The Academy of Dramatic Combat is composed of independent instructors who, through experience, have constructed a set of guidelines for the teaching of stage combat and combat techniques for film and television.
John Stead is Head of Stage Combat for the Stratford Festival of Canada, a Master Instructor - Emeritus with the Academy of Dramatic Combat, Stage Combat Coordinator for The National Theatre School, and a member of the Society of Canadian Fight Directors. He has over 600 professional theatre credits as a fight director including 24 seasons as the fight director for the Stratford Festival and 18 seasons with the Shaw Festival. He has worked across Canada and the U.S. with numerous companies including: Soulpepper Theatre, Canadian Stage Company, the National Ballet, Mirvish Productions, Theatre Passe Muraille, Tarragon Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Factory Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Studio Arena Theatre, the Geva Theatre in Rochester, the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C., Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Los Angeles Ahmanson Theatre and the Lincoln Centre on Broadway.
He has stunt performed on over 250 TV episodes and films and stunt coordinated the action sequences for more than 500 film and television episodes in Canada and abroad. As a Director, John has directed for several television series including: Designated Survivor, Dark Matter, Bitten, The Bobby Buck Show, Lost Girl, XIII, The Dresden Files, Mutant X, Tracker, Earth: Final Conflict and The Adventures of Sinbad. His short films include The Hot Flash for Wishing Field Entertainment, End Game for Wake Up Fast Productions, Charon’s Obal for Right Side Up Productions and the multiple award winning film, The Waking for Boomerang Films. He has also directed the feature films Troubled Waters for Genius Productions/Peace Arch Entertainment, Cyborg Soldier for Nu Image/Peace Arch Entertainment and Good Morning Tomorrow for Southern Ice Films. Mr. Stead has taught at the National Theatre School, as well as, the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo, Humber, Saskatchewan and Wilfred Laurier.
He’s been awarded an Award of Excellence (Canadian International Film Festival), a Genre Award for Best Suspense (BNFF), the Derek F. Mitchell Artistic Director’s Award (Stratford Festival), the Judges Choice Award (15 Minutes of Fame International Film Festival), a Tyrone Guthrie Award (Stratford Festival), Best Short 1st Runner-Up (Ticket to Hollywood International Film and Screenplay Festival) and nominated for a Best Short Award (Directors Guild of Canada).
Affiliations include: DGC, CAEA, ACTRA, ADC, SCFD
Steve Wilsher is a Master Instructor - Emeritus with the Academy of Dramatic Combat and a former Fight Master of the British Academy of Dramatic Combat. He is a member of The Society of Canadian Fight Directors, Canadian Actors Equity Association and ACTRA. Prior to coming to Canada he taught at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff for sixteen years; where he introduced stage and film combat as an integral part of the acting curriculum. He also instigated the combat courses at Friars Gate, Exeter and the Oxford Drama School. He has taught guest lectures or examined at all of the major drama schools in the United Kingdom. He now teaches fighting for film in the Acting for Film and Television program at Humber College and stage combat in the Theatre Department at Ryerson University. He continues an active professional career as a stunt coordinator, performer and fight director.
Some of the companies he’s worked for are: Resurgence Theatre, The English Shakespeare Company, The Royal Ballet Company, The Canadian National Ballet, The Canadian Opera Company, The Welsh National Opera Company, Soulpepper Theatre, Mirvish Productions, BBC, S4C Television and Channel 4 Television, Discovery Channel, Space Channel, MTV and Disney.
Dr. Kara Wooten’s credits include academic pursuits as well as professional theatre, television, and film work. She is a Senior Fight Director with The Society of Canadian Fight Directors and a Master Instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat. Kara is the author of “Acted Aggression” a manual of basic stage combat techniques.
Selected Directing credits: Hamlet (Outstanding Production : Metrolina Theatre Awards), Twelfth Night, Fuente Ovejuna, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Life and How to Avoid It (Winner of the Toronto Fringe Festival Patron’s Pick Award), The Rocky Horror Show, and A Christmas Carol.
