July 2015: Christ!? I really need to update this page, another year has gone by so quickly. The big news so far is that Northern Forge and Neil have been choreographing the fights for a Macbeth feature being filmed at Green Screen Studios in Bubwith. NF also provided all the swords after a certain company - that should be run out of York - sold the props department "wall-hangers" as combat-ready swords. Utterly disgraceful money grabbers putting peoples lives at risk. :(
July 2014: To kick off July it is my great pleasure to announce that Northern Forge is now a trading partner with BA Blades: Cold Steel UK, so if you see anything on their website that you desire be sure to ask me and I'll do my best to quote you an even better price (the shame is I don't have the space to list everything but if Cold Steel UK list it, I can get it)! This month I also joined Ting Tang Theatre once again - as a Squire for the Joust they organised at Fulford Barracks, York - before zooming straight of the next morning for Wallsend Festival 2014, to do yet more longsword demos with regular fight partner Stu Perry. A Viking session up in Peterlee was good fun as it meant I was able to visit a friend in Durham once I was done; Durham is rather nice. This month of July is particularly special to me, and not just because of new partnerships and repeat customers; this month saw the first anniversary of Northern Forge as a completely Freelance enterprise, and do you know what? Neil hasn't starved. Onwards and upwards methinks! Neil finished the month by going back up to Housesteads Roman Fort - only this year for the first two weekends of summer Neil played the Roman Auxiliary. June 2014: June was a little quiter again with Viking outreach as always, a VIP do at Conisborough Castle, with History's Maid, for the opening of the new visitor centre - I was lording it up literally as Hamelin de Warrenne. :) And June finished with a longsword demo and feast up at Catterick Garrison with Ting Tang Theatre.
May 2014:May saw us kick off with a bit more filming, this time for the cult webseries Nights at the Round Table, which involved playing a massive geek (easy) running around the woods in a big Nerf battle (double easy). Did a little more BPP mock-court work again, and the usual Viking outreach sessions. I also acted in a short horror flick called 'The Door' directed by Cal O'Connell of RKO Pictures. Great fun, can't wait to finish doing the ADR and see the fruits of our labours. Toward the end of the month things got really really good: I finally started training in Knife and Tomahawk throwing, and it turns out I am a natural; check out Northern Forge's new range of Cold Steel Tomahawks! Neil was also flown down to Jersey for the week with a few others for Griffin Historical Ltd. We all had the best time doing longsword demos, kiddie jousts, and music & story telling at Mont Orgueil Castle, Gorey. Marvellous!! And lastly the month finished off with SWASH, Europes premier HEMA/WMA convention where I got to take part in workshops on Leddell's English Lonsword, Di Grassi's Rapier, and Burgundian Pollaxe. Great fun! April 2014:Well here we are, the start of a new financial year, and it kicked off for Northern Forge with another day in mock court at Leed's BPP University. However it has been a relatively quiet month here at Northern Forge. We went along to Towton on Palm Sunday and got out there and into the community, and also invited our good friends the Hotspur School of Defence to join us for the day, with a grand old selection of medieval weaponry including a pollaxe, a bill hook, various swords and bucklers, and a glaive - to name but a few - for kids and adults to look at and handle. Neil took a trip down to London to the British Museum to see the 'Vikings: Life and Legend' exhibition whilst it is in the UK, and do you know what? It wasn't half good! Get yourselves to it. And to round of the month Neil departed NF territory to work with 'Griffin Historical' down at EH's Bolsover Castle, which was cracking fun. Ah the live of a Freelancer...
March 2014: So after a busy last month, March has kicked off with starting work on a new action packed film but I cannot tell you anymore about it just yet. Stay with me though. As well as working we at Northern Forge like to be proactive in good causes, and one thing Neil does with pride is Give Blood as often as he can. In March Neil gave his 10th donation and was given a lovely little badge and certificate for his troubles. Very proud! Neil also began working with English Heritage, planning a video for the re-launch of Conisbrough Castle, which we filmed at the end of the month, and can be seen here! As well as the above filming, Neil also did a bit of filming on the popular web-series 'I Am Tim' which involved playing a couple of amusing Vampire roles as well as choreographing the violence on screen. :) And as if that wasn't enough to keep me busy - as well as doing the regular roleplays for BPP University, and HYMS - Neil finished off the month with a bit of ADR work (dubbing) for a third year student piece over at the University of York. Another cracking month.
