Stage Combat Instructor and Theatre Fight Choreographer Tom Jordan chats to Carley Jones about his not so average career path...
I must admit when I think back to the list of possible career paths given when growing up, a stage combat instructor and theatre fight choreographer is not one that springs to mind. So how did Tom decide that this was the career for him.
‘I’d always loved theatre and used to work as a professional actor, as my passion for stage combat grew, my passion for acting waned and I had some excellent mentors and teachers (with the same organisation I am now a senior teacher and vice chairperson for) who helped me then get as much experience and make as many connections to gain employment in my chosen field.’
Tom teaches with the Academy of Performance Combat and is an Associate Practitioner with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He does, however, remain freelance and manages his own company running APC courses and providing fight choreography for a number of educational institutes, drama schools and theatre companies under the name ‘Tom Jordan - The Action Emporium’.
He trained first with the BADC and did a two year apprenticeship, he now teaches alongside the same teachers in the APC (Academy of Performance Combat).
‘I started by doing a lot of jobs as an apprentice, this was unpaid but invaluable experience and gained contacts I have since built my career on. After my apprenticeship I was able to start gaining employment through those contacts. It was going into partnership a couple of years ago with my wife Danielle who also works in the industry that then led to pulling it all together, setting up the company and really being able to increase the work I do.’
An average day doesn’t exist for Tom, his career is so varied that one day he can be teaching students at the University of Gloucestershire, the next in a theatre company somewhere in the UK choreographing fights and the day after he could be hosting a drop in class at the Midland Hotel!
He is however, in the extremely lucky position that is able to travel with both his wife and baby daughter Scarlett, which helps bring the routine to his days. Career days at Scarlett’s school will certainly be interesting when Tom arrives!
Teaching has always been a rewarding profession and seeing his student’s progress and flourish is exactly what provides Tom with his proudest moments. ‘Every time I see a student or performer achieve something that when they first set in the room they never thought possible, that’s what really makes me proud and continues to drive me.’
Tom’s personal inspiration comes from is own teachers and mentors who helped him believe he could be successful whilst he is quick to give a special mention to his wife and daughter who ‘inspire me every day to drive forward and make every day worth the hard work!’
With one of the most interesting careers I have come across and with two days never the same I have to ask the question, what is next for Tom?
‘I’m extremely lucky to have achieved a lot of my future goals in the last year or so. Becoming a Lecturer in Stage Combat and working so frequently at the RSC were two of y big goals. Looking forward, I hope to be able to keep working in the industry I love and grow a local team further.’