APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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Combat Circus

Posted by APATA: Scott Witt - Combat Circus | Dec 11, 2019

The art of slapstick, clowning and combat is a type of physical comedy characterised by broad humour, absurd situations, and vigorous action. It’s far more than mere funny man and extensively used by acrobats, stunt performers, actors and even magicians to achieve masterful uninhibited action and perfect timing.

It’s an art form that’s been around since ancient times, featured prominently in Greek and Roman mime and pantomime which has been refined and perfected over the centuries making it’s way into English and American music-hall entertainment and vaudeville through to film, circus and theatre performance today to provide even greater visual appeal and strength to story.

Today contemporary physical comedy is a must-have in your repertoire and portfolio, where developing the unique skills of this art form whether an emerging performer, professional or teacher will strengthen skill base and performance.

Meet one of our members Scott Witt at Combat Circus providing numerous classes and a summer school intensive like no other. Scott’s teaching philosophy is based on the premise of the interconnection of life, art and self. As a teacher Scott encourages young artists to continually develop their self-awareness and their understanding of how they are connected through movement. Physical performance interaction is a skill to be learned, practiced and reviewed – it might look easy but in actual fact it’s mentally and physically demanding, dangerous and risky.

Acclaimed comedy practitioner Scott Witt in January (20th – 24th, 2020) will lead a Combat Circus Slapstick Summer Intensive in Sydney to furnish participants with the fundamental skills to approach combat, slapstick and clowning with a holistic attitude. Participants will be able to throw themselves into a physical comedy performance with physical and mental confidence. This troika of abilities speaks directly to the traditional knockabout skills used by the likes of the Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, Lucile Ball, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton who were all masters of hard-hitting physical comedy.

The five-day course will certainly keep you on your toes and promises to be both demanding and enlightening. During the course you will be exposed to and assessed in:

Combative Arts – Knife, Sword and Unarmed.

Physical Comedy Stunts – Falling, Tumbling, Prop Manipulation and Hard-hitting Knockabout.

Clowning – Failure, Naivety, Stupidity, Vulnerability, Pleasure & Discovery.

Get your skills and confidence in tune for the New Year and add to your skills and capability in performance. The course will cater to all levels of experience and abilities – those who have done this work before and those who are fresh. In fact, if this is the kind of work you find difficult or confronting then this course comes highly recommended and offers the perfect place to explore and learn from one of the best – Scott Witt leading industry practitioner and teacher.



January 20th – 24th

$750 / $680 Early Bird (Dec 31st)

Information & Bookings – smilee@combatcircus.com

Website – www.combatcircus.com/home

Facilitator Bio

Scott Witt originally conceived Combat Circus in 1996 as a theatre company. With a philosophical view to blend the art forms of stage combat, physical comedy and clowning. Over the years the focus for Combat Circus has shifted to embrace the education and practice of these three spheres as well.

Scott is an award-winning entertainment practitioner and educator. With a career spanning over thirty years he continuously works in stage, television and film. Scott’s career embraces acting, adapting, writing, fight directing, directing, designing movement, physical dramaturgy, slapstick and clowning. His work has been seen with Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, Belvoir, Griffin, Opera Australia, Merrigong Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre, Queensland Theatre Company, Zen Zen Zo, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, NORPA, square the circle, Bare Boards Productions, Queensland Performing Arts Trust, Kooemba Jdarra, Opera Queensland, Queensland Ballet, Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe, someone, JUTE, Tropicsun and many independent features and short films. Performances Scott has directed have played throughout Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Europe and Hong Kong. During 2002 and 2003 he was the Intern and Associate Director for the Queensland Theatre Company under Michael Gow. In 2004 Scott completed a Master in Fine Arts at Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology.

As a drama lecturer his skill base includes Acting, Clowning, Street Theatre, Improvisation, Creative State, Mask, Commedia, Stage Combat, Fighting for Camera and Slapstick. He has taught nationally and internationally. Between 2009 and 2016 Scott was a lecturer in movement, improvisation and comedy at the National Institute of Dramatic Art and was resident lecturer at QUT from 1997 to 2009 in stage combat and clowning. He has also been a recipient of two Arts Queensland Grants and one Arts NSW Grant for the further development of Stage Combat and Fight Direction. In 2005 Scott received Arts Queensland Grant to stage his one-man clowning show: Handyman. Scott received a Matilda Award for his Direction of Road to the She-Devil’s Salon at Queensland Theatre Company and Long-Term Role as a Fight Director in 2003. His critically acclaimed adaptation and direction of Scapin (a co-production between Queensland Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australian) received a Mo Nomination in 2004 for Best Theatre Production of the Year. For his work in 2005 Scott received two Matilda Awards for Best Director (A Christmas Carol for Queensland Theatre Company) and Contribution to Queensland Theatre. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Paddy Crean Award for his Influence and promotion of the historical study of Stage Combat at the International level.

Scott has been the Artistic Director for the International Order of the Sword and the Pen since 2009. He was the President of the Society of Australian Fight Directors Incorporated from 1996 to 2007, an Honorary Member of the British Academy of Dramatic Combat, Honorary Fight Director of Fight Directors, Canada, and an Honorary Fight Director of the Independent Fight Directors Guild of America. Scott is a proud platinum member of Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance since 1988.

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