School of Theatrical Fencing & Stage Combat
Head Instructor and Fight Director -
Karin is the Founder and Head Fight Director and Instructor. Swordplay started because of her passion for film and theatre, rich background of performance and drama, combined with her extensive history of martial arts and fencing. Karin set up Swordplay in 2004 at Campbelltown. Followed by a second school at Blacktown.
A brief overview about Karin's weapon and martial arts background...
- Karin has always held a fascination for weapons, therefore sport fencing began under Fencing Master Rolland Von Zopf. Rolland has a rich history of teaching Theatrical Fencing and Sport Fencing in Australia for 40 years.
- Weapons for sport fencing include Epee, Foil and Sabre. During these years Karin learnt the use of Dagger with Rapier, combining 2 handed fighting. Also adding small shield and the use of 2 rapiers, Case of Rapier.
- Karin participated in 1990 & 2000 State Championships in Foil earning bronze and coming 8th place, 2000 National Championships in Foil and 2002 World Championships for Foil.
- Karin brings to Swordplay 5 years Judo - including competition.
- 7 years to Black Tip Tae Kwon Do - including sparring & breaking boards for demonstration.
- 5 years of study at Kokoro Ryu the art of Japanese Swordsmanship.
- Karin has a 1st Dan Black Belt in the Korean Sword Art of Haidong Gumdo under the World Haidong Gumdo Federation.
- 1st Dan Black Belt under Master Hyun Kyoo Jang Korean World Kummooyeh Federation. Including Live Blade Cutting, Archery, Still participating as time allows.
- Karin has studied a few years in Kali (Filipino stick) work. The beauty of this shorter style weapon is it can be adopted to double dagger work, unarmed etc.
- Karin has a Black Belt for Weapons Instruction in International Pankreation. Having choreographed for the Atlas Sports Club the Greek Polydarmus story for the Pankreation Games. The Team came second in 2004 National Pankreation Games and third in the World Pankreation Games.
- Karin studied knife over the years with various instructors like Rob Gear & Raymond Floro to name a few.
- Swordplay looks at at teaching Unarmed Stage Combat, Rapier, Dagger, Cloak & Dagger, Knife, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Sword & Buckler, Sword & Shield, Sabre, Case of Rapier & Katana.
- Karin is always looking to improve knowledge and bring more weapon knowledge to Swordplay.
- In 2006 Karin went to Italy to learn Fight Direction under fight directors from all over Europe.
- Karin was given daily tasks of creating fight choreography with combatants from around Europe who had come to participate.
- In the castle grounds. Scenarios were outlined in different areas, steps, hallways, open areas, various attackers from different directions. All had to be co-ordinated, choreographed, timed and performed.
- Karin also had to be aware of dangers and safety and complete a report to the Fight Directors each day.
- Karin also participated in the Torneo Capo Ferro Competition, Italy, at the end of the BADC course against 13 other performances. Awarded equal 3rd place with fight partner Kathleen Kennedy. They presented a story line fight using Case of Rapier.
- Karin at the same time was also certified in 2 Single Weapon Certificates in the British Academy of Dramatic Combat: Case of Rapier (Gold Level) & Hutton Sabre (High Silver Level) 2006.
Working with local groups....
- Karin actively supports local theatre organisations, performance schools & youth programs like ones held at the Joan theatre in Penrith.
- Training actors about safety then techniques to use what is needed for the scene.
- Karin has created fight choreography for local musicals and plays such as Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Oklahoma, Cats, Peter Pan, Man of La Mancha & The Three Musketeers.
- Karin also runs adult and teenager workshops at schools, musical societies or performance spaces.
Stage Combat is not all about the fighting, it's also about the performance...
- Karin is an accredited Theatre Sports Teacher. Trained under Lyn Peirce. Having participated in inner city competitions back in the day gaining experience in front of live audiences and learning to work with anyone in a group if your number got called. Learning improvisation is learning to become fearless.
- Karin has spent 2 years with Richard Hayes Marshall studying as part of a troupe, learning and creating different character personage. Along with physical theatre understanding the body dynamics of movement.
