I was still very young when I started teaching Speech and Drama and was already teaching kindergarten but wanted to utilize my day more so applied for the position. New to the subject, I did not know where to start and my sister and I went hunting online for theatre games and exercises. A friend of mine was kind enough to send me a beautiful resource that I would go on to benefit from for a long time. It really amazed me how bringing a simple game into a class transforms everything and it is really left to the children to create their experiences of drama and learn from them.
My class just love it when I say, “We’re going to play a game today!” Going on to explain the rules of the game to them. It immediately would give them a sense of fun and they would be imbibing new skills without even knowing.
Here are eight theatre games that I really loved introducing to a class: –
I picked Zapping first because it was always my go to game whether in a lesson demo or getting the children really involved. It is also a wonderfully creative game and I have had students come up with ingenious ideas and portrayals.
The game involves four to five players at a time. Each must pick a TV Channel that they are comfortable with. A common theme is given to them example: -Winter. They all must imagine themselves in that TV Channel and speak of the main theme. So, whether you are an anchor on a News Channel or Comic character in a cartoon channel you must best bring out the theme staying in character. The teacher keeps zapping between channels as if channel surfing.
It is a game that requires great spontaneity and creativity from the student and generates a lot of laughter.
2] Jumping Jelly Beans
Warm up games are great fun for the students and they get them ready for the follow up game. I remember this theatre game because I introduced it to a bunch of senior students who were not conforming to the other tasks as punishment really, but they enjoyed it thoroughly. Theatre games are like that they suit just about any age group.
In this game every student has a space in the room and the teacher is the caller.
Each type of bean call out has a particular action that the students do:
Broad Bean-Stretch as far as you can
String Bean-Reach as tall and high as you can
Frozen Bean-Freeze like a statue, or shiver
Jelly Bean-Wobble your whole body
French Bean– Say in a French accent “oooh la, la!”
Jumping Bean-Jump on the spot
This game worked wonderfully online too and my students were always eager to be a sophisticated French Lady [ Bean ] and shout out “oooh la, la”.
3] Prop Game
It works wonders when you bring something into the classroom one of my own teachers had once told me. So, collect a bag of props just simple things around the house will do too. Then ask each student to pick a prop and transform it into something else with a clever and witty line attached to it. You will see students want to try this game repeatedly.
4] Boom Chicka Boom
This theatre game works beautifully with younger children especially so because it has a rhythmic chant which they take to and enjoy with various styles and accents. They never grow tired of it and you can bring them out of their shyness with this one.
This is a camp style game that is great for warming up the voice and developing accents.
It is call and response so the teacher calls out each line and then the students repeat back with a different style assigned each time.
- “I said a Boom”
- “I said a Boom Chicka Boom”
- “I said a Boom Chicka Rocka Chicka Rocka Chicka Boom”
- “Uh huh”
- “Oh yeah”
- “One more time”
5] You are wanted on the phone
This game the senior students found very interesting. You set the stage with a phone. Players have a list of possible phone call scenarios. Players enter and answer the call giving clues about what is going on. We do not hear what is happening at the other end of the phone.
It is fun to see the possible reactions linked to the scenarios and the humour that follows.
6] News Report
This can be a fun experience and can involve the whole class. Divide the class into a few teams. Give each team a quirky and funny news headline. The teams then must perform the headline and pretend to be news anchors, on field reporters with camera crew. This is a lively and engaging game and it is always fun to create a news room in class.
7] Dubbed Movie
Children love movies and what better way to get them engaged in trying to dub a movie. In this game two players mime a scene and two corresponding players dub for them. It requires a lot of synchronizations and can be very interesting for the students to play.
8] Helping Hands
This is a game that was introduced to me when I was in school by my drama teacher. It requires great co-ordination and creativity and will have the whole class giggling. My friend and I would often try to act out a scene where we were cooking something. It looks and is rather funny.
1. Ask four players to take the stage, two on each side.
2. For each duo, one will be the “voice” and the other will be the “arms”. The “voice” player will stand with his hands held behind his back while the “arms” player stands behind him, pokes his hands through and provides the “arms”.
3. Give the players a 2-person scenario .
4. The goal is for the players to act out the scene, having the arms and voice match and seem like one character.
Theatre Games as you can see are so diversified and have various elements. Try these eight theatre games in your Speech and Drama class it will be wonderful learning mixed with fun and laughter.
I’ll sign off with an “Oooh la, la!”