THEATRE GAMES

theatre_t
Concentration
At least 10
No more than 40

2 blindfolded students, or Samurai, are armed with newspaper "swords" and seek each other out.

15,396 1310214895 Silent Samurai
Icebreakers, Movement, Warm ups
At least 10
No more than 40

Learn each others names, and test memory skills, as a cast begins to work together as a team.

20,261 1309995242 Name Game
High School, College
At least 2
No more than 5

Actors learn to commit to a private truthful moment in front of an audience.

18,254 1309994977 A Private Moment
Improv, Warm ups
At least 10
No maximum

Students create stories and loosen up through making sounds to set the scene of the story described.

16,500 1309873251 Making Sounds
At least 10
No maximum

Passing on sounds, movement, and objects as a concentration activity. Geared towards helping the students maintain focus and work together to accomplish the final goal.

18,647 1309872765 Pass It On
Concentration, Warm ups
At least 10
No maximum

A fun way for students to develop and appreciate vocal projection.

33,242 1309871659 Line Shouts
Improv
At least 2
No maximum

A warm-up improv game starting with gift-giving, both literally and through strong offers.

22,378 1309871138 I Got This Present For You!
At least 10
No more than 40

The Night at the Museum meets physical characterization! The museum has come to life but don't let the night guards see you or you'll be removed from the display and sent to storage.

22,547 1309870556 The Living Museum
Concentration
At least 5
No more than 20

Ali Baba is sort of a physical version of a song in the round.

14,126 1309866047 Ali Baba
At least 5
No more than 20

This activity builds cooperation and trust and is a great beginning activity for new casts and/or theatre groups.

32,130 1309542504 Together Concentration
At least 2
No more than 10

Using improvisation to act out particular scenes from the musical or play we are performing. This helps motivate the students to 'let their hair down' and act and have fun.

 

6,198 1309542084 Futuristic Improv
Icebreakers, Team building
At least 5
No more than 10

This is an ice breaker game that really just helps the students get to know each other better and to further help the students develop social skills.

7,671 1309541705 Two Truths and a Lie
Middle School
At least 2
No maximum

This exercise helps allow students to learn and use their vocabulary words. Also, it helps them get used to improv.

9,864 1309541412 Vocab Improv
asolo
Icebreakers, Improv, Movement
At least 5
No more than 20

After selecting an index card notated with a simple sentence, a student will communicate the meaning of the sentence through the use of

nonsensical words, sounds, and/or pantomime- a fun way to learn how to express one’s self and specific thoughts without words.

12,895 1309423242 What Did You Say?
theatre_t
At least 10
No more than 40

"Duck, Duck, Goose" becomes an acting game when the "Goose" is replaced with anything the leader calls out.  A great game to break down inhibitions and introduce the concept of "always saying yes."

19,458 1308594171 Duck, Duck, ?
At least 20
No maximum

To interact while working as an ensemble by producing a 3 minute commercial.

5,673 1279294986 TV Commercials
At least 5
No more than 40

In this exercise, one student will walk across the circle, focusing on the emotional state and attitude of a character and how that might be heightened from a 1 level to a 10 level.

9,189 1279292083 Weirdo
At least 5
No more than 20

A musical mingle and guessing game for students as they take on different characters.

6,650 1279031915 Index Card Mingling
At least 5
No maximum

Handholding exercise used to facilitate a solid sense of ensemble.

7,563 1279031204 Circle Squeeze
At least 2
No more than 20

A game designed to create a comfortable environment and a creative improvised outlet for participants to bond.

10,995 1278933043 I Got This Present For You
At least 10
No more than 20

Engage the student actors in a conversation regarding "Status."  What does it mean in life (at school, at home or in the wider community)?  What does it mean on stage (between characters or between actors and the audience).  We discuss how status can effect the body language, the voice, the dialogue...the overall truthful portrayal of a character.

 

 

10,072 1278769586 Status Card Game
At least 5
No more than 10

To take on the persona of the last person that gets into the taxi.

