Drama games play an important role in creating a sense of teamwork, building confidence, learning about appropriate responses and self-control, developing creativity and having fun. They should never take over the drama lesson and, where possible, should be a precursor to your main activity but drama students of all ages will always enjoy playing them!
This page contains a few of the great drama games that are out there. For more drama games try Games For Groups which contains 50 great drama games, from physical to verbal, plus loads of great follow-on ideas.
Vigorous – great ice breakers and energy burners.
Calmer – quieter games, good for focus
Verbal – games to develop speech and language
Creative – games to stimulate the imagination
CATCH MY NAME
Players sit in a circle. One player calls out the name of another and throws a beanbag, or soft ball, to them. That person catches it, calls out the name of someone else and throws again. Keep throwing and catching around the circle. Continue for a few minutes then reverse it, so that the catcher calls out the name of the thrower. This requires clear eye contact, a good memory, and a lot of co-operation!
Players sit in a circle. One player calls out the name of another, points, and moves towards that person as soon as they say their name. As soon as their name is called, the person who’s been pointed at calls out another name, points, and moves towards that player. As soon as their name is called, that player calls out another name and moves towards a different player – and so on. The game continues like this for several minutes, until most of the players have had a turn. It needs to be kept moving smoothly. Players need to react quickly and should sit down in vacated seats once they reach them. This requires good concentration and quick responses!
Players sit in a circle on chairs. Everyone is given the name of a fruit in turn, e.g. apple, pear, banana, apple, pear, banana. One player stands in the middle of the circle and their chair is taken away. You now have one less chair than there are players. The person in the middle calls out one of the fruits. All players with that fruit name must dash out of their seats and run to another chair. No returning to your own chair, or moving to an adjacent chair. Whilst the 'fruits' are changing places, the player in the middle also tries to find a seat. When everyone has swapped seats, one player will be left in the middle again. He or she calls out a fruit name - it can be the same one or a different one - and the whole process begins again. When the player in the middle calls out 'FRUITBOWL!' every player must change places and move to a new seat! Watch for players getting too excited and pushing other players. Keep playing until everyone is exhausted!
One player stands at the end of the room with their back to the rest of the group. A beanbag or small object is placed between their feet. Everyone tries to creep up to steal the beanbag. The player turns round at regular intervals and, when they do, everyone freezes. Anyone moving when the player turns round goes back to the beginning. The winner is the person who steals the beanbag. They become the new ‘It’ and the game begins again.
Players walk about the space without touching. The teacher calls out a number. Players must form groups of that number of people as quickly as possible. They sit down when they’ve achieved it. Players stand, walk about again, and repeat with a different number. Great for mixing groups up. Continue until you want to move on!
IN THE MANNER OF THE WORD
Players sit facing a small space. One player is selected to leave the room. Whilst they’re away other players select an adverb, for example, daintily, noisily, sadly, slowly, angrily, etc. The selected player returns and suggests a simple mime, for example, getting dressed, making a cup of coffee, planting bulbs, eating spaghetti, cleaning teeth, etc. Other players must all perform this mime in the manner of the adverb. From the style of their actions, the selected player must try to guess the adverb. The guesser has three turns at guessing the adverb. Once it’s revealed, a new player is selected to leave and the game is repeated. This is great for language and creativity, and could be played as a team game.
LOOK DOWN, LOOK UP
Players stand in a circle. When teacher says Look Down, all players must look at the floor. When teacher says Look Up, players must look directly at someone standing in the circle. They must make it very clear who they’re looking at. If the person they’re looking at is also looking at them, both players are out and sit down. Check for cheats not looking at anyone! Keep making the circle smaller, asking those still playing to take a small step forwards. Keep the circle quiet and ensure that everyone is concentrating. Lengthen the pauses between instructions to add to the dramatic tension! Continue saying Look Down, Look Up until you have a winner or winners. Great for calming and creating a sense of focus.
PEOPLE TO PEOPLE
Players work in pairs. Teacher calls out action commands, for example, nose-to-nose, back-to-back, head-to-knee, elbow-to-ear, and so on. Pairs must connect these body parts together. When the command People to People! is given, all players must change partners. A good ice breaker. Run the game as many times as possible, to get everyone working together, and be as creative as you like with the commands!
Needs an odd number of players (or teacher can join in!) and a circle of chairs. Players work in pairs, one sitting on a chair the other standing behind it. Players sitting down are the Prisoners, players standing behind them are Guards. One person stands behind an empty chair. Any Guard with an empty chair (‘prison’) must try to fill it. The Guard with the empty chair calls out the name of a Prisoner. That Prisoner tries to escape and run to the ‘prison’ in front of the Guard who’s just called them. But Guards must try to stop their own Prisoners from escaping by tagging them on their back. If Guards manage to tap a Prisoner before they’ve escaped, the Prisoner remains in their prison. But if the Guard misses, or is not quick enough, their Prisoner escapes to sit in a new prison. The Guard with the empty prison then calls out the name of another Prisoner who will try to escape into their prison. Guards keep calling out names until they get a new Prisoner. The game should move quickly. Guards must stand at arm’s length behind their Prisoners, with their hands behind their backs. Prisoners must sit properly on the chairs. Once the game has run for a while, swap Guards and Prisoners over. Great for concentration, name learning and can be used as an intro for drama about oppression.
Players walk about the space without touching. Teacher calls out commands and players respond, as follows: GREEN = Walk, AMBER = Sit down, RED = Stop. Anyone responding late, or incorrectly, is eliminated and must sit down. Other players then work around them. After a while declare the winner, or winners. Repeat with new commands: GREEN now means stop, AMBER now means go and RED now means sit down. Great for concentration, listening skills, responses and memory.
UP, DOWN, FREEZE
Players walk about the space without touching. Teacher calls out commands and players must respond, as follows: UP – stand still with arms raised in the air
DOWN – crouch down on the ground
FREEZE – stand perfectly still and silent
ONE LEG – stand on one leg!
HEADS – put hands on head
SHOULDERS – put hands on shoulders
TURN – turn and face in the opposite direction
GO – continue moving
Players who respond late, or incorrectly, are eliminated and must sit down. Others then work around them. Continue until you have a winner or winners. Great for following instructions, memory, concentration, physical skills.
Players sit in a circle. One player is selected to be the Detective. Without the Detective – or the other players – seeing, another player is selected to be the Murderer. It’s very important that no one sees who this is. Once both Detective and Murderer have been selected, the game begins. The Detective stands in the centre of the circle. The Murderer must then murder the other players by winking silently and secretly at them. Those players murdered should die dramatically. The Detective must try to work out who the Murderer is. Allow two or three guesses, these can be taken at intervals. Players – dead or alive – must not give away who the Murderer is. If the Detective fails to guess correctly, the Murderer is then revealed. Select a new Detective and a new Murderer and begin the game again. Encourage dramatic skills by asking players to act out their different methods of death, e.g. strangulation, falling off a cliff, poisoning, etc.
More great drama games can be found in the e-book Games For Groups.