Selected Fight Directing credits: Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie, Cyrano De Bergerac at Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Reservoir Dogs, ’Night Mother, The Rover, Hamlet, Richard III, The Three Musketeers, Guys and Dolls, The Five Vengeances, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Selected Opera Fight Directing Credits: Cyrano, Macbeth at Michigan Opera Theatre, Romeo Et Juliette at Opera Carolina, Lyric Opera, Grand Rapids Opera, Virginia Opera, Toledo Opera, Barbor of Sevilla, Fancuilla de West, Pagliacci, Tosca, Aleko.
Selected Film and Television stunt credits: Designated Survivor, 12 Monkeys, Bitten, Dark Matter, Rookie Blue, Transporter the Series, XII the Series, The Waking, Baxter, Aaron Stone, The Mad, Heart Stopper, Mutant X, and The Dresden Files.
She has also assisted and worked extensively with Fight Director and Stunt Coordinator John Stead at The Stratford Festival of Canada, Shakespeare Works, Geva Theatre, Opera Ontario, and Soulpepper Theatre. She is the first female to be certified as a Fight Master/Director/Stage Combat Instructor in Canada and currently serves as President of the Academy of Dramatic Combat.
Teaching credits include: Opera Carolina, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Stratford Festival’s Birmingham Conservatory, Soulpepper, Equity Showcase, Humber College, Ryerson University, Fanshawe College, Queens University of Charlotte, University of Kentucky, Lees McRae College, and Texas Tech University. Kara is a member ACTRA and Canadian Actors Equity.
James Binkley is a Senior Instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat and a member of the Society of Canadian Fight Directors. He has over 200 professional production credits as a fight director including 10 seasons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and 11 seasons at the Canadian Opera Company. He has worked throughout Canada with numerous companies including the Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage Company, Soulpepper, the National Ballet, the National Arts Centre, Obsidian Theatre Company, the Factory Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Big Art Productions in Montreal, and (r)evolution theatre in Vancouver.
He also works as an actor, stunt performer and stunt coordinator. His acting credits include Nikita, Flashpoint, Beauty and the Beast, The Border, and Heartstopper, credits as a stunt performer number well into the hundreds including Rookie Blue, Breakout Kings, Cinderella Man, RED, The Incredible Hulk, and Land of the Dead, and he has been the stunt coordinator for movies such as Cyborg Soldier, Adoration, Animal 2, and The Last Sect.
Neil Adams is a graduate from the Humber College School of Creative and Performing Arts, a founding member of Violence in Motion, an instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat, fight director and stunt performer. He has taught with Steve Wilsher at Humber College while actively pursuing his stunt and acting career. He has worked with the Canadian Opera Company, the National Arts Centre, Grand Theatre (Quebec), Ryerson University, Glendale S.S., and Wexford Collegiate.
Selected stunt credits: Suicide Squad, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Flatliners, Kin,Designated Survivor, Salvation, American Gods, 11.22.63, Heroes: Reborn, Dark Matter, The Strain, Reign, Robocop, Played, and The Listener.
Stratford Festival 2017: Associate Fight Director of Treasure Island, Romeo & Juliet, Twelfth Night, Guys and Dolls, HMS Pinafore, School for Scandal, Timon of Athens, The Changeling
Blyth Festival 2014: Fight Director of Kitchen Radio and Stag & Doe
Canadian Opera Company 2014: Assistant Fight Director of Don Quichotte
Stratford Festival 2013: Assistant Fight Director of The Three Musketeers, Romeo and Juliet, Fiddler on the Roof, Blithe Spirit, Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart
Stage Combat Instructor at the National Theatre School in Montreal.
Select TV and Film Stunt Performer Credits: Dark Matter, Designated Survivor, 12 Monkeys, Murdoch Mysteries, Bitten, Reign, The Listener, XIII: The Series
Julia Porter is a Toronto-based Actor, Stunt Performer, Stage Combat Instructor, and Fight Director. She is a graduate of the Theatre Performance Program at Humber College and has received her Honours BA from The University of Guelph where she majored in Drama. She completed her Advanced Actor Combatant Certification with the Academy of Dramatic Combat and has since graduated to Instructor with the ADC. Julia is a Stage Combat Instructor at Violence in Motion; a training company she co-founded, as well as an Instructor with Steve Wilsher at Humber College.
