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.
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.
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.
Executive Director | Co-Founder
[she/her and they/them : What's with the pronouns?]
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 FDC/SAFD Fight Master Ian Rose, earning Actor Combatant status (Unarmed, Single Sword, Smallsword, Rapier and Dagger) and has since been an advocate for making stage combat accessible to artists and enthusiasts.
In addition to performing, Brittany has lent their administrative talents to several different non-profit and arts organizations over the years, including Historic Philadelphia, Inc., Macy's Entertainment Philadelphia, and St. Mary's at the University of Pennsylvania.
If you would like to enroll for a class or workshop, are making a press inquiry, or are interested in scholarship and work-study opportunities, please contact:
J. Oliver Donahue
Instructor | Co-Founder
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:
Senior Demo Assistant
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.
Senior Demo Assistant
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.
Christian Boswell is approaching his seventh year studying theatrical violence. He is an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and is continuing to learn and grow with Dueling Arts International. He has had the pleasure of working alongside the Eastern Band of Cherokee for two years in the Unto These Hills outdoor drama and Time of War series. His goal is to continue to train as a choreographer and educator to find his own voice as a collaborative artist.
Chelsea attended the University of Tennessee for Opera Performance and is currently working as an SAG-AFTRA actor and stunt performer. She hails from a 20-year martial arts background with black belts in MMA, Kendo, and Agedo, as well as specializing in battle fan and competing in multiple international competitions specifically in tournament sparring and weapons. She also has five years of parkour and free running training, Stage Combat with the Jacqueline Halloway of Arte Violenta, and Pro-wrestling training. Stage Combat is important to her, because it gives her an opportunity to use her passions to further her career while also helping others further theirs in a safe and healthy environment.
Chelsea is also at the helm of Novel Action, an advocacy effort and consultation service for authors, playwrights, and screenwriters who would like to better incorporate elements of Intimacy and Combat into their literature and productions.
To learn more, please visit this link and contact Chelsea at NovelAction@ArgentCombat.com
Sean is currently a certified Actor Combatant with the SAFD, and has completed Skills Proficiency Test courses in all disciplines. He has a background in various martial arts, has worked as fight choreographer in theatre and small outdoor faires, and teaches the art of the whip professionally. The importance of stage combat training cannot be overstated, and he is dedicated to not only studying it for his own fulfillment, but advocating it in the theatre and film industries.
Seth D. Rotman
Medical Consultant for Argent Combat Board and Reopening Committee
Seth D. Rotman RN, BSN, MSN-FNP Student, ACLS/BLS brings 10 years of nursing experience to help navigate today’s complex health concerns. He also brings 21 years of martial arts experience with a Master Black Belt in TKD and a Black Belt in Kung Fu. Seth has taken several trophies in forms demonstrations and has medaled in Lei Tai combat. Having been the co-founder and co-captain of a martial arts school's demo team, he has taught and demonstarted performative combat with empty hand and weapons techniques.
To Seth, Stage Combat safely blends the beauty of martial violence and the safety of performance, making it the perfect combination of all of his passions.
As Argent Combat navigates a safe return to live, in-person Theatrical performances and classes, medical professionals like Seth are an invaluable resource and we are so pleased to have him on our team!
To learn more about our Safe Reopening planning process, our Reopening Committee Meeting Minutes are available upon request and our team had an opportunity to discuss in this live stream with Light Thief Productions.
Melody is a stage manager, a graduate of Temple University. She likes to fight people... safely! Growing up watching Hong Kong cinema, all of the action combat films excited her, and as an SM, learning and knowing the fight to be safe is of utmost importance to her. The stage combat community has been the most welcoming and fun community she has been a part of, and that means a lot to her. Having trained with Fight Instructors Ian Rose and Oliver Donahue, she has passed her certifications in Longsword, Quarterstaff, Single sword, Rapier and Dagger, and Smallsword.
To enroll in upcoming classes and workshops, please visit our Eventbrite page.
To view our Safe Reopening Plan and to receive additional info on ours and other local organizations' offerings, please subscribe to our weekly Student Newsletter.
Unarmed for High Schoolers
at Allens Lane Art Center
Unarmed Stage Combat
Instructor: Oliver Donahue
Ages: 14-18 (Grades 9-12)
Day/Time: Saturdays, 1:30pm-3:00pm
Session 1: October 9 & 16
Session 2: November 6 & 13
Cost per session: $45
An introduction into the skills, techniques, and language used to safely and convincingly perform a staged fight with no weapons but their bare hands. Students will learn the specifics of how and why fights are choreographed, and best practices for keeping themselves, their scene partners, and the audience safe while performing violence.