Not many faculty can claim the sword fighting is part of their classes regularly. But for Professor Matthew Crider it is. Matthew Crider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre teaching acting and movement classes. His areas of specialization are character movement/clowning, and stage combat. A member of the Society of American Fight Directors, Professor Crider has earned certification in all theatrical weapon styles that the society offers. He has taught and choreographed stage combat across the country for over a decade, including productions of Cirque Du Soleil-Styled acrobatic styled The Three Musketeers, and a new adaptation of the Chinese play The Orphan of Zhao.
Matthew Crider, Rapier/Dagger fight with Mike Speck
Three Musketeers choreography by Matthew Crider
Since joining Murray State University, Professor Crider has worked to connect his students to Society of American Fight Directors, and the artistic community of movement artists. In 2014, Professor Crider brought a dozen MSU students to the Winter Wonderland Workshop, a stage combat training workshop in Chicago attracting hundreds of industry experts. Four Murray State students have attended the National Stage Combat Workshop, the premiere training intensive in the country for certification in staged violence, and two received major awards for their work. Murray State students have been training across the country now for years in Illinois, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Iowa.
Murray State Students Training at Des Moines Combat Workshop
At Murray State, Professor Crider has secured guest artists from the SAFD to teach certification classes to Murray Students. Most recently, over spring break, he assisted Certified Instructor Zev Steinberg and Fight Master Charles Coyl in a grant-supported broadsword certification course for ten Murray State University students. These workshops teach both safe techniques for stage combat, and performance philosophy on how and why violence is staged in live theatre. This year, and in the two previous skills test workshops at Murray State University in 2016 and 2014, the students had a 100% pass rate, putting Murray State well ahead of the national average of approximately a 70% pass rate.
Professor Crider focus on staged violence comes from a deep passion for movement arts and the performer. Alongside his work teaching character and clown movement, stage combat fits into his belief that emotion and intention should be treated as physical, not mental entities, and by embracing storytelling with the whole body, we connect more deeply to work than if we ignore the body and treat performance as an entirely intellectual process.
The College of Humanities and Fine Arts would like to congratulate Professor Crider on his excellent teaching and for receiving the grant for his Stage Combat Workshop!