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11th July 2016

Featured ID Team Member: Richard Highgate

Today's featured ID Team member is Richard Highgate. Richard came from a background in historical reenactment and was able to utilise his weapon skills and develop them for use in film and theatre, which he does regularly.
What is your job?
I'm an actor and cameraman, mostly working on historical, fantasy and Sci-fi productions such as The Bastard Executioner, Merlin, Doctor Who and The White Princess.

How did you get into stage combat?
I first tried stage combat as training for the webseries [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXin-RxcOww&index=57&list=PLLWk7poNtWLV4sPy1IQlfsaGiGoMvttL_"]Chronicles of Syntax[/url], where all cast were taken away on a two week intensive BASSC training course in Leeds with ID.

How long have you been training in stage combat?
About 6 years, on and off.

What courses and/or workshops have you done with ID?
BASSC Basic with unarmed and rapier & dagger, Firearms training and lots of Combat Lab drop in sessions.

What is your favourite weapon or unarmed style?
Longsword, using Leichtenaur Germanic school of arms - the longsword is a very effective weapon.

What has been the favourite part of your training?
My favourite part of training is working with rapier - it's a completely different style of combat to that which I'm used to (strength, leverage and heavy armour) which really forces me to raise my game.

In what ways has stage combat training helped you?
The training has helped me co-ordinate my body which has given me the opportunity to join the Doctor Who monster crew and allowed me to fight alongside the stunt teams on big budget Hollywood films.

Have you had any work through ID?
I've had a couple of interesting roles through ID - one being a pimp and another being an Albanian drug trafficker... both ended badly for my characters on screen.

What has been your favourite fight related job?
My favourite fight related job has to have been as one of Blackbeards Pirates and fight team on Pan, where I fought with two main cast members at the same time.

What would be your ideal job?
I'm living my ideal job. Real life can suck a big one.

Do you have any funny/interesting stage combat stories?
On the Doctor Who double episode "Asylum of the Daleks" I had to take a kick in the chest from Matt Smith. Once I'd regained my breath and checked to make sure my ribs and sternum weren't completely caved in, I took Matt over to one side and had to remind him that a kick for TV or stage REALLY doesn't have to be full force - and then had to teach him how to perform a safe kick.

What is your favourite fight you've seen in a film or stage production and why?
My favourite fight is probably, and predictably, the rapier fight between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride. The technical skill and entertainment of the fight is amazing, considering neither of the actors had used a sword six weeks before they shot the scene.

Do you have any fight related work or training coming up?
Coming up I have a day swordfighting on The White Princess, a week as another monster (no spoilers, sweetie) on the Doctor Who spinoff Class and currently being considered as a Roman soldier on a new series called Britannica and as a special action rioter on a feature film.

From your experience what advice would you give to someone wanting to be a fight performer?
Cardio! Lots of cardio! Being able to fight convincingly is great, but if you can't keep going for more than a minute at a time you'll be no use to anyone - get your stamina up and tone your thighs, the footwork will ruin you otherwise.

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