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Drama games encourage creativity and they are fantastic ice breakers, whether this be for a new workshop or for a rehearsal. Actors need to move, so why don’t you try out our list below and see which is the best to get those juices flowing. There are improv exercises you can try, you can play charades, use facial expressions or even use just a few words at a time to tell a story. You may be asked to act out a scene or someone leaves the room and they have to guess what the scenario is created by the group. The opportunities are endless, just remember to have fun with it all. The point is to get you up on your feet and connect with the people in the circle with you. Keep reading for some energy boosting acting games.
In terms of acting warm up games, this one is pretty much up there. Everybody stands in a circle and the aim of the game is to keep a continuous sound of zips or zaps for that matter going around the circle. This is one for adults and also an acting game for kids too. There is a lot of energy and it really gets acting students focused. One person starts by sending the zips round to their left, and it can go all the way around the circle but you can change it up a little by saying zap back to your right. The way to change direction though I should mention is to say boing back and then you can send it the opposite direction. Remember zips are to your left and zaps to your right. When you say boing, there are different variations, but you usually hold up your hands to the person and say ‘boiinnnng’. Whoever hesitates is out and then you will be left with only 3 people in the group.
I love this acting game for adults, but once again this could be played with kids too. So in your group, you will set out chairs in a circle. There will be one less chair than the number of people. There will be one person standing in the middle of the circle. They say ‘The Sun shines one me when’ and this is followed by something happy. If people in the group agree, then they have to find a new chair. The person without a chair takes the place in the middle of the circle and they now say, ‘The sun shines on me when’ and so on. You can do this by also saying, ‘the rain pours on me when’, and the game continues. It is a great movement game and gets you to improvise, think on your feet, quite literally.
This acting lesson game can be one to boost those energy levels and you really have to concentrate. Essentially, you all stand in a circle – a lot of these games involve a circle – and someone is given the name King John. Everybody to the left from King John is given a number and it goes around the circle. I will give you an example.
King John starts the game by saying to number one – ‘Who killed King John?’
Number one replies by saying ‘Not I’
King John: ‘Then who killed King John?
Number one: ‘Number (picks number) seven killed King John.’
Number seven: ‘Not I’
Number one: ‘Then who killed King John?’
Number seven: ‘Number twelve killed King John’
Number twelve: ‘Not I’
Number seven: ‘Then who killed King John?’
Number twelve: ‘King John killed King John’
It is fast paced and it really doesn’t matter if you get it wrong. If you do get it wrong though, you then become the highest number and you move to that position. You want to be King John.
You are given a letter of the alphabet and everybody has to make a shape of an object using that letter in 10 seconds. If two or more people have the same object then you are out of the game. The last two people in the game have to stand back to back. Let’s say that the category is fruit, they have to step away from each other when you mention a fruit. But as soon as you mention something that isn’t a fruit, then they can turn and face each other and yell something like bang (the word choice is up to you). Whoever shoots first is the winner. This game is good to see how creative people can be and be warned people can get competitive.
This is a great example of an improv acting game and relies heavily on listening to the other person. You should be very open in this game, and work collaboratively otherwise iit will not work. You work in a couple. One person starts by creating a scenario and your partner has to respond by saying ‘Yes,And’ taking the scene further. Be prepared to let the scene go to new places and don’t become focused on one idea if it doesn’t work, just move on.
You are given a scenario – a bus stop for example, and in a group you have to create a tableau representing this. You can make it as exploratitive as you like and you can even make shapes within the tableau if this is what you think works. The main thing is to work together and be creative.
The aim of this game is to tell a story but each person can only say 5 words each. You have to continue to tell the story around the group and see where you end up. It is a great acting game for small groups but can work in a large one too.
This is a game where you have to act things out, and imitate the others in your group. So there is a taxi driver and 3 others who get into the car at different times. They need to have strong personalities and every time one of these get into the taxi, the driver has to become that character or certainly adopt the character traits of that particular person. Once all 3 people are sitting in the cab, the driver has to switch between the characters when they respond to them.
This acting game is where you act out the word and I’m sure everybody knows how to play this one. You essentially have to act out a phase without speaking and you can be split into teams. You will be given a word from the category and have to act this out to your team. The team with the most points wins.
Have you played any of these before or if not are there some new ones you can try out at your next workshop or rehearsal? Physical action and testing your memory is vital for acting games. They should focus on skills such as listening, cooperation, and improvisation. It will build up confidence and they are great for working as a team. Let that creativity run wild, work up a sweat and have fun! As Roald Dahl said, ‘Life is more fun if you play games.’