Carson School Stage Combat

Carson School Stage Combat poster
Carson School Stage Combat poster

Carson School Stage Combat

Stabbing! Slapping! Slicing! Stunts!

Certified Teachers

The Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film is one of the most accomplished schools in stage combat in the country boasting three certified teachers of stage combat, making UNL the only university that has three teachers of that rank or higher:

  • Ian Borden: An actor, director, scholar and Certified Teacher of Stage Combat with the SAFD, Ian teaches at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Recent acting credits include Unnecessary Farce at the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, As You Like It for the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival and The Three Musketeers for the Blackhills Playhouse. He has directed a myriad of shows, including Three Musketeers, Agravio! and Twelfth Night for the Carson School. Fight Direction credits extend from theatres in Canada all the way to the Bahamas. Ian is also the founder of the annual Lincoln Assassination Stage Combat Workshop. Ian has a Master of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a PhD in Theatre Studies from Florida State University, and is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
  • Harris Smith: Harris is currently the Interim Director for the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film. He earned his M.F.A in Acting from the University of Washington. He is a Certified Teacher of Stage Combat through the S.A.F.D. He just recently served as fight director for St. Louis Black Repertory's production of Othello. Other fight direction and movement coaching includes; Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Capital Repertory (NY) and Seattle Children's Theatre to name a few. Some of his theatrical credits include; Utah Shakespeare Festival, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), Sacramento Theatre Company, Shakespeare on the Green (Nebraska), Illinois Shakespeare Festival as well as other national and international venues. Film credits include; Runaway Train, Singles, Past Midnight, Amazing Grace & Chuck, Seven Hours to Judgement, and Chips the War Dog.
  • Paul Steger: Paul Steger was the Director of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film and Executive Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre from 2005-2016. Steger has taught at some of America's most renowned theatre training programs, including Webster University's Conservatory, the North Carolina School of the Arts, Florida State University and the Asolo Conservatory. He is a member of Actor's Equity and the Screen Actor's Guild with numerous credits in the film, television and theatre industries. He is a proud member of the National Theatre Conference. Steger has directed more than 40 productions for the educational and professional theatre including River Stage, Nebraska Theatre Caravan, Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival, and the St. Louis and Nebraska Repertory Theatres. His collaborations with a variety of video and performance artists have played such venues as Franklin Furnace (NYC), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Contemporary Museum of Art (Glasgow), and the Ljubljana Festival (Croatia). AEA, SAG, National Theatre Conference, U/RTA, NAST

Maestro David Boushey

  • The Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film is honored to house the David Boushey Library and Armory. Maestro Boushey is the Founder of the Society of American Fight Directors, the United Stuntmens’ Association, and the International Stunt School. He holds over 400 theatre credits and has made over 60 films in a career that spans more than 40 years. Maestro Boushey has been a master teacher for more than 100 universities and colleges throughout North America and Europe. During his career, he has been a fight director, stunt coordinator, stuntman, actor, and instructor. Maestro Boushay gifted the Carson School with an abundance of books, fight choreography and memorabilia from his career.

Noted Alumnae and Professional Stunt Woman Jessie Graff

  • Graff, a 2007 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Performance, has spent the last ten years in Los Angeles working as a stunt woman. Her screen credits include: “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon,” “X-Men: First Class,” “Bridesmaids,” and “Live Free or Die Hard.” A few of her television credits include: “NCIS,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “K.C. Undercover,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Leverage,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Castle,” “Modern Family,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Southland.” She recently has made a name for herself as a finalist on “American Ninja Warriors.”

Lincoln Assassination Workshops 2010-2015

  • The Lincoln Assassination, a Society of American Fight Directors sanctioned combat workshop, included classes in weapons (broadsword, single sword, rapier and dagger, quarterstaff, knives, etc.) and unarmed fighting for the stage and screen, gun safety, police tactics, blood effects, and stunt casting.
  • Notable Instructors:
    • David Boushey: Founder SAFD
    • Peter Abraham: Hollywood Steadicam operator
    • Aaron Anderson: Fight Director and former US Army explosive ordinance specialist with an MFA, a PHD and academic appointments in a Department of Theatre, a Department of Internal Medicine, and an Executive MBA Program
    • Jacki Armit: Certified Teacher
    • Jason Armit: Fight Director/Certified Teacher
    • Brian Byrnes: Fight Master, Fight Director, Certified Teacher
    • Dale Girard: Fight Master, Fight Director, Choreographer and author of the stage combat manual “Actors On Guard.”
    • Jessie Graff: Professional Stunt Woman
    • Charles Coyl: Fight Master
    • Robb Hunter: Fight Director and Teacher
    • Michael Johnson: Certified Teacher
    • Geoffrey Kent: Fight Director
    • Michelle Ladd: Motion Capture Specialist, Stunt Coordinator
    • Robert Macdougall: Fight Director, Stunt Coordinator
    • Scot J. Mann: Fight Master, Fight Director
    • Nigel Poulton: Fight Director, Weapon and Movement Specialist
    • Richard Ryan: Fight Master, Fight Director and Stunt Coordinator
    • Jason Tipsword: Fight Choreographer
    • Christina Traister: Fight Director
  • The Lincoln Assassination Workshops included opportunities for Skills Proficiency Testing by a Fight Master in order to become a certified actor combatant and an advanced certified actor combatant.
    • An SAFD Fight Master has demonstrated the highest level of professional experience as a teacher and fight director in the academia and in professional theatre. Elected by a college of their peers, SAFD Fight Masters are the only members of the SAFD endorsed to adjudicate Skills Proficiency Tests and to serve as Master Teachers at our National Stage Combat Workshops. There are currently only seventeen.