The American term for an improvisational, non-exhibitional, process centered form of drama in which participants are guided by a leader to imagine, enact, and reflect upon human experiences. This process allows students to actively explore a subject or question through imaginative play that is facilitated by a leader and may involve a variety of improvisational activities. These activities are not scripted or memorized, and they allow students to synthesize various educational concepts into a personally meaningful form.
Relaxed and free movements coordinated with various rhythms, sounds, or music which often express feelings, modes or ideas evoked by the sound stimulus.
The instructor leads the students through the dramatic activity by telling them specifically what they are to do, such as in narrative pantomime.
An extended learning experience consisting of a series of dramatic activities based on a single topic. Features the both the students and teacher in role. The teacher-in-role strategy can help begin the drama by stimulating and engaging the group. In some ways it is like a lesson plan with multiple activities the leader chooses from as s/he sees the drama unfolding according to student input and interest. Structurally this technique resembles a play that develops scene by scene—but not necessarily in sequential order.
The British term for improvisational drama work; also known as Role Drama or Process Drama. In this genre of theatre-making, performance for an external audience is absent. The participants, together with a teacher, constitute a kind of theatrical ensemble who engage in a series of improvisational activities/episodes as a way to make meaning of issues or curricular concepts for themselves.
A pantomime in which students perform at double or triple time. This is a good exercise for students to do when they have excess energy or are learning to achieve control of their movements.
A pantomime guessing game in which several students simultaneously act out their individual ideas while the leader counts from one to perhaps ten. At that point the pantomimers freeze and the class guesses what was being performed.
An activity that consists of students closing their eyes and listening to a set of verbal sensory cues provided by the leader.
Individuals, groups or partners create a ‘frozen’ image using their own bodies to crystallize a moment, idea or theme. Contrasting images can be made to represent actual/ideal, dream/nightmare versions of events. Also know as ‘frozen pictures’ or ‘freeze frame’ or ‘image theatre’ this technique can aid in story sequencing and development skill when groups are charged with creating 3 - 5 ‘frames’ (still images) that ‘tell’ the story.
The act of inventing or executing something without preparation.
Students use their own words to improvise a scene about a situation that involves two or more characters. For example, what would a conversation sound like between George W. Bush and Al Gore if they could speak in private right now?
An activity in which the instructor poses as someone else in order to stimulate discussion and thinking among the class. In this activity the students are empowered to ask questions and direct the course of the discussion; also called Teacher in Role.
A dramatic activity based on a common daily experience. Two students face one another. One pretends to be a person looking into a mirror while the other pretends to be the reflection of that person, exactly duplicating the person’s movements.
Participants simultaneously pantomime an action-filled narrative read by the leader. Written in second person, these narratives uses not only literature but a variety of curriculum concepts and topics as sources. The narrative provides a strong structure through which to examine embodied concepts.
The non-verbal expression of ideas through the body, using no words. Participants work toward clarity in manipulating imaginary objects as well as developing non-verbal characterization, setting, and/or situation cues.
The creation of an original performative work with a group. Often playbuilt plays begin with games, dramatic activities, improvisation, and discussion and are based on the interests and passions of the group creating them.
Students perform dramatic activities informally before a group of peers. This type of work emphasizes feedback and works best with students who have more experience and confidence.
The act of forming carefully considered thoughts, often in writing, about a learning experience.
Like image work, students work in pairs or groups with one student acting as a sculptor and their partner(s) acting as clay. The sculptor gently shapes the clay into a statue that reflects some aspect of the concept under discussion.
Participants can be asked to concentrate on remembering past experiences, recall information, and form mental images as a base for improvisational work in a new context. Senses can also be isolated and “exercised” in an improvisational mode (taste, smell, etc.)
A strategy in which the drama leader offers suggestions and encouraging comments from the sidelines in order to enhance the dramatic playing or help students stay on task. For example, the teacher might focus students by saying things such as, “Use your whole body to explore the space around you.” or “Remember who your character is.”
Includes sound effects and sound ‘mimes’ as a way to explore the voice as an instrument of sound that has an extremely wide range of possibilities. Sound effects or sound stories can also help set the initial mood for lesson explorations (such as rainforests, farms, zoo, spring, cities, a storm, etc.). Moving from silent work into sound effects can also make the transition into verbal improvisation easier.
Participants take on roles or research and develop roles for in depth exploration of a topic or issue. Often present or historical court trials, government hearings, international peace or economic conferences, etc. are ‘simulated’ using this technique.
A dramatic activity in which the students perform a pantomime very slowly and deliberately. This activity requires flowing and disciplined movements and is more challenging in general than fast-motion pantomime.
A dramatic activity in which individual students become persons or objects in a frozen position.
Literature is used as a ‘springboard’ for participants to explore BEYOND the actual text. David Booth’s story drama approach encourages teachers to use the issues, themes, characters, mood, conflict or spirit of the story as a beginning for dramatic exploration. He asserts that it is often helpful if you structure the drama using a situation NOT specifically in the book or text. Using situations that are REFERRED TO or IMPLIED, that might have occurred BEFORE the story began or AFTER the story ends can often allow students to take up different perspectives and explore themes in more depth.
Improvisations based on a story, folktale, or poem. The leader guides the group as they bring to life the characters, dialogue, and events suggested in the story. The stories or poems each present problems group members can actively solve in their playing of the story. Called ‘playmaking’ by Winifred Ward.
The teacher or leader manages the learning opportunities and theatrical possibilities provided by a “dramatic” context from WITHIN the context by adopting a suitable role in order to: excite interest, control the action, invite involvement, provoke tension, challenge superficial thinking, create choices and ambiguity, develop a narrative, and create possibilities for the group to interact in role. The teacher is not acting spontaneously but is trying to mediate her/his teaching purpose through involvement in a dramatic context.
The traditional study of theatrical presentations and their conventions.
Short “improvisational” exercises that focus on developing a specific skill or skills such as concentration, cooperation, problem-solving, self-expression. Games can be also be diagnostic and/or serve as metaphors for larger issues or relationships.
The general term referring to Augusto Boal’s strategies including: Games, Image Theatre, Forum Theatre and Invisible Theatre.
The entire class performs simultaneously. There is no audience and no one is the center of attention. This exercise is good for focusing student concentration and encourages shy or beginning students. An example is having all of the students pantomime what they do when they first arrive home from school each day.