Links to Stories of Stage Combat Gone Wrong
These are links to news stories (and one dissertation) about stage combat incidents gone horribly wrong, often with the result of serious injury. J. Allen Suddeth has a great and terrifying list of these types of stories in his book. If you are ever in doubt over the value of hiring a competent fight director and/or making sure your weapons are safe, have a look at some of these stories.
All of these situations were avoidable. While I do feel some responsibility to collect these stories, my personal hope is to add to this page as infrequently as possible.
Click here to go back to Stage Combat Resources
"Actor Cuts Own Throat On Vienna Stage" - BBC News, December 2008
"Actor Shot During Performance of Passion" - UK Telegraph, October 2010
"Actor Accidentally Shot During Florida Play Rehearsal" - FOX/AP, January 2009
"Director Accidentally Shoots Actor During Play Rehearsal" - Guardian, UK, January 2009 (Different Story about the same incident as above)
"Antony and Cleopatra Goes On After Swordfight Injury" - Hartford News Courant, October 2010
"Stage Injuries, New and Old" - Mandell, Jonatha - tdf Stages
"Broken in San Fransisco" - An article by Durand Garcia in The Cutting Edge: Newsletter of the SAFD
"Abuse On the Job" - An article by Lillian Rodriguez in The Cutting Edge: Newsletter of the SAFD
"Spider Man Stuntman, Citing Injuries, Starts Legal Action" - The New York Times, April 2012 (Many of you know that the list of accidents that plagued this production is pretty extensive. At this time I'm choosing not to dwell on them.)
"Brazilian Actor Playing Judas Accidentally Hangs Himself During Passion of the Christ Play" - Yahoo News, April 2012
"Student was Injured by Sword During School Play Rehearsal - Lawsuit Claims - AnnArbor.com
"Award-Winning Actor ‘Robbed of his Good Looks’ After Being Shot in the Eye with a Replica Gun on Stage Files £250,000 Damages Claim" - Daily Mail, UK, July 2012
"Homeland's Damien Lewis: My Favorite Mistake" - Interview by Kara Cutruzzila in Newsweek. (A famous actor recalls how not taking care of himself offstage led him to being hospitalized from a stage combat accident onstage.)
"Gun Drama for RSC Actor: The RSC actor who injured his hand with a stage gun is not the first to sustain an on-stage injury" - Lynne Gardner in the Guardian - (This article mentions several other accidents as well.)
"Blanchett Injured in Stage Fight" - Richard Jinman, Sydney Morning Herald, September 2009 - Fame does not save you from accidents
"Dancer Talks About His Stabbing During a Performance" - Associate Press, May 18, 1988 - This one is just outright foolishness and insanely dangerous.
"The Greatest Show on Turf: COLOSSAL" - Danielle Rosvally, New England Theatre Geek - A rare occasion of a reviewer pointing out in detail when a company should have hired a fight director and did not.
"2 Shot During Old West Gunfight Reenactment In Tombstone, Colorado" - Ed Mazza, Huffpost Crime, October 19, 2015.
"Film students with replica weapons cause panic, force closure of 101 Freeway" - Matt Hamilton, The Los Angeles Times
"Actor Faces Jail Time Over Prop Gun Used in Movie Shoot" - Howard Thompson, PIX 11, January 26, 2016
"Japanese Actor Dies After Samurai Sword Incident" - The Guardian, February 16, 2016
"Actor Injured on TV Set in Sudbury" - The Sudbury Star, March 24, 2016
"Sweeney Todd School Musical Called Off After Two Boys' Necks Cut" -The Guardian, April 7, 2016
"St Kentigern ignored advice on razor blades for Sweeney Todd, prop supplier says" - Stuff, April 8, 2016
Violent Conventions: An Analysis of the Unintended Aesthetics of On-Stage Accidents, Reynolds, Jeremy Matthew, Dissertation. Louisiana State University 2016