About Us

Argent Combat is a Philadelphia-based organization of students, performers, choreographers, and instructors of Theatrical Violence and Stage Combat. We are dedicated to promoting safety and fostering the excellence and proficiency of action-oriented entertainment.

Mission Statement
Our objectives are
1.) to uphold these values,
2.) to encourage safe techniques for performers and enthusiasts,
3.) to adapt styles of historical and modern forms of combat to dynamic theatrical performances,
4.) to provide artists with the tools they need to develop confidence in their autonomy,
and 5.) to expand Theatre’s influence by engendering new students and audiences who enjoy the expression of stories and emotions through theatrical violence.


In furtherance of these goals, Argent Combat routinely offers workshops and ongoing classes in a variety of disciplines all over Philadelphia, and members can be found attending Regional and National Workshops all over North America.


Inclusivity
Argent Combat is committed to the policy that all students shall have equal access to programs without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation, except in those cases where specific physical limitations prohibit participation in performing the required skills in a manner safe to themselves or to their participants.


For additional information, please review our Decorum & Conduct Policies.

 

J. Oliver Donahue
Instructor  |  Co-Founder

[he/ him- What's with the pronouns?]


Oliver has been studying and performing theatrical violence for more than a decade. A Certified Instructor with both Fight Directors Canada and the Society of American Fight Directors, his work has been seen from one side of North America to the other. Recent credits include Lay Me Down Softly with Irish Heritage Theatre, Les Liaisons Dangereuses at The Booth Theatre, I Hate Hamlet at Allens Lane Theatre, The Rover for Jackpine Productions, The Tale of the Phantom Ship for Temple Theatre’s Sidestage, Seventeen Missing Years, Ubu Roi, and After the End, all for GDP Productions.
For any questions regarding course content and certification, or if you'd like to consult Oliver for theatrical violence for your project, please email him: 

oliver@argentcombat.com

Brittany Holdahl
Administratrix  |  Co-Founder

[she/they]

Brittany has been an active member of the Philadelphia arts community since 2008.  As a performer, Mx. Holdahl has collaborated with Irish Heritage Theatre, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, Hedgerow Theatre, Luna Theatre Co., GDP Productions, Represented Theatre Co., Automatic Arts, Save the Day! Productions, otherWORDS Theatre Co., and the Philadelphia Dramatists Center. Brittany had studied stage combat under SAFD Fight Master Ian Rose and has since been an advocate for making stage combat accessible to artists and ethusiasts.
In addition to performing, Brittany has lent their administrative talents to several different organizations over the years, including Historic Philadelphia, Inc.; Macy's Entertainment; ETC Performance Series; St. Mary's, Hamilton Village; and RTIR-Bradley.
If you would like to enroll for a class or workshop, or if you have any questions regarding billing or payments, please contact:

brittany@argentcombat.com

Steve Wei
Demo Assistant

[he/him]

Steve is an Advanced Actor Combatant with Fight Directors Canada with equivalent experience in the Society of American Fight Directors, and commendations from both. His work in the performing arts in Philly spans nearly a decade at venues like the Walnut Street Theater, Opera Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.
He is pursuing his teaching certifications from his parent societies, and is especially interested in developing stage combat as a cross-media story-telling art form.

Millie Omps

Demo Assistant
[she/her]


Millie Omps is a proud Actor Combatant and Fight Choreographer from West Virginia. Since moving to the area she has become a frequent cast member at the New Jersey Renaissance Faire, an actor combatant with Swords and Stories, and a member of the armoured combat team The Knights of Crossford.

Her choreography has been toured across West Virignia with the Shakespearean troupe The Rustic Mechanicals and most recently their production of Julius Ceasar touring Fall 2019.

 

Students can enroll in current classes and workshops
via our EventBrite page.


Saturday, May 9th, 2020


Argent Combat was a proud participant in The Hustling Creative's
fundraising venture,
Artists Against Domestic Violence.

Dozens of artists joined the Hustling Creative on Saturday, May 9th 
for a virtual concert marathon featuring exciting performances and interactive classes by movement artists across the country. 

Proceeds benefitted the work of RAINN, 
the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault and violence organization.


