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WIU Offers Stage Combat Minor

Theatre classes typically involve writing, acting, or stage production. But Western Illinois University is taking those expectations and putting a dagger in them. For the first time, the campus in Macomb will offer five classes to students who want to minor in “Stage Combat.”

Tammy Killian, Chair of the Theatre Department, says it’s not limited to theatre majors.

"It's open to anybody on campus. So if you're a business major and you need to get away from business and kick a little butt, you can take the stage combat minor. And it's a good way to take your mind off of other things."

Students will learn how to perform and choreograph fights using swords and daggers, firearms, and hand-to-hand. The Society of American Fight Directors will certify students who pass the classes, which Killian sees as a significant advantage in the industry.

"Students are really interested, not only just for theatre, but also film and for television. You see a lot of violence on film and television these days, and this is something that certainly could feed into that profession as well."

Killian estimates about 30 WIU students will earn the minor this year. Western is only the second college in the country to offer a stage combat minor.