February 2014: WOW!?! What a month February was, it started with more roleplay at BPP Uni, cruised into Viking outreach work, all whilst writing and choreographing a whole clutch of new Viking shortplays with Stu Perry, to be performed in York's Guildhall, for the 'Jorvik Viking Festival 2014', in which we showed - stupidly - five plays in five days!! :D We performed 'HOLMGANGA' aka 'THORSTEIN STAFF-STRUCK' (beware of pale imitations!! ;), 'BEOWULF', 'KING UTGARDA-LOKI'S SAGA', 'EGIL VS LJOT' & 'THOR VS THE ICE GIANT' three times a day, containing between 2-4 fights in each show; I realised that meant I'd fought 45 times for approximately two hours and fifteen minutes over the week. I hit the floor a lot! And as if I didn't need a rest badly enough, I went the very next day into five days of Supporting Artistes work on the set of 'Bill', at Selby Abbey. Very early mornings, lots of sitting around, and very late finishes. All good fun.
January 2014: The start of the new year had me begin a new line of work in roleplay, helping Barristers in training to pass (or fail) their exams by playing the part of various witnesses in mock courtroom scenarios at BPP university in Leeds. Much fun. I had even more fun when I travelled up to Alnwick to "Play for the Prize" with the 'Hotspur School of Defence'; Playing for the prize is essentially the medieval version of grading in martial arts, so having fought seven bouts with longsword, and six bouts with messer (German: knife), I became a "Scholar" of the School of Defence. And just for fun I fought two more bouts of longsword to top the day off. So an hour and fifteen of full-paced combat all told - great fun! If you fancy taking up arms and training in Western Martial Arts (WMA, also known as Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA) then check out the website at Hotspur School of Defence! And lastly at the end of the month we had the first of Northern Forge's Roman outreach days this year.
December 2013: Another Stage Combat class but this time for the Bradford Youth Players. Rather bizarrely December saw me playing Santa Claus (the month isn't bizarre for the job, just me doing it is) in Kiddicare for a weekend, and then playing Batman at a rather spoiled child's birthday party in Cheshire; I shan't be doing that gig again.
November 2013: Had me teaching Stage Combat to members (and non-members alike) of the York Shakespeare Company. Then later in the month I was back doing voice over work for an audio book of 'A Christmas Carol' for 'Anisoptera Productions'; I voiced Bob Crachitt, and Old Joe.
October 2013: The beginning of October saw Neil choreographing a rather fun little fight for the 'York Settlement Community Players' production of 'Humble Boy', in which a step-father attacks his son with a garden hoe, a pair of secateurs, and a small wooden stool, of all things. Neil also braved a Hen-Do as a Viking, for what turned out to be a group of impossible lovely lasses from Bradford way. Viking and Roman outreaches of course featured, as well as Northern Forge travelling all the way down past Burton to help Ting Tang by providing an early-medieval archer for a days "have-a-go archery", whilst others taught sword skills, and seige engine use. If you go up to Bolton Castle in North Yorkshire and follow the audio guide you will hear some voice-over worker I did for John at 'Precentor Studios'; I voiced the Sean Bean-esque Armourer for the kids tour, and Brother Jerome - who schooled Lord Scrope's son - for the adult audio-tour. Wrapping up the month I played a "Ghoul" for the inimitable Ghost Detective, Gary Goldthorpe.
September 2013:This month Northern Forge took a well earned break up in Northumberland (because spending summer up at Housesteads was apparently not enough for Neil) and saw lots of beautiful countryside and many excellent castles. After that little break the Roman and Viking outreach days started up again with the new school year, including a very enjoyable Harrogate High School open day where I watched a 3D printer at work that a teacher had built himself, incredible! This month also saw the "Handfasting" of two good friends Nathan & Karen, at which Nathan honoured Neil by making him part of the "Honour Guard". 'Twas a lovely evening celebrated on the evening of the anniversary of the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Wrapping up september was the filming of a short film based entirely around an unexplained fight between Neil and Stuart, filmed by the talented Mike Ritchie, to show off the quailities of the new MoVi M10 (first off the production line, that he only went and won!).