6,317 1278688742 Amy Federowicz and Karen Brennan/ Taxi
Icebreakers
At least 10
No more than 20

Here is a great icebreaker game that students seem to love!  It's called "Neighbors"  The participants will stand in a circle.  One player is picked to be in the middle.  That person will approach a person in the circle, he will ask: "Do you like your neighbors?"  If the answer is no, the two people on either side of the person must switch places while the person who did the asking will attempt to take one of their spaces in the circle.  If the answer is "Yes, I like my neighbors" The person must then say "...but I don't like _________"  The _________ can be a silly yet appropriate choice such as "People who are wearing blue" or "People with open toed shoes".  At that point, all the people who are wearing blue or open toed shoes must switch places in the circle with someone else who has on blue or open toed shoes.  It's fun and a bit wacky. Gets people moving. 

8,308 1278674700 Neighbors
Kathleen Woods
At least 10
No maximum

YES! is a deceptively simple yet effective concentration and ensemble building game.  The game can be played with new groups or groups who know each other well.

19,509 1278600939 YES
Shelly McClenny
At least 2
No more than 20

A fun and quick character creation/transformation/improv game.  The kids LOVE it and would play it all through rehearsal if I let them!

8,631 1278497139 New York City Taxi
LSpigel
At least 2
No more than 10

This is an opening for long form improvisation.  It uses audience suggestion and the imagination and physicality of the players.   Actors become inanimate objects as well as people, physically creating a setting as well as characters.

6,185 1278155805 We See
scottjohnstone
Scene work
High School, College, Adults
At least 2
No maximum

Students will demonstrate their ability to create a character background by participating in a character interview.

4,587 1277723835 Character Interview
M.S. Drama Queen
At least 5
No maximum

A great exercise for relaxation, focus, dealing with stage-fright, and breathing from the diaphram.

8,192 1277397150 Elevator
High School, College, Adults
At least 5
No more than 20

So, what do people say when they visit the grave?  Do they water the grave?

5,705 1276638382 Watering The Grave by L. Richardt
Warm ups
At least 5
No maximum

This is a fun and imaginative warm up for any group.  It encourages movement and a nonthreatening way to free one's imagination.

4,752 1276622226 A Tiny Piece of Air
lmfriedman
At least 5
No more than 10

Today you are not going to portray your character... you are going to become someone elses character. 

4,639 1276559968 Lisa Friedman/Music Teacher, Musical Theatre Director
At least 5
No maximum

Students watch one another and imitate one another's physical actions.  The prompts for movement can be motivated or just fun improvisational.  Students can explore their physical instrument and expand the limits of their creativity.  (Also good for getting students (and directors!) to learn names of their fellow students.)

3,774 1276527417 Watch Lori!
Team building
At least 5
No more than 40

"Poison Peepers" is a variation of "Down/Up" and "Scream."  The big difference is that no one is eliminated.  It is a superb low-risk way to encourage vocal production and dramatic gesturing, and it's a lot of fun!

6,417 1276273795 Poison Peepers
Concentration
At least 5
No more than 40

What are you doing?  Students start pantomiming an action and another students asks, "What are you doing?"  The first student must lie and say they are doing something different.

3,149 1276154468 What are you doing?
High School, College, Adults
At least 5
No maximum

This is one of the most requested games in my acting classes.  The more times they play it, the more specific and competitive the session becomes.  Anyone can participate, but you will need a quick mind to win!

7,180 1275998629 What are you doing?
Theatregeek
At least 2
No more than 5

Translating a scenario by acting it out.

2,812 1275082361 Storytelling Translation
Suzanne
At least 2
No maximum

Actors identify the animal and/or song that their character represents or reminds them of.  This can be seen throughout the play and/or for curtain calls.

2,745 1275047048 Identifying Characters by Animal or Song
College, Adults
At least 10
No maximum

This game can go on for hours as groups begin to trust and enjoy the process of working as an ensemble.  In theory, it is like one large mirror activity, however, coach should encourage movement and vocal involvement in the exercise.  The purpose is not to mirror perfectly, but to move, breath and begin to think as one connected ensemble.  Best for creating a sense of unity and a wonderful physical warm-up.  I learned this one at the National Theatre of Great Britain while attending a post-graduate actor training program.  

