Acting Games and Exercises for Actor Warm Ups

Acting games and exercises are a great way to warm up. They are created to be fun and used to explore a wide variety of fundamentals in acting technique.

The sort of warm up techniques we will go over are the kind that will increase concentration, enhance relaxation and will help with communication.

We’ve brought together 5 acting games for you to use for theatre class practice.

Number 1 – The Copycat Game

Copycat acting games can be done with or without an acting partner.  The idea is to follow every single move the other person makes as it happens in real time.  If they jump, you jump, if they stick out their tongue, you stick out your tongue.  The trick is to be as if you are a reflection of that person in a mirror.  You want to take on their behavior as much as possible.  You can do this alone in front of a mirror!

Number 2 – Character Walk

The idea is to have the other actor walk around the room.  They have to walk as they normally walk without putting on any falsity.  Your job is to simply take on their exact walk, so much so that you will slowly take on internal character traits just from observing their walk and taking on their walk as your own.  This is a great way to discover character.

Number 3 – Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

  • A doctor about to deliver bad news to a patient.
  • A dog in need of a walk.
  • A ghost with a warning message.
  • A parent checking on their baby.
  • A hitman sent to do a job.

Either a teacher can assign the actor with the character without the other acting students overhearing or the actors can pick a piece of paper out from a paper bag.  The main focus is for the actor to express who they are just by the way in which they knock on the door and for the other acting students to guess who he/she is portraying.

Number 4 – Animal Exercise

Animal exercise acting games are great because the actor automatically associates themselves as someone other than who they are. The actor can experiment being a gorilla, horse, lizard, shark, kangaroo….any animal.

The actor will spend time working on developing the attributes of the animal in order to create a truthful portrayal.

The next step is to read a monologue or a scene as a cold reading while maintaining the animal character the entire time.  Everything expressed must be expressed as the animal the actor is portraying.

It’s important for the actor to take risks, think outside of oneself and develop a clearer understanding of character.

Number 5 – Freeze!

One actor has his/her back to two other actors and isn’t allowed to look, only listen.  The other two actors are improvising.  The actor who isn’t looking yells FREEZE at any given time.  Two two actors improvising freeze.  The one actor chooses either actor by tapping them and taking on their exact posture.  Once the actor has the same posture he/she continues the scene improvising.  This goes on until the next actor yells freeze.

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