fights almost as long. He is recognized as a professional Fight Director by Canadian Actors Equity Association. His teaching talents are appreciated in the International stage combat community, having taught at the International Paddy Crean Art of the Sword workshop.

In fact, his directing, teaching and professional development has had him working with experts from all around the world, including instructors from Scotland, England, Australia and all over the USA and Canada. He’s worked as a fight director in theatres across Ontario, most notably as the fight director and local fight instructor for Disney Cruise Lines. He has taught “Introduction to Stage Combat” to thousands of students of all ages, from children to seasoned professional actors.

In recent years, Matt has been intensely pursuing several forms of historical, western martial arts for conversion to stage. Some of these include tomahawk, bowie knife, German and Italian longsword, Spanish side sword and Scottish backsword.

Matt also integrates the evolving performing arts workspaces practices into his fight direction. Matt mindfully approaches each rehearsal with respect and sensitivity to the needs of the group, both with regard to workspace relationships, and with choreography that is tailored to each project and company.

With knowledge learned from Western Martial Arts experts and from recent evolutions in our theatre workspaces, combined with his decades of experience in acting and fighting for stage, Matt is at the cutting edge of a renaissance in how we approach and present theatrical fighting.

“It was awesome … My cast was very excited and pumped at the end of the night. Matt gave us everything we needed to make our fight scenes look real!

“He customized movements to our scenes and showed us how to build structure to remain safe while we build isometric tension. I’ve just spent the last few hours typing up my six pages of notes!”

— Vicki Graham, director for Deathtrap, Merrickville