An encyclopedia of over 500 improv drama games and Theatresports activities! Each entry describes the goals of the game, the ability level, the rules to be applied, and the skills acquired. These games will prove useful for theatre lovers, drama students, teachers, community groups, and more. Have fun! – Justin Cash
500+ Drama Games
A Day in The Life
Goal: To facilitate the practice of storytelling, character development, and ensemble work by constructing a sequence of interconnected scenes that collectively portray a day in the life of a single character.
- Participants must generate a series of interconnected scenes that depict various moments in a day of a designated character’s life.
- Each scene focuses on a different facet of the character’s life and personality.
- Participants will assume multiple roles throughout the exercise to enrich the main character’s narrative. This may include family members, friends, colleagues, or abstract entities like inner thoughts or emotions.
- The primary emphasis of this exercise is on storytelling, character development, and ensemble work. The collective efforts of the ensemble should aim to produce a dynamic, engaging sequence of scenes that provides a comprehensive insight into the main character.
- Continuity and consistency should be maintained throughout the scenes to ensure a coherent and plausible narrative structure.
Skills: Storytelling, Character Development, Ensemble Work, Creativity
Goal: Practice vocal control, creativity, and teamwork by performing a song without musical accompaniment.
Rules: Players collaborate to create and perform an original song without using musical instruments. Instead, players use their voices to create the melody, harmony, and rhythm. The focus should be on vocal control, creativity, and teamwork as players work together to create a cohesive and engaging musical performance.
Skills: Vocal control, creativity, teamwork, musicality
Goal: Practice adaptability, vocal variety, and character development by switching accents within a scene.
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene, each adopting a specific accent. A facilitator or another player can call out “switch,” prompting the players to switch accents with each other. Players must adapt to their new accents and incorporate them into their characters while maintaining a coherent and engaging scene.
Skills: Adaptability, vocal variety, character development, listening
Goal: To develop active listening, acceptance, and support within the group by reacting positively to each player’s contributions.
Rules: A group of players stands in a circle. One player starts by making a statement or sharing an idea, which can be real or fictional. The next player in the circle must respond with phrases such as “Yes, and…” or “I agree, and…” and build upon the initial statement, demonstrating acceptance and support. The game continues around the circle, with each player actively listening to and accepting the contributions of others, creating a positive and supportive environment.
Skills: Active listening, acceptance, support, cooperation
Act it Out
Goals: To encourage self-expression, develop acting skills, and promote creativity.
Rules: The teacher or facilitator prepares cards, each containing a word or phrase representing a character, action, or emotion. The children draw a card and act out the word or phrase without speaking. The rest of the group must guess the word or phrase based on the child’s performance. The game continues until all children have had a chance to act out a card.
Skills: Self-expression, acting, creativity, and non-verbal communication.
Goal: To practice physicality, adaptability, and creativity by performing a scene with players as action figures.
Rules: Players perform a scene like action figures, incorporating limited movement and exaggerated poses. The focus should be on physicality, adaptability, and creativity as players work together to create a dynamic and engaging scene.
Skills: Physicality, adaptability, creativity, ensemble work
Goal: To practice physicality, memory, and ensemble work by performing a scene and then recreating it exactly, including physical actions and dialogue.
Rules: Players perform a scene, paying close attention to their physical actions and dialogue. Once the scene is completed, they must recreate it exactly, including all physical actions and dialogue, as closely as possible to the original performance. The focus should be on physicality, memory, and ensemble work as players collaborate to recreate the scene precisely and accurately.
Skills: Physicality, memory, ensemble work, collaboration
Goal: Practice physicality, character development, and ensemble work by performing exaggerated physical action scenes.
Rules: Players perform a scene in which their characters engage in exaggerated physical action (e.g., fighting, dancing, acrobatics). The focus should be on physicality, character development, and ensemble work as players work together to create a dynamic, engaging scene showcasing their physical skills and creativity.
Skills: Physicality, character development, ensemble work
Goal: To practice adaptability, quick thinking, and improvisation by integrating lines from a scripted play into an improvised scene.
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene, with one player accessing a script from a published play. The scene begins with improvised dialogue, and at any point, the player with the script must integrate lines from the script into the scene. The other players must respond and adapt their dialogue and actions to incorporate the scripted lines, justifying their presence in the scene and maintaining the scene’s progression.
Skills: Adaptability, quick thinking, improvisation, justification
Goal: Explore character development and dialogue by focusing on adjectives describing the characters and their environment.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene, each assigned a specific adjective by the facilitator or audience (e.g., grumpy, energetic, shy). Players must embody their assigned adjective throughout the scene, incorporating it into their dialogue, actions, and interactions with other characters. Players should explore how their adjective influences the scene and their relationships with other characters.
