You have to know your ‘shwing’ from your ‘swizzle’ if you’re going to cut it as a sword fighter in an exciting new Sheffield show.
They are nicknames for sword-fighting moves made up by the Crack Squad, who are part of the cast of Camelot: The Shining City.
The show involves a cast of 150, mostly members of Sheffield People’s Theatre, who are amateur actors.
They will tell a modern-day version of King Arthur, where a young woman leads a revolutionary movement which comes under attack.
The show also features gunplay and explosions.
None of the cast had swung a sword in anger, so fight director Liam Ford-Evans has been teaching them.
The group of 21 take part in the sword action in the show, which spills out of the Crucible into the city centre.
If you’ve wandered past the Crucible recently in the early evening, you may have seen the Crack Squad doing their Deathball pre-rehearsal warm-up, which is basically a three-way rugby-style game.
They have been doing army-style drills for weeks with Liam to get used to handling swords and fighting safely.
I was lucky enough to sit in on a rehearsal and see how the cast put all the shwings and swizzles together, learning attack and defence moves.
I also wielded a single-handed broadsword in a one-to-one session with Liam. It’s exciting and scary as the blades clash and clang.
Liam said: “We had a workshop with every single member of the cast from Sheffield People’s Theatre, so that everyone was given an idea of how to work with swords.
“We were looking for those who looked most confident with it and who were confident in the way they move. Not everyone wants to stand and have a sword fight!
“I’ve been teaching techniques and repetition and we put it together in the Peace Gardens for the final battle.”
Liam admits this show is a first for him with such a large cast roaming the city centre.
Liam got into fight directing when he trained as an actor and really enjoyed sword fighting, so he took his training to a higher level.
Liam is full of admiration for Alan and the Slung Low theatre company team who have put the whole show together with such a big cast.
The audience, cast and crew wear headphones. The cast and crew also hear the production team giving cues and instructions.
Liam said: “People should go because they will never see anything like it again, as well as what the headphones will give you with the sound brought directly to you and the music which sounds like a film score.
“Nothing has come to the city centre on this scale with all the things that Alan puts in his productions, with flamethrowers, sword fights, music and dance. It is really one not to be missed.”
Camelot: The Shining City is on from July 9 to 18.