5,762 1275040672 Do What You See
Wendy_Duke
Improv
At least 10
No more than 40

Actors are cast as families with last names that inform how the family is to be played.  A salesperson or neighbor comes to the door and must adjust according to the family type.

3,175 1274387644 The Family Game
Icebreakers
At least 5
No maximum

This energetic warm-up will get your group focused, listening, limber, and "ready to roll".

9,307 1274382559 Twizzle
Dely
Improv
At least 10
No more than 40

Actors quickly assume characters to participate in a "flashback" from an improvised scene already in progress.

2,483 1272880480 Flashback
At least 2
No more than 5

Students must answer a question, one word at a time!

3,374 1270731017 The All-Knowing Brain
At least 5
No more than 20

This is a fun game used to cultivate teamwork while warming up physically and vocally.

5,214 1269849444 Paper Ball
Icebreakers
At least 2
No maximum

Ask students to form a circle.

 

Ask each student to come up with a word to describe their day so far.  For example, exciting, boring, etc.   After each student says his or her word, the whole group repeats it. 

 

Then, ask each student to come up with one action to go along with their word.  After each student's word and action, the whole group repeats the word and action. 

 

After going around the circle a couple of times.  Have one student arbitrarily go to another student and, while facing them, say his/her word with the action.  The student who was chosen then repeats the word and action back to the first actor - as in mirroring him/her.  The second student then goes and chooses another student arbitrarily and says his original word with action.  At first, you have only one person at a time meeting another student.  Then, as it progresses more students are called upon to take their words and actions to other actors.  It is a game of focus and memory.

1,680 1269607034 Warmup - Describe your Day
High School
At least 2
No maximum

Intro pantomime activities to break the ice the first few days of class.

2,626 1268842337 Deb Fragale/Language Arts Teacher
At least 2
No maximum

Develop character by discussing statements such as: If my character were a color...If my character were a food...If my character were a book...If my character were a kitchen appliance...If my character were a vacation...If my character were an animal..If my character were a magazine...etc.

4,993 1268821650 Character Development
At least 5
No more than 40

Students establish a instant spirit of ensemble by clapping in unison with the person to their left or right depending on the directing of the clapping wave. 

2,778 1268149834 Unison Clap
At least 2
No more than 2

This exercise allows students to create the characters, settings, and plots for their own improvisations. Depending on the age group, it is interesting to see how, inventive, humorous even silly, and/or dramatic the scenes can be.

3,274 1268134229 Student Prompted Improvisation
Warm ups
At least 10
No maximum

I find that often, especially at an after-school rehearsal, my performers come in dragging, and just need a little exercise to "jazz them up." The following list is comprised of several of my favorites:

4,281 1266502748 Quick/Fun warm-ups
Warm ups
At least 10
No maximum

I find that often, especially at an after-school rehearsal, my performers come in dragging, and just need a little exercise to "jazz them up." The following list is comprised of several of my favorites:

2,014 1266502727 Quick/Fun warm-ups
At least 10
No more than 40

Assemble cast in a circle.  The first actor mimes an object and uses it.  Then he/she hands the object to the next actor who also uses it in it's first form. The second actor then "stretches", "squishes", or manipulates it into a new object uses it and passes it on to the next actor.  The same process continues around the circle. The goal of the exercise is used to increase cast connection, camaraderie, and creativity.

1,962 1266171597 Mind Morph
At least 10
No more than 20

Excellent for cast building to be used early during the rehearsal process.  Divide cast into two teams.  Students mime that they are playing volleyball. Regular volleyball rules apply.  The student "serves" to the other team and calls out the cast member's name, that student can "set" to a fellow team member by calling his/her name or send it back "over the net" to the other side.  If  a student misses a name or calls the wrong name, a point is awarded.  The teacher acts as the referee.  Feel free to "rotate" in and out, "spike", "bump", "set", and "block"!

1,839 1266170199 Name Volleyball
Improv, Motivation, Scene work
High School, College, Adults
At least 2
No maximum

Two actors working through a scene or improv will be given a separate motivation or goal to obtain in the scene that is unrelated to the scene itself. Works on a young actor's ability to gain something from the other actor while staying in the moment. 