Richard Hayes Marshall has an extensive background in dance and drama styles such as Commedia Del Arte. This complemented Karin's history of dance.
- Studied acting for Camera through Reactor at Fox Studios
- 2 years at the Drama Action Centre under Peter Hall and is certified in Universal Mask, Improvisation, Dance, Clown, Story, Playback Theatre, Leadership & Teaching and understanding Sociodrama and Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed.
All the above training allowed Karin to create a 3-year drama curriculum which Karin was teaching at William Carey Christian School for 6 years. Subjects listed above were used and expanded on each year so that by year 6 on the student's graduation a 15 min drama production became the highlight of the school assembly all of year 6 incorporating 100 students for this end of year spectacular.
Also of Note...
- Karin also participates in medieval re-enactment fighting, gearing up in full armour. Using hand or hand and a half broad sword with or without shield.
- Combat archery using arrows with blunts and combatant's in armour.
- Traditional archery target shooting.
- Also qualified for Duelling Tourney with the Society of Creative Anachronism. These weapons are rapier, dagger, case of rapier, walking stick with fencing approved armour.
Senior Fight Instructor -
As a child, Kathleen was often tagging along with Karin to various training venues. Eventually she started learning as well and when Swordplay opened, she took up the role of Senior Instructor and Swordplay Administrator.
Kathleen has been training in stage combat and theatrical fencing for over 20 years. Proficient in (but not limited to) Unarmed Stage Combat, Rapier, Dagger, Cloak & Dagger, Knife, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Sword & Buckler, Sword & Shield, Sabre, Case of Rapier & Katana.
She is also a Stunt Performer (Stunt Actor Provisional) under the MEAA. Performing in productions such as The Tourist series, Home & Away, Winter, Blue World Order, Scavengers of the Scarlett Wastelands, Project Cleverman, A Place To Call Home, Janet King, The Secret Daughter 2, Rosehaven, Skinford 2, The Twelve, The Moogai & A Christmas Ransom. Kathleen also brings skills from a background in dance, Hapkido Korean Martial Arts, traditional archery and aerial circus arts (silks & lyra).
Kathleen creates fight choreography within Swordplay and assists Karin Kennedy in fight directing external productions and running workshops.
In 2006 Kathleen participated in the Torneo Capo Ferro Competition, Italy, at the end of the BADC course against 13 other performances. Awarded equal 3rd place with fight partner Karin Kennedy.
At the time was also certified in 3 Single Weapon Certificates in the British Academy of Dramatic Combat: Knife (Gold Level), Case of Rapier (Gold Level) & Hutton Sabre (High Silver Level) 2006.
Her performance history ranges from local festivals and corporate functions to the National Geographic Channel's promo of the "Perfect Weapon", product launches with Clinique, opening of the Theatresports Cranston Cup Grand Final 2016 and the book launch of “In the Land of Bad Dreams” by Kyla Ward.
Meet the Rest of the Swordplay Team
Fight Instructor -
Glen has been a member of Swordplay from it's second year running. He is one of our most experienced instructors and performers across a variety of weapons.
His performance history ranges from local festivals and corporate functions to the opening of the Theatresports Cranston Cup Grand Final 2016 and the book launch of “In the Land of Bad Dreams” by Kyla Ward.
Glen also participated in Liverpool Performing Arts Ensemble's 2022 production of Romeo & Juliet, playing the part of Tibult and assisting the Swordplay team in fight choreography for the production.
Glen also brings a background in drama, performance and new skills in aerial arts.
Assistant Fight Instructor -
Jess has been training with Swordplay for many years.
She is is also a regular at performances. She brings commitment and experience of the work to classes and teaching. In 2022 Jess particpated in her first professional gig and we're looking forward to many more!
Assistant Fight Instructor -
Dai is a longtime Swordplay member who is a regular at our performances, becoming a part of the professional troupe preforming at corporate shows. Dai also brings a background of sport fencing to the work.
Assistant Fight Instructor -
Mitch has been training with Swordplay for many years.
Not only is he a regular performing at our shows, Mitch also brings his experience of re-enactment weapons training in Denmark. He also performs at various corporate shows.