Theatre Games, Activities & Trust Exercises for Kids, Teens & Adults
Group Activity with www.Murderforhire.ca PHOTO CREDIT: Heather May
Before you can play, rehearse, learn or build a production/performance - you need to build trust.
These activities are some of my personal favourites whether I'm working with children, teenagers or adults in pairs or groups.
Before starting any activity - always state the purpose of the exercise (ie. voice warm-up or letting go of inhibitions) and conduct a quick "check-in" with members. After introducing the activity, ask each participant to briefly express how they are feeling and the kind of day they had. This is important to do in order to have a sense of everyone's mind space before starting. If someone had a bad day, they might not be as energetic or enthused where someone having a great day may have difficulties focusing and paying attention.
I hope these games and activities will help you in building trust amongst team members, classmates or a production cast & crew.
#1. TOUR GUIDES/ trust, improv, thinking on your feet, action & reaction
- Each member of the group takes turns leading the rest of the group on an imaginary tour through a place or environment of their choosing.
- The tour guide might travel across the moon, through an ocean or on a famous movie set.
- The guide might say things like "If you look to your left, you'll see a hot dog riding a bicycle." etc.
- Encourage members of the group to react with whatever is stated by the tour guide.
#2. PAPER BAG CHARACTERS/ improv, imagination and creativity
- Have each participant bring an opaque paper/plastic bag/container to class with 3 random items inside (make sure you cannot see through the container)
- These items might range from a lipstick, eraser, key, shoelace, pencil, etc.
- Put all the containers with the items inside in a pile or line
- Have each participant choose a bag (not their own) at random
- Each person must come up with a character, connection to the objects and story to present to the group
- They could present their character to the group AS the character for added interest
#3. TWO-LINE SCENES/ improv, accepting others' ideas, team support and imagination
- Separate the group into pairs
- Each group is given two words or statements (ie. "Have you seen it?" and "Oh my!")
- Have the pairs come up with a short 0-1 minute scene using only these two statements/words
- With older groups, you could choose to perform these scenes on the spot without rehearsing
#4. ONCE UPON A TIME.../improv, imagination & creativity
- Have everyone in the group exchange a personal item with someone else in the class
- These items might be something they have with them OR a random item that they were asked to bring with them
- Each person creates a story to go with the item and presents it to the group
- Though person A's ring might have been given to them by their mother - person B presents a story they made up starting with "Once upon a time..."
- Encourage the participants to think about where the object came from, who it belongs to and why it is so important
#5. GROUP SNAPSHOTS/ tableau, freeze, body awareness and teamwork
- This activity requires a camera or camera phone (but camera is best)
- Have everyone in the group work together to create a scene then freeze in place to take a picture
- Examples: audience applauding a celebrity, group bullying someone, people telling secrets, people plotting against someone, a magician performing a magic trick, opposing teams, etc.
- Print these pictures for the next class and tape them up somewhere the group can see
- Ask each individual to take one of the photos and create a story/scene which explains the picture
- If you don't have a camera, you could perform this exercise in front of a mirror so the group can see what they look like
- If you have access to lights, you can use them to create interesting effects and moods
#6. SHORT SCENES/ improv, teamwork, accepting ideas of others and character-building
- Split the group into pairs or groups of threes
- Ask each group to come up with 3 things: characters, a problem and how the problem gets resolved
- Perform short scenes which clearly #1-introduces the characters #2-exposes a problem #3-resolves the problem
- Ie. #1-Mother & Daughter #2-daughter got nose pierced & mom disapproves #3-daughter gets grounded OR #3-daughter convinces mom to have her nose pierced
- These scenes can be rehearsed and then performed (with younger participants) or delivered on the spot using improvisation
FOR MORE GAMES & ACTIVITIES ~ CHECK OUT PART 2!