Three Easy First-Day Theatre Games

Three Easy First-Day Theatre Games

Just woke up from a long nap after teaching T.A.G. classes at OKTC!  T.A.G. stands for “The Actor Grows” and is a program we have here for all the new kids to the company who are in grade 2 to grade 8.

Here’s the description that goes out to all the new students:

“Our T.A.G. Program is designed to offer well-rounded exposure to many important aspects of theatre combining to provide a building block process to learning some of the most important skills an actor can have.  In charge of the T.A.G. Program is the T.A.G. co-ordinator, Kerry Hishon, who will schedule and supervise a series of workshops led by professional theatre artists.  There will be a whole feast of hands-on learning experiences on a variety of topics such as the place of OKTC in local and national theatre, stage movement and dance, voice training, improvisation, theatre tradition and etiquette, monologue and scene preparation and how to publicize your show.  This will culminate in a Showcase for all T.A.G. actors to show off everything they’ve learned.  Fun, learning and involvement!  That’s OKTC T.A.G.!”

So I have 61 new names to learn this season… it’s a lot but I’m excited!

During our first class, we played games to get to know each other better, and to learn each others’ names.   (This is for my benefit mostly, not going to lie!)  I thought I’d share some of the games here — perhaps other teachers, coaches or educators have used them, or they might be helpful to others!  If you have had success with certain games, leave me a comment and share!

“ABC Name Game”

This is a really simple game — in your “loud actor’s voice,” you introduce yourself, and add something you like that starts with the same letter of your first name.  For example: “My name is Kerry, and I like koalas!”  Then the person next to you introduces themselves and what they like, and then re-introduces you.  “My name is Sarah, and I like soccer… and this is Kerry, and she likes koalas.”  You can either continue on introducing one person at a time, or for a big challenge, make the students keep repeating every single name and like until the poor person at the end has to repeat everyone’s name!

Alternatives:

  • “Action Name Game”: Add a gesture or pose or action with your name and like. Each person must repeat the names and actions which will create a crazy dance by the end of the line!
  • “Going on a picnic”: Don’t tell what the trick is!  The instructor says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing _______” and the “________” has the same letter as their name.  If it were me (Kerry), I could say, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing ketchup/kiwis/kale.”  The next person must try and figure out what to bring, and the instructor tells them whether or not they can come!

“Move Yer Butt”

This is a fun, active game to get the kids up and running around!  It’s kind of like a non-musical Musical Chairs.  Everyone sits on a chair arranged in a circle, except for one person in the middle.  Their objective is to get a seat!  The person in the middle of the circle will call out “Move Yer Butt if…” and adds a situation or characteristic that they have.  For example: “Move Yer Butt if you have brown eyes!”  Then anyone in the circle who has brown eyes must get up and switch seats with another person in the circle, while the person in the centre tries to steal a chair!  Whoever is left without a seat comes up with the next “Move Yer Butt” topic.

Examples:

  • eye/hair colour
  • items of clothing worn
  • places you’ve travelled to
  • age/grade level
  • things you like/dislike such as foods, music, movies…

“Mixer”

A super-easy game to get kids moving and laughing!  Students move around the room in various ways, depending on what the instructor calls out.  For example: walking, hopping, jumping, sneaking, creeping, skipping, sliding… the possibilities go on and on!  At various times the instructor will call out a random number and body part, such as “four elbows” or “six toes” or “three pinkies.”  The students must quickly get in groups of whatever number was called and attach the named body part together!  If there are people left over, they are “OUT!”  For a more competitive game, those players who are “OUT” are eliminated; for a more cooperative game, those who are “OUT” help the instructor pick the next way of moving or number of body parts.

Hope these games help with your next first class!

What are some of your favourite theatre games?
Share them with me on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below!

Further Reading: Theatre Fun & Games: Fruit Basket

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