To Action: Stage Combat – Whose Instinct Are You Relying On?

Bret Yount is a professional Stage Combat Teacher who has done work for many big name productions throughout the UK. He’s also worked with acting superstars, one of which is Benedict Cumberbatch on the 2019 London National Theatre production of Hamlet.

Hamlet Is A Heart-Breaking Production That Breathes Life Into Shakespeare: Review : The Indiependent

In a promo for that performance (video below), Bret describes how he helped the actors build in the right tension, emotion and realism into their performance. Methods such as aligning the beats with the script (to capture the emotion), and then choreographing off-beat strikes to build in realism.

But one key phrase stood out from the video. When discussing how to ensure the fights retained their dynamism, Bret says this:

“…because they’re the ones that have to do it every night, you know. We talked about keeping it fresh and… …When they’ve helped create it, and I’ve given structure to their ideas, it’s so much easier for them to play. Because it’s their instinct, rather than mine.”

It’s a beautiful description of the work that we, as Change Leaders, must do to build sustainable momentum, continuous improvement and ongoing growth.

Ultimately, as Change Leaders, we are not usually the do-ers.

We are the shapers.

We are the guides.

So, over the coming week – here’s a challenge for you.

Exercise a little trust.

Modify just one process to run more on your team’s instinct than your own.

And if you’re interested, here’s the video: