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Biography



Born In England - Town called Staines. Raised by single parent. Working Class.

Left school at fifteen because of family economics. Worked as a chemical engineer for the leather industry. Left after three years to pursue theatrical career. Worked at various jobs to pay for Drama School training: Lumber yard manager, floor cleaner, bartender, car park attendant and construction worker.

At the age of nineteen attended full time at Corona Stage School. Studied with Paddy Crean, Errol Flynn's stunt double. Became a teacher there of mime, voice, dialect and stage combat. He also directed many projects at the Academy. In the sixties went on to study Aikido and stage combat with friend and mentor Barry Jackson.

Went on to teach at London Academy of Dramatic Art, Central School of Speech and Drama, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

By the seventies he had already established himself as one of the foremost Fight Directors in England, working for the B.B.C. and commercial T.V., the Royal Shakespeare Company and Movies with the likes of Roman Polanski.

He was a co-founder of the Society of British Fight Directors, now known as the British Society of Dramatic Combat. This organisation paved the way for similar societies which sprang up subsequently.

Came to America in 1971 to teach at a movement workshop in Dallas, Texas. Returned in 1973 to Lenox, Massachusetts with a Company, which he helped to found, the well-regarded Shakespeare & Co. Upon meeting Earl Gister, chairman of the drama dept. at Carnegie Mellon, he was invited to teach a course there.

From there he went on to teach at the Juilliard School, Yale, NYU, Temple, City College, Circle in the Square where he still teaches and many other universities around the country.

Back in England he helped form the Shared Experience theatre company with Michael Alfreds, developing a signature style of "Story Teller Theatre." Their production of Bleak House became the role model for Nicholas Nickleby.

Working for both the New York Shakespeare Festival here in the U.S. and the RSC in England, traveling between the two companies—and countries—became a regular occurrence. His work in and around the country is legion.

He now calls the U.S. home, living in Manhattan with his wife and daughter and a number of cats.

He has been awarded both a Drama Desk and an Obie Award for Sustained and Consistent Excellence in Stage Combat, and is the first Fight Director to receive a special Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.