August 2013: August was jut as busy but with less variety. The month of course kicks off with 'Yorkshire Day!' on which Neil proudly carried the Ceremonial [solid silver] Mace of York through Skipton as part of the Yorkshire Day celebrations. Most weekends he could still be found being "Ariovistus the Parisii, Briton" up at Housesteads, and Neil also had another little foray into archery at the Royal Armouries with Ting Tang once more.
July 2013: Busy busy again this month, starting with a day fighting up at the Wallsend Festival; many thanks to Marc Barkman-Astles of 'Archaeosoup' for inviting us to that gig. Next came German Longsword demostrations at 'The Great Yorkshire' show as part of the English Heritage stand [Welcome to Yorkshire] for 'History's Maid' along with Will Tristram. The 'Jorvik Group' had me back in for their press day as "Cnut the Great" again, before I worked with the same photographer a matter of days later up at Richmond Castle, as a knight for English Heritage agian. Northern Forge had been busy writing scripts for the summer as Neil prepared to make his way up to Housesteads Roman Fort (EH) with 'History's Maid' to play an Ancient Briton, opposite a Roman scumbag, otherwise know as Stuart Perry. And lastly Neil had the pleasure of working with 'Ting Tang' at 'The Royal Armouries', teaching young Robin Hoods and Maid Marians how to shoot a bow!
June 2013: A flurry of outreach days kicked off June; a return visit to EH's Conisbrough Castle for History's Maid's 'Trial by Combat', against my regular collaborator Stuart Perry; and to top it off I had the pleasure of supporting the Yorkshire Vikings Cricket Team whilst dressed as a Viking (fancy that) - me and a few fellow Vikings actually got to sit within the boundry whilst the game was in progress, and it were reet good ah tell thee!
April 2013: April saw me take on the role of St. George the Dragon Slayer at English Heritage's Conisbrough Castle, for History's Maid, and the usual smattering of Viking outreach days.
February 2013: As with every February for the past seven years Northern Forge has been heavily involved with the Jorvik Viking Centre's annual, city-wide Viking Festival. Once again Northern Forge performed 'Holmganga', the combat show adapted from the Icelandic Saga 'Thorstein the Staff-Struck' with the titular Thorstein being played by long term collaborator Stuart Perry. Neil also found himself back in the Minster, playing King Cnut, where he adapted some choice verses from the Havamal and recited them in Old Norse, to his father Sweyn Forkbeard. Neil also met this month with Director John Topping to begin work on fight choreography for the York Shakespeare Project's summer play, Hamlet. Northern forge also provided their weaponry.
January 2013: Northern Forge helped the fledgling Hedgepig Theatre Company stage 'Miss Julie' by doing the lighting for the run of the show, in amongst daytime Viking outreach visits. December 2012: What a busy end to the year, haven't even been able to update this page until now, and it isn't showing signs of slowing down next year. So what has been happening with Northern Forge over the past two months: After travelling to Bradford to teach little monsters about Vikings Northern Forge has since travelled to Hensall for more of the same, and even ventured into Acomb to host a series of "Sagas Assemblies" for 500 pupils as part of National Reading week.
A couple of months back (October) Neil was picked up by a modelling agency for representation as a model and actor of TV & film. Neil isn't going to get too big headed, the agency specialises in "quirky but attractive" models... Neil can live with that.
In October Neil played the part of Lodovico in the York Shakespeare Project's telling of Othello, held at the York Theatre Royal. Neil also directed and choreographed the three main fight scenes and all the other violence. Much fun was had.
Northern Forge then provided the knives for the Harrogate Players December run of Macbeth, which went down a treat from what I hear.
Barely having time to breathe after Othello (indeed to get the gig Neil had to do a test video the morning before a matinee and an evening show at the theatre) Neil went straight into filming a music video for The Procession's 'Call Me', which should be available to view soon.
November saw Neil grace the front cover of York's own Local Link magazine, promoting the Kaboom event again, with Gary Goldthorpe, aka The Ghost Creeper. See more here!
