Acting games are such an engaging approach for drama teacher lesson plans because students open their imaginations and make creative discoveries.
So much can be learned through drama exercises that not only applies to acting technique but also personal development as a person.
Through acting games, a drama teacher can touch on many facets of acting craft including but not limited to character, ensemble, improvisation, actions, imagination, spontaneity and so much more.
MB holds a large collection of drama workshop ideas that you can use for free, we invite you to use them, change them around and have a good time working on them with your class.
You may also be interested in working on monologues with your students. We’ve compiled 21 of our monologues with short monologue analysis on character and imaginary circumstances as it relates to the human condition.
Drama Workshop Ideas for Teaching Drama
Character Building Exercises
True or False
Have each one of your actors take a turn going on stage alone. They must share a story from something that has taken place in their life. The story can be true or false. When they are done telling their tale, the acting class must decide if they believe the story or not.
Drink The Mug
Each actor needs to drink from an imaginary mug but they must do so as they imagine a character would. Assign your actors a character such as a Prisoner, On Duty Police Officer, a Chef, a Homeless Person. The list can go on and on and you can also incorporate a situation that they can play in as the character.
Have each actor bring in a single piece of clothing. This can be a pair of shoes, socks, hat, gloves, shirt, pants ect. They must wear the item and walk around the room. As they walk around the room, they need to discuss in what ways the piece of clothing helps them feel like another person. You can explore this with your student as far as you like, asking questions and guiding them to be as specific as possible.
Trust Building Exercises
Have one actor blindfolded. Set up a grouping of chairs scattered around a room. The idea is to have your students take turns walking the actor blindfolded around the room, careful not to bump into anything. The actor can be seated at random on any chair and must trust the person walking them around the room.
This acting game is pretty fun as two actors must stand side by side and then lean on one another shoulder to shoulder with their legs extending out. They will form an upside down V. The trick is to trust one another to walk together while leaning on one another, shoulder to shoulder only.
Run Through The Bridge
In this exercise, line up five plus actors on one side and the same amount of actors on the other side, facing each other in parallel. They must be able to extend their arms out but still capable of touching the persons hand standing across from them. Have all your actors hold their arms outward gently touching the hand of the actor facing them. Now, have another actor run through the bridge in the center of the line. As the actor runs through the bridge of arms and hands, the arms must raise up in time, before the actor running, touches them. The actor must get through the line without making contact.
Ensemble Building Exercises
For this exercise, you will ask each student to share a special place they like to be when they are alone. Have them go up on stage and reenact the environment for themselves. Then send another student up on stage to share in the environment with them. There cannot be any verbal communication.
Have all your students go up on stage. Depending on the size of your class, you may want to set up teams of three or four actors in a group. The idea is to have the group speak out as one voice only, as if they are one person. There is nothing rehearsed and all improvised. As the drama teacher, you will ask them a question about any topic and their response to your question must be answered in real time listening to one another and choosing the same words to vocalize in response together as an ensemble. This is great for listening and communication skills as well as ensemble building and trust.
Open Wide/ Close Shut
Have your actors stand in a circle facing center. The idea is to have the group open themselves up physically and wide as possible. For instance, they will extend their arms, legs, facial expressions to their absolute limit. Then they will do the opposite when you say ‘Close Shut’. When the term Close Shut is announced the actors must sit on the floor and turn into a ball as closed off as they can with their physicality. This is also good for a warm up exercise.
Once the concept for this exercise is established individually, then relate it as a group. Set up two teams of actors, Team A and Team B. Both teams must face one another. Start Team A off as Open Wide and Team B as Close Shut. Both teams must counter one another simultaneously. When each team has reached their fullest expression of open wide/close shut together, they must instinctually know when to switch to the opposite function. This exercise works like a seesaw. They go from open wide to close shut in opposite unison as an ensemble.
Monologue Blogger’s acting games serves as a drama resource for acting students and drama teachers. We invite you to use our free acting exercises.