Drama games are drawn from a wide range of sources, including traditional games such as Grandma's Footsteps, as well as exercises developed by directors, actors and teachers. They can be used for breaking the ice, physical warm-ups, group dynamics and encouraging creativity.
On the right you will find a list of drama games ordered by popularity, related to such themes as mime and movement, storytelling and improvisation. These are just starting points, so go ahead and invent your own games to add to those which constantly circulate amongst drama teachers and students.
This is a fun introductory warm-up and concentration game. You can begin sitting down or standing up. In pairs, face each other. Start counting from one to three between yourselves, over and over. Once you get the hang of that part you are ready for the next stage. Instead of saying the number "one", you should clap your hands - but you would still say "two" and "three" aloud.
Once everyone has mastered that, the next step is that instead of saying "three", that person should bend their knees. You should still clap your hands for the number "one". This is a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time - in fact, you could try that afterwards!
Although this is a traditional children's game, in my experience it is also great fun for grown-ups! One person is Grandma - he/she faces a wall. The others in the group start at the other end of the room, then try to creep up to Grandma and tap her on the shoulder. However, at any moment, Grandma can turn around suddenly. If she sees anyone moving, she points at them and that person must return to the start. No-one is allowed to move while she is watching them.
Whoever manages to tap her on the shoulder becomes Grandma (male or female) and the game starts again. It's a good activity for cultivating concentration and patience - not to mention lots of cheating!
Try combining two drama techniques to create an original physical theatre piece: For example, play Ten Second Objects with a seasonal flavour - ask the groups to make a bonfire and different kinds of fireworks (with appropriate sounds and slow-motion movement). Once they have tried out a few ideas, bring in your second technique – still images. Each group has to create a series of three frozen images showing different scenes, which could take place on bonfire night (or whatever your theme is). They could also decide on a caption for each image. Get the groups to show their series of images to each other.
Finally ask them to devise a short scene which begins with an object made out of their bodies, which slowly metamorphoses into a scene based on one or more of their frozen images - and perhaps at the end of the scene they become a second object. This is a simple way of creating some effective physical theatre.
Come back for a new Game next week!
This is one of the simplest, yet most challenging drama games. Sit or stand in a circle. The idea is for the group to count to twenty, one person saying one number at a time. Anybody can start the count. Then a different person says the next number - but if two or more people happen to speak at the same time, counting must start again from the beginning. It is possible to get to twenty if everybody really concentrates - but try and be relaxed as well.