Rockland Community College Students Earn Distinction in Theatrical Stage Combat


Rockland Community College's (RCC) Visual and Performing Arts department proudly announces the successful completion of the Fall 2023 Skills Proficiency Tests (SPT) in Theatrical Stage Combat, a testament to the exceptional talent and dedication of its students.

On December 14, the Cultural Arts Theatre at RCC became the stage for a remarkable display of theatrical combat skills. The event featured students from the Theatrical Stage Combat courses participating in Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) certification tests for Broadsword and Quarterstaff disciplines.

Rockland Community College distinguishes itself as one of the few community colleges in the country offering Theatrical Stage Combat courses and Skills Proficiency Tests that are accredited by the Society of American Fight Directors. This program has achieved considerable success over the years, boasting a high certification rate among its participants.

"The dedication and skill our students have displayed in achieving their certifications is a reflection of the rigorous training and passion for the performing arts that defines RCC,” said Chris Plummer, SAFD Certified Teacher at Rockland Community College who instructs the Theatrical Stage Combat courses. “It has been my privilege to guide these talented individuals through the intricate art of stage combat. Their success is not just a personal victory but also an endorsement of the exceptional Visual and Performing Arts program we have nurtured here at Rockland Community College."

This year’s tests were adjudicated by J. David Brimmer, a former SAFD President, Fight Master, Broadway Fight Director, and Obie Award winner. Thirteen stage combatants, having met stringent eligibility requirements, participated in the rigorous certification test at RCC. This comprehensive examination challenged the Visual and Performing Arts students to demonstrate their skills through a combination of scene performance with choreography and participation in a Master Class. Following this, they underwent a reexamination by Fight Master Brimmer, with the entire process spanning over three hours.

All thirteen students emerged victorious, earning their certifications in Broadsword, Quarterstaff, or both. Notably, seven of these talented individuals received a higher SAFD certification called a Recommendation, indicative of their exceptional proficiency. Among them, two students received multiple Recommendations - Ryan McNeill and Frank McCue – who have both been recommended by Broadsword and Quarterstaff.

“I am immensely proud of the accomplishments of our students in the Theatrical Stage Combat courses. Their recent achievements showcase not only their individual talents but also the strength of RCC’s Visual and Performing Arts program,” stated Dr. Lester Rápalo, President of RCC. “These certifications are a significant milestone in their theatrical journey and a testament to the high-quality training provided by the department. Congratulations to all the students for setting such a high standard of excellence and bringing distinction to themselves and Rockland Community College.”

Patty Maloney, an Advanced Actor Combatant affiliated with the Society of American Fight Directors, plays a pivotal role as the Program Director. Each semester, students can choose from an array of disciplines including Broadsword, Single Sword, Smallsword, Broadsword & Shield, Knife, Unarmed, Rapier & Dagger, and Quarterstaff. Additionally, the college's popular Cinema Studies course in Screen Combat features a unique Lightsaber course during the summer, culminating in a total of nine distinct courses over a two-year span. This spring semester, the offerings include Single Sword and Unarmed, followed by the Lightsaber course in Summer Session II.

More information about RCC’s Visual and Performing Arts courses can be found online:

The students who earned certifications are as follows:

  • Felix Vazquez Ayala (*Recommended in Quarterstaff)
  • Frank McCue (*Recommended in Broadsword and Quarterstaff)
  • Emily Gerges (*Recommended in Broadsword)
  • Kelly Shroba (*Recommended in Quarterstaff)
  • Jo Lopez (*Recommended in Broadsword)
  • Ryan McNeill (*Recommended in Broadsword and Quarterstaff)
  • Brandon Ali (*Recommended in Quarterstaff)
  • Andrew Rye (Basic Pass in Broadsword)
  • Michael Rye (Basic Pass in Broadsword)
  • Jason Mattos (Basic Pass in Broadsword)
  • Aiden Robinson (Basic Pass in Broadsword)
  • Noah Holand (Basic Pass in Quarterstaff)
  • Emma Sarmiento (Basic Pass in Quarterstaff)

For more information about Rockland Community College visit our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and more:

About Rockland Community College

Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCC’s institutional collaborations. RCC fosters an environment that attracts, recruits, supports, and retains faculty, staff, and students who value diversity. The College promotes a collegial and inclusive environment by recognizing, promoting, embracing, respecting, and celebrating the expansive range and dimensions of cultures, attitudes, ideas, and viewpoints contained within our campus community.

RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and micro credentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at

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