2,062 1265906367 Obtaining your Goal
Team building
At least 5
No more than 20

To be the last student left to survive the “SUBJECT CHALLENGE”

2,344 1247226407 Name the Subject!
Icebreakers, Team building
Elementary School
At least 5
No more than 2

To build team work and solidify concepts for any subject given in prompts for this "quest".

1,840 1246533220 Quests
At least 2
No maximum

To mold students into shapes and have them use their creativity to name their creations.

2,108 1246532891 Sculpting Lumps of Clay
Improv, Team building, Warm ups
At least 5
No maximum

To complete a scene in three minutes using the standard 3 point storyline.

1,715 1246532687 Who-What-Where
Concentration, Improv
At least 5
No maximum

Helps students become more comfortable with thinking on their feet, having the confidence to be creative and staying in the moment.

2,917 1246532454 Add-On Story
Improv, Physical work
At least 2
No maximum

Engages two students in an improvisation that contains elements found in a well-written dramatic of comic scene containing conflict.

2,137 1246370142 Noah's Ark
Improv, Movement, Physical work
At least 5
No more than 20

Two actors (critics) improvise spoken lines while the remaining characters become animated statues in order to practice role playing, verbal improvisation, maintaining freeze position, pantomime, phsycial acting, self-reflection and peer critique.

2,599 1246369538 Statue Critics
Warm ups
At least 2
No maximum

Articulation exercises relax the mouth and is good practice for an actor's voice and characterization.

8,387 1246362127 Articulation Activities
Movement, Musical, Warm ups
At least 5
No maximum

Combinging physical activity with verbal exercise to help the brain organize and focus effectively through rhythm and clapping.

3,135 1246291871 Clap Exercise
At least 2
No more than 20

To physicalize emotion by showing emotions and feelings through use of space objects.

 

3,899 1246291298 Changing Emotion
At least 5
No more than 40

A trial of memory and improvization, this game allows for creativity and on the spot contribution to complete the alphabet.

 

 

2,373 1246290673 The Alphabet Game
At least 2
No more than 20

A variation on the Meisner repetition exercise that allows for scene and character development.

4,063 1246290369 Meisner Repetition Exercise
Improv
At least 2
No more than 20

To develop improvisational skills, use creative imagination, nonverbal language and become aware of voice inflections by telling a story in gibberish.

2,561 1246289775 The Gibberish Translations
At least 5
No more than 20

To develop improvisational skills, use creative imagination, analyze behavior and activities of others, and make appropriate dialogue choices by exchanging presents.

1,638 1246289419 Presents
At least 5
No more than 10

The game requires both exchanging and transforming energy by blending with your fellow players as a ball of energy is thrown amoungst the group.  Its about being in the moment, keeping open, grounded and free as well as being aware of your surroundings and articulating. You must be aware of the energy sent, available to the energy - allowing it to change you, and you must be articulate in sending the energy back out.

2,265 1246288930 Casting Spells
Improv, Movement, Team building
Middle School
At least 5
No more than 20

Students will understand and apply the concepts of impromptu storytelling and improving their improvisational skills by perfomring a well known fairy tale in one minute flat.

2,434 1246287884 60 Second Fairy Tales
At least 10
No more than 20

To get students to know each other through names and stories.

3,584 1246287200 Bang!
Improv, Movement, Warm ups
At least 2
No more than 20

To get students moving, thinking fast and on their feet through improvisation.

8,250 1246286842 Bus Stop
Middle School
At least 10
No more than 20

Teaches improvisation, pantomime, and clear communication. It also works as an introduction to a skill of giving constructive criticism.

3,043 1246284906 Three Words
Movement, Musical, Warm ups
At least 5
No more than 20

To get the class warmed up and in their bodies, while paying attention to their fellow participants.

3,543 1246284160 Indian Chief to a Beat
At least 5
No more than 20

A great warm up, to learn names of fellow cast members/classmates or to help build cooperation and teamwork.

3,368 1246283447 Group Juggle