About the Show

ILLUMINATE: A Martial Arts Experience™ is a unique live martial arts show. Some say it’s Karate Kid meets Star Wars. Others say it’s a karate rave. ILLUMINATE showcases martial artists who strike, dodge, jump, break, and battle in the dark with LED equipment. The lights go out and we witness a hero’s walk from student to master.

A team of black belts perform advanced fight choreography, weapons battles, group demonstrations, and dangerous self-defense techniques. All of the action is enhanced with special equipment used to artistically show martial arts in a way you’ve never seen before. The show features an all-original musical score, created especially for ILLUMINATE. Parts of the show even include live drumming using glow-in-the-dark drum sticks. With cool lighting effects, expert martial arts, and original music, ILLUMINATE is a show you must see for yourself!

Note: The special lighting effects cannot be accurately captured by any video camera — this is something you have to see firsthand to truly appreciate! For another attempt at capturing the show, explore our photo gallery.

This production is presented as a part of the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival. A program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.

Copyright 2011 Illuminate Martial Arts and John Shryock


We have been invited to be featured performers at an exclusive after-party of National Geographic’s Samurai Exhibit.  Washington Post’s event team, Brightest Young Things, contacted us to request our special show.  We were honored to be asked and accepted.

In addition to the National Geographic show, we are presenting a one-night only show at Bishop McNamara High School.  We’re renting the theater to throw a party and once again share our glow-in-the-dark martial arts.

We hope to see you at one of these two shows!

Illuminate, a Sold-Out Experience

Four out of our five shows appear on the sold-out board at 2011 Capital Fringe Festival.

As of yesterday, both of our remaining shows with the 2011 DC Capital Fringe Festival are sold out.

HOWEVER, you can still see shows this Saturday (4:15) and Sunday (12 noon) by showing up extra-early at the door for standing room only tickets.  And fortunately, at the Warehouse theater, standing room gives you a terrific view of the entire stage — you’re right next to the action!

We are exploring other venues for continuing our run in July and August.  Check back here for more info when we have it!

T-Shirts now available

The official ILLUMINATE shirt can be purchased after each show for a price of $15.  This is the same shirt worn by the cast at Fringe preview night and after every show.

The front includes the name of the show, and back has the image you see at left.  And yes, they do GLOW IN THE DARK!

Soon, we will be posting an online order form.  To reserve yours, or find out when online ordering is available, send us an email:  illuminatemartialarts[at]gmail.com.



Reviews from Opening Night (7/12/2011)

Opening was seriously one of the most exciting experiences of my life — the cast loved the tremendous energy from the near-capacity audience. Some reviews:

Washington City Paper
“a stunning, immersive, and fully-formed piece of theater.”
“kicks a lot ass and does so with heaping piles of heart.”

DC Theatre Scene (5/5 stars)
a multi-sensory explosion of fighting techniques

The Washington Post
packs a punch.”

For Those Attending a Show

If you’re planning on attending a show, we have some important and potentially $$$cash-saving information for you:

  • ILLUMINATE opens this Tuesday, in just a few days. Opening night is our show that has the most reviewers attending – and it’s almost 50% sold out! Do you have your tickets?  We have five shows total, so if you can’t make Tuesday, catch one of the others.
  • There is NO LATE SEATING to any Fringe show, so please make sure to come early. Hang out at the bar/tent beforehand – we would hate for you to miss the show.
  • On the day of the show, you must purchase your tickets and button directly at the theater.
  • We have Illuminate shirts for sale! The front glows in the dark. We’ll eventually have a DVD and soundtrack for sale as well.
  • If you’re coming with a group, save some money by purchasing a multi-show pass and then applying the entire pass to Illuminate.
  • Audience members age 12 and under do NOT need to purchase a festival button.
  • If you have any questions, please comment here or post to our Facebook wall, and we’ll definitely get it answered.

See you at the show!

Rehearsal Photos

Photos of a full-cast dress rehearsal, taken in between scenes by cast member Charles Shryock IV. Use left/right arrows to navigate. Contact us to request full-size images.

"GLOWLVERINE!" Jamie's parody of Marvel's Wolverine with glowsticks.

Fringe preview night gets lit

"Transparent ninjas!" That's what they called us on the Fringe blog. Click to check out their photo in full size!

We just performed tonight at the Fringe Festival Preview Night.  It was amazing.

We were honored to be given a slot in the Preview Night – a lot of shows apply to perform at preview night, but there just aren’t enough slots for everyone.  Just being a part of the evening was thrilling, and we were both nervous and excited about showing our stuff to the press and DC’s devoted theater community.

A lot of effort went into the timing and selection of our material for the evening – I personally spent a lot of time tweaking our preview night CD, in order to time the musical score selections with the live drumming portions.  I’m really happy with how the musical came off.  I had a ton of fun drumming!

Our cast is comprised of individuals who are martial artists first, and theatrical performers second.  Within our group, we’ve done advanced degree black belt exams, martial arts demonstrations in the DC metro area, tournaments, master classes with amazing instructors of all styles, and taught martial arts in community centers for many years.  It’s exciting to take our passion for the martial arts and display it to an audience of non-martial-artists.  Tonight was our first taste of that experience, and we absolutely loved it.

Thanks to all of our friends who came out to support us!.  To anyone who was there: we hope you were able to see our four minute live trailer of the show!

Workshopping the Story

The cast hears feedback from the invited guests, at a rehearsal on June 25, 2011.

At today’s rehearsal, we invited a few guests (friends) to give us some feedback on the show.  It was also our first full run with all of the music intact. The guests gave us incredibly useful feedback, particularly with regard to helping us develop the storyline and make sure it’s clearly expressed to the audience.

I was hoping to grab a nice group photo, just to document our “process” of creation.  But then Jamie grabbed my camera and… well, see for yourself!  A particular theme seems to be “attacking or making faces behind someone who isn’t aware they’re on camera.”

We always have a good time at rehearsal!

–Charlie, cast member