Selected Theatre (acting): Crees in The Carribean (Magnus Theatre), The Night Hart Crane Kissed Me (Toronto Fringe), Albertine in Five Times (Freelance Prod.), Melancholiac: Music of Scott Walker (Bad New Days/Summerworks), KOMUNKA (Hooligans Theatre), Till Eulenspiegel (Humber Theatre).
Selected Film/TV (acting): Conviction, Taken, and Odd Squad.
Selected Stunts: Designated Survivor, Dark Matter, Coffee Grinder, Ubisoft/MoCap, and Saving Hope.
Selected Fight Direction/Assistant Fight Direction: The Night Hart Crane Kissed Me (Toronto Fringe), Julius Caesar (Spur-of-the-Moment Shakespeare Collective), Macbeth/Richard III (Wolf Manor Theatre Collective), The Three Musketeers (Windsor University), Peter Pan (Glendale S.S.), Les Miserables (Wexford Collegiate), and shows with Humber College and Ryerson University.
Jamie Treschak is a Graduate of the University of Windsor’s Drama Program and founding member of Violence in Motion. After becoming an instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat, Treschak has gone on to teach at many schools including: Ryerson, Fanshawe College, St. Clair College, Brock University and the University of Windsor. Treschak has worked for Sibling Rivarly Fight Co., and Havoc Stunts. He continues to fight direct and instruct stage combat for professional and independent theatres throughout the GTA, Niagara region and Windsor-Essex County.
Fight Direction credits include: The Three Musketeers, Rashomon, As You Like It, Zastrozzi, Evil Dead: the Musical, MacBeth, Dangerous Liaisons, Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet and many more.
Jennifer Dzialoszynski began her training with The ADC while studying at Ryerson University, where she graduated from the Acting Department of the Theatre School with a BFA, Honours. Since graduation she has worked at theatres across the country, and continues to perform, fight direct, and teach. Fight direction credits include shows at Ryerson University, Humber College, York University – Glendale College, Beacon Theatre, Toronto Fringe Festival, Toronto Summerworks Festival, Shakespeare Bash’d and others.
Acting credits include: Four seasons at The Shaw Festival, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (My Theatre Award Nomination), A Woman Of No Importance, Pygmalion, You Never Can Tell, When We Are Married, The Sea, Half an Hour, Harvey; The Three Musketeers, Antony and Cleopatra for The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival; Hamlet (My Theatre Award Winner) for Shakepeare Bash’d; Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind for The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre; Macbeth, The Taming of The Shrew for Canadian Stage; August: Osage County for The Citadel Theatre; Kindertransport (Dora Nomination) for The Harold Green Jewish Theatre; Hana’s Suitcase for The Grand Theatre among others.
Her stunt performer credits include: Rogue, Dark Matter, Bitten, XIII The Series, Aaron Stone, Orphan, Child Wild and others. Jennifer was the stunt coordinator for the films Picture Day (TIFF) and Public Service.
Ryan Tucker is an Instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat and stunt performer with Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Ryan has taught at the Academy of Dramatic Combat Workshop and Conference, Lees-McRae College, Opera Carolina, and Queens University in Charlotte.
Fight directing credits include: Mystery of Edwin Drood, Oklahoma!, Beauty and the Beast, Night of Faith, and The Sunset Limited. Ryan has assisted Dr. Kara Wooten with Opera Carolina’s Romero Et Julietta and Wake Forest’s She Kills Monsters. Ryan also holds a position as a fight coordinator and choreographer at Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Julianne Dransfield is an actor and theatre creator from Milton, Ontario. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A in Theatre Studies before attending Humber College’s Theatre Performance program. While at Humber, Julianne fell in love with the art of stage combat and is now a Basic Level Instructor with the Academy of Dramatic Combat and an Associate Stage Combat Instructor at Humber College and Ryerson University. Julianne is currently an Assistant Producer with Smoothieland Performance Projects, creating new theatre for young audiences.
Selected Film/TV: Designated Survivor (SSE with Stunts), Stockholm (SSE with Stunts), Autopsy (Stunt Safety), Dark Matter (SSE with Stunts).
Selected Theatre: The Team (Safe Words New Canadian Play Festival), Teach Her My Name (HamilTEN Festival), Albertine in Five Times (Freelance Prod.), Melancholiac (Bad New Days Performing Arts), Approaching Zero (Humber Theatre/Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace) and This Side of Heaven (Humber Theatre).