Skills: Character development, dialogue, exploration, interaction
Goal: To explore character work and create humorous situations by having players portray characters with bizarre addictions.
Rules: Players perform a scene set in an addict’s anonymous meeting. Each player portrays a character with a strange and humorous addiction. Players should interact and share their experiences, highlighting the absurdity of their addictions while maintaining a sincere commitment to their characters.
Skills: Character work, creativity, commitment, listening
Goal: To develop physicality, rhythm, and teamwork by leading and following an improvised aerobics class.
Rules: One player assumes the role of an aerobics instructor, while the others are the class participants. The instructor leads the class through improvised exercises and movements, with the participants following along in rhythm. The instructor should focus on creating engaging and fun movements, while participants should practice teamwork and active listening to follow the instructor’s directions.
Skills: Physicality, rhythm, teamwork, active listening
Goals: To enhance communication skills, promote creativity, and develop problem-solving abilities.
Rules: The children form two lines facing each other. One line represents the “Aliens”, and the other represents the “Humans”. Each Alien is paired with a Human, creating several pairs of participants. The teacher or facilitator gives the Aliens a secret, nonsensical phrase or sound, which the Aliens then must “translate” to their Human partners using only gestures and body language. The Humans must attempt to decipher the Alien’s message and communicate it back to the Alien using the same gestures and body language. The game continues with new phrases and participants switching roles.
Skills: Non-verbal communication, creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.
All in One Voice
Goal: To create a scene where multiple players speak in unison like one character.
Rules: Players work together to portray a single character by speaking in unison. They must listen closely to each other and strive to match their words and timing to create the illusion that they are one person. The scene can involve other characters interacting with the “unified” character.
Skills: Listening, teamwork, commitment, character work
Goal: Practice language skills, creativity, and quick thinking by performing a scene using alliterations.
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene where they must use alliterations in their dialogue. Each player is assigned a specific letter by the facilitator or audience, and all words they say should start with that letter. Players must think creatively to construct sentences and progress the scene while following the alliteration rule.
Skills: Language skills, creativity, quick thinking, dialogue creation
Goal: To practice quick thinking, creativity, and focus by generating items related to a given category alphabetically.
Rules: A facilitator or audience member provides a category (e.g., types of fruit, animals, occupations). Players take turns generating items related to the category, starting with the letter ‘A’ and proceeding through the alphabet. The focus should be on quick thinking, creativity, and focus.
Skills: Quick thinking, creativity, focus, collaboration
Goals: To enhance vocabulary, develop creativity, and promote quick thinking.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: The children sit or stand in a circle. The teacher or facilitator chooses a category (e.g., animals, food, or places). The first child says a word related to the category that starts with the letter ‘A’. The next child says a word related to the category, starting with the letter ‘B’, and so on. The game continues through the alphabet, with each child contributing a word corresponding to the next letter in sequence. If a child cannot think of a word, they can ask for help or the group can move on to the next letter.
Skills: Vocabulary, creativity, quick thinking, and communication.
Goal: To enhance listening skills, quick thinking, and dialogue creation while adhering to a specific structure.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene where each line of dialogue must begin with the next consecutive letter of the alphabet. Players start with a given letter and proceed through the alphabet until they return to the starting letter. If a player cannot think of a line for a specific letter, the scene can either end or the facilitator can provide a suggestion.
Skills: Listening, quick thinking, dialogue creation, structure
Goal: To practice creativity and quick thinking by engaging in a game where players must create a telethon based on alphabet letters.
Rules: Players take turns hosting a telethon, each new host focusing on a different alphabet letter. The host must develop a cause, items for sale, and any other telethon-related elements based on their assigned letter. The focus should be on creativity and quick thinking, as players must develop unique and engaging ideas on the spot.
Skills: Creativity, quick thinking, adaptability
Goal: Practice character development, storytelling, and active listening by performing alternating monologues.
Rules: Two players take turns delivering monologues, with each monologue building on or responding to the other. Players must actively listen to their partner’s monologue and use the information provided to tell their character’s story. The focus should be on character development, storytelling, and active listening as players work together to create a dynamic and engaging series of monologues.
Skills: Character development, storytelling, active listening, ensemble work
Goal: To develop improvisational singing, character work, and performance skills by participating in a singing competition.
