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  • Erin Madigan White

Lights! Camera! Combat? Glenfield Students Learn the Art of Stage Fighting

Updated: May 6

Last month, Glenfield Middle School students had the unique opportunity to learn the art of stage combat from a professional actor and fight director, thanks to a grant from the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence. 


The school’s 2024 musical, Fiddler on the Roof, which will be staged on April 26 and 27, includes a fight scene. Glenfield drama teacher Thomas Lupfer saw a teachable moment and the chance to open students’ eyes to possibilities beyond the Glenfield stage.


“We think it is essential that this moment in our production be handled with the utmost sensitivity, particularly considering the current geopolitical climate,” Lupfer said.


The workshops, taught by Glenfield alumnus Collin Kelly-Sordelet, who is a professional fight director/combat instructor, were held for the 62 students who are cast in the musical and also for acting classes in 6th through 8th grades. 


“Many Glenfield students have interest in pursuing the arts beyond their K-12 education, and we want to provide a connection to someone who went to Nishuane, Hillside, Glenfield

and MHS and is now pursuing a career in the arts,” Lupfer said.

MFEE got a peek at the workshops in action: Student actors learned vocabulary, movement technique, safety, and the proper way to rehearse and perform a staged fight. They also seemed to have a lot of fun. 


"We are very grateful for the MFEE supporting creative educators such as Mr. Lupfer when they have an idea that will enrich the classroom experience for our students!" said Glenfield Assistant Principal Vincent Pelli


Each year, MFEE funds approximately $60,000 in Educational Excellence grants that fuel innovation and enhance classroom learning. These grants are made possible through generous donations from our supporters, and key fundraisers such as our “Toast to the Teachers,” family-hosted parties held each spring. 


“We’re so glad MFEE could play a role in strengthening arts education for Glenfield kids,” said Masiel Rodriquz-Vars, executive director of MFEE. “Unique, hands-on training like this

gives kids a broader context about the art they’re making and the world around them. We hope they are inspired, and we can’t wait for audiences to see the show!”

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