"It is not theatre that is indispensable, 
but something quite different. 
To cross the frontiers between you and me.”
(Jerzy Grotowski)

 

We premiered our class, A Sworded Affair,
in which we gave viewers a mini-tour of our personal armory,
discuss the differences between live blades and theatrical blades,
reviewed the different styles of blades and their historic significance,
and highlight the importance of student autonomy, agency, and informed consent.

 

Please visit the Hustling Creative for additional details and recap!

A weekly, online Theatre symposium starting May/June 2020
More Info Coming Soon

Blood Pact is an explorative lecture and interview series hosted by Brittany Holdahl, co-founder of Argent Combat.
The goal of this series is to explore how interdisciplinary Theatre creators approach depictions of violence in Theatre and in what ways their crafts reinforce the principles of Stage Combat: A.) promoting safety for cast, crew, and audience, and B.) fostering the excellence and proficiency of action-oriented entertainment.

Panelists include interdisciplinary Theatre professionals from across the nation: Producers, Directors, Playwrights, Dramaturgs, Designers, Composers, Fight Choreographers, Actors, Run Crew, Property Masters, Stage Managers, Makeup/Stylists, Wardrobe Supervisors, Photographers/Videographers, Theatre Critics, Audience Members, and Theatre Students.

All donations will benefit the charitable organizations selected by our panelists and the outreach efforts of Argent Combat's venue, St. Mary's,
which continues to actively aid vulnerable populations in Philadelphia during quarantine.


 

Enrollment Opens March 5th!
Eventbrite

Due to quarantine, the start date has been postponed
to June/July 2020

By the completion of this 16-week course, students will have the opportunity to take the 
Society of American Fight Directors' Skills Proficiency Test 
for certification or renewal of certification in quarterstaff.
Returning and college students will receive a discount.
If you have any questions about enrollment, please email Brittany.

 

Eventbrite

Day 1: Unarmed
Day 2: Rapier & Dagger
Day 3: Quarterstaff

 

Due to quarantine, the start date has been postponed
to June/July 2020
 

This was our first Taste of Violence in which you, our students, got to vote on your favorite disciplines!
Your top two choices made the curriculum!

To learn more about our seasonal Taste of Violence workshops,
click here!


Our inaugural workshop for the 3rd Annual Philly Theatre Week!

For Theatre Week 2020, we decided to show some love to the Philly artist community with our workshop,
Heart of Violence.
This was a wonderful opportunity for aspiring Actor Combatants to experience a stage combat class before committing to a full Society of American Fight Directors' certification course and Skills Proficiency Test.

This particular workshop focused on Unarmed and Single Sword. 

Jan 24: Unarmed
Jan 25: Single Sword
Jan 26: Cloak & Sword

To learn more about our seasonal Taste of Violence workshops,
click here!

January- May 2020

By the completion of this 16-week course, students will have the opportunity to take the 
Society of American Fight Directors' Skills Proficiency Test 
for certification or renewal of certification in unarmed.
Returning and college students will receive a discount.
If you have any questions about enrollment, please email Brittany.

 

The 20th Annual Philadelphia Stage Combat Workshop
October 25- 27, 2019

 

For more information, visit the PSCW's official website.

September 2019- January 2020

By the completion of this 16-week course, students had the opportunity to take the 
Society of American Fight Directors' Skills Proficiency Test 
for certification or renewal of certification in smallsword.

 

This three-day workshop gave new students a sampling of three different stage combat disciplines:
Unarmed, Single Sword, and Longsword!


This was a wonderful opportunity for artists and enthusiasts to try a stage combat class out before committing to a full certification course, so we decided to offer it seasonally with our ongoing
Taste of Violence workshop series!

This class was conducted from May 2019 to September 2019.
By the completion of this 16-week course, our students had the opportunity to take the 
Society of American Fight Directors' Skills Proficiency Test 
for certification or renewal of certification in longsword.
We are so very proud of all of you!  Your hard work inspires us!


This course was featured in The East Falls LocalRead it here.


 

Knives in the Dark! was the first class we had the pleasure to offer our students from December 2017 to April 2018.
By the completion of this 16-week course, our students had the opportunity to take the 
Society of American Fight Directors' Skills Proficiency Test for certification or renewal of certification in knife.
 

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