The end of November saw Sigwulf, aka Neil, attend a rather unique wedding. One were the happy couple (from Southport) hadn't even told their parents they were getting married, let alone invite them, and instead only invited a couple of Vikings to bear the rings, and be the witnesses, which yours truly did with gusto. After the short service we even went on BBC Radio York for a 10 minute live chat. You can see an article on it on The Press websitehere!
The other weekend Neil found himself going to enjoy a spot of theatre up at The Universtiy of York's east campus. Northern Forge had worked as Fight Consultant for some promising 3rd year students who were putting on Greenland by Howard Brenton - the lucky devils even had a Master Class with the playwright himself. A damn fine show it was too.
And lastly, Northern Forge is starting work once more on up-coming events held as part of the Jorvik Viking Festival 2013. You can see a Northern Forge play being performed with History's Maid once again. Just one of the many exciting things Northern Forge will be involved with.
November 2012:Revealed in the York Press (12/09/12) Rockin' Horse Productions are proud to announce their forthcoming bonfire and fireworks festival, 'Kaboom' to be held on Saturday 4th November 2012. Northern Forgehad the pleasure of helping to promote the event with a press morning and photo shoot. For more information on the event visit:www.kaboomyork.com
October 2012: October saw Northern Forge travel to Bradford to teach a hoard of eager children all about the Vikings. Exciting times abound!
September 2012: Neil did a random bit of filming last night as an "undisclosed beasty" in 'I Am Tim', with Jamie McKeller and James Rotchell last night. Fun. Check out the series: I Am Tim Spent a morning at a photo shoot in the York Dungeons with Gary Goldthorpe, Rockin' Horse Productions, and the press. But surely you are in enemy territory I here you say! Have I turned traitor? Wait and see.www.yorkpress.co.uk This month Neil will be appearing in a photo shoot as a Jacobean Guard for...something. But what? It's all very hush hush at the moment. I hope it turns out to be something exciting for all our sakes. September sees Northern Forge making an appearance at Snowball Plantation to edutain Driffield's Cub Scouts for a few hours! Here's the venue: Snowball Plantation
August 2012: Neil of Northern Forge has once again worked with History's Maid and Stuart Perry to produce 'The A-Z of Torture & Execution: A Comedy', to be performed at Pontefract Castle and York's Merchant Adventurer's Hall, as part of the Yorkshire Medieval Festival. - A-Z Pictures!
July 2012: Neil successfully auditioned to be a part of the York Shakespeare Project's forthcoming production of Othello; Neil will be playing the part of Lodovico, as well as arranging the fights for director Mark France, of Mooted Theatre Co. fame. Othello will be performed over the 23rd to the 27th of October (Matinee on Wednesday and Saturday) at York Theatre Royal. For more info visit: York Shakespeare Project on Facebook
June 2012: Northern Forge will be supplying the swords used in the 'Modern Mysteries' for the Theatre Royal prior to Augusts run of the 'Mystery Plays 2012' -Modern Mysteries 2012
May 2012:Northern Forge will be supplying the rapiers to be used in Shakespeare's As You Like It, running from the 1st of June until the9th, as part of the York Theatre Royal's Takeover Festival. - Takeover Festival 2012 Whilst aboard the Arctic Corsair, Neil helped Charlie Hunt to interpret and choreograph a short scene involving a knife for The Merry Wives of Windsor, being put on by the York Shakespeare Project in Rowntree park this month. - Arctic Corsair Tomfoolery Exciting stuff this month as Neil works once more with the marvellous Glass Cannon crew on Hull's very own Arctic Corsair ship. Neil has taken on multiple roles for GC's forthcoming trailer Frostbite, including stuntman for some of the older actors. Great stuff! - Frostbite Trailer Having worked with Andy and Gemma Curry on several shows to date it is wonderful to be asked to choreograph the fight scene for Hedgepig's up and coming show Playhouse Creatures. - Hedgepig Theatre Co.
April 2012:Northern Forge have been asked to perform once again as part of a History's Maid show in 'The A-Z of Torture' alongside Stuart Perry. Together they will be appearing in August as part of the Jorvik Viking Centre's Medieval Festival. - History's Maid