Rules: One player acts as the host of a singing competition, while two or more other players take on the roles of contestants, either assigned by the facilitator or created on the spot. The host introduces each contestant, who performs an improvised song in a specific style or genre. The host and audience can provide feedback or judge the performances, and players should focus on character work, vocal expression, and engaging stage presence.
Skills: Improvisational singing, character work, performance, vocal expression
Goal: To explore character development and physicality by embodying various animals in a scene.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene, each adopting the physicality, characteristics, and behaviours of a specific animal, which the facilitator or audience can assign. Players must interact with each other while maintaining their animal characteristics, exploring how the animals’ traits influence the scene and character relationships.
Skills: Character development, physicality, commitment, interaction
Goals: Encourage imaginative play, develop physical expression, and build social skills.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: The teacher or facilitator assigns each child an animal to portray. The children must then interact with each other while staying in character as their assigned animal, using gestures, movement, and sounds to communicate. The goal is for the children to explore the characteristics of their animals and engage in playful interactions with their peers.
Skills: Imagination, physical expression, communication, and social skills.
Goals: Encourage physical activity, develop creativity, and promote friendly competition.
Rules: Divide the children into two teams and have them line up at one end of the room. The teacher or facilitator calls out an animal, such as a “frog” or “kangaroo”, and the first child in each team must race to a designated point and back, mimicking the movements of the called animal. Once the child completes the relay, they tag the next team member, who continues the race with a new animal movement. The game continues until all children have participated.
Skills: Physical activity, creativity, friendly competition, and coordination.
Goal: To practice physicality, collaboration, and adaptability by performing a scene with one player providing another player’s arms.
Rules: One player stands behind another player and provides their arms, while the front player provides the dialogue and facial expressions. The focus should be physicality, collaboration, and adaptability as players work together to create a cohesive and engaging scene.
Skills: Physicality, collaboration, adaptability, ensemble work
Goals: To promote physical activity, enhance coordination, and develop quick thinking.
Rules: Set up a playing area with various obstacles, such as cones, hoops, or beanbags. The children take turns navigating the obstacle course, trying to complete it as quickly and efficiently as possible. The rest of the group can cheer on their peers and offer advice on overcoming the obstacles. The game continues until all children have had a chance to complete the course.
Skills: Physical activity, coordination, quick thinking, and teamwork.
Artist Model Clay
Goal: Practice communication, listening, and collaboration by guiding a partner to create a specific pose or object through physical manipulation.
Rules: Players form groups of three, with one player assuming the role of the “Artist,” another as the “Model,” and the third as the “Clay.” The Artist must guide the Model to pose or shape the Clay player into a specific form using only verbal instructions. The Model should carefully listen to the Artist’s directions and physically manipulate the Clay player accordingly. The goal is for the Artist to communicate, the Model to follow directions, and the Clay player to trust and cooperate with their partners.
Skills: Communication, listening, trust, collaboration
Goal: To develop the ability to express a character’s inner thoughts and emotions through brief monologues or asides.
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene. At any point, one player can leave the scene and deliver an “aside” to the audience, sharing their character’s inner thoughts, feelings, or motivations. The other characters in the scene should not react to or acknowledge the aside. Players should use asides to provide insight into their character and further develop the story and relationships.
Skills: Monologues, character development, emotional expression, storytelling
Goal: To practice observation, focus, and nonverbal communication by attempting to eliminate other players through subtle gestures.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Rules: A group of players stands in a circle or moves around the space. One player is secretly designated as the “Assassin” by the facilitator. The Assassin must attempt to “eliminate” other players by making eye contact and giving them a subtle, pre-determined signal, such as a wink or a nod. When a player receives the signal, they must “die” dramatically after a few seconds. Players must observe and attempt to identify the Assassin before they eliminate everyone. If the Assassin is caught, the game starts over with a new Assassin.
Skills: Observation, focus, nonverbal communication, subtlety
Goal: To develop quick thinking and connect words by jumping from one-word association to another.
Rules: A group of players stands in a circle. One player starts by saying a word, and the next in the circle must immediately say a word associated with the previous word. However, the next player should “jump” to a new association instead of continuing with the same association. The game continues around the circle, with players alternating between making associations and jumping to new associations.
Skills: Quick thinking, word association, mental agility, focus
Goal: To enhance listening skills, incorporate audience participation, and adapt a scene based on external input.
Rules: Two or more players perform a scene while the audience provides a soundtrack by humming or singing a tune, clapping, or making sound effects. The players must adapt the scene to fit the audience’s soundtrack’s tone, pace, and mood, using it to influence their actions and dialogue.