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Year 8

Key Stage Three Drama activities for the Summer term

  • These activities are designed for students in Years 7-9.
  • There are a selection of tasks.
  • Some of them will require you to work practically with other members of your household.
  • Some of them will be individual tasks.
  • It is up to you to choose a task per week while school is closed. They can be completed in any order. Tasks nearer the top of the list are more complicated than those near the end.
  • These tasks do not need to be submitted in any way and they will not be marked.
  • The tasks are designed to inject some fun and creativity during a difficult time, while still developing your Drama skills.
  • If you do write a play then, when we’re back in school, tell your tutor/Drama teacher about it and there might be an opportunity to get it performed!
  • With thanks to TheatreMakers @ Birmingham City University, Shrewsbury Drama, and the online Drama community, for some of the tasks.

 

Putting on a Show! – This is a seven-week task

  • Skills – research, performance, advertising

 

How to take part:

  • You can do this activity if you have access to a laptop and the internet.
  • The scheme of work covers 7 lessons and is all on this powerpoint:
    https://r1.res.outlook.com/owa/prem/images/pptx_16x16.pngPutting On A Show! WFH Scheme.pptx
  • If you can’t download the powerpoint then choose different activities from the rest of this menu

 

What’s the point

  • These lessons will give you a really good idea of potential job roles in the theatre industry and of all the work that goes into putting on a production

 

Write a script for a performance about what is happening in the world at the moment  – This is a task which could last for a number of weeks depending on how much you do

  • Skills – research, playwrighting, character development

 

How to take part:

  • Come up with the idea for a play which is inspired by the current Coronavirus crisis the world is facing. You will need to consider:
  • Plot (story)
  • Characters and their relationships
  • Locations
  • What you want the audience to think/feel
  • Whether you want to write in any particular genre? Will this be a comedy or tragedy? Would you write using a Chorus like in Greek Theatre? Will there be opportunities for movement pieces or will it be very dialogue-focused? Might you want to include songs and turn it into a musical?
  • Once you’ve come up with these ideas start planning your play.
    • Then, when you’re ready to write it your script should be formatted like this:
  • Put the name of the character that will say that line clearly before writing their speech
  • Use stage directions to explain what you want the character to do and to help describe how the actor playing that part needs to say the line.
  • Put stage directions in italics and/or brackets to make it clear they are not speech.

Example:

John: Hello, my name is John. (He waves to Sarah).

Sarah: (Nervously) Hello… how did I get here?

(John walks over to the door and points at it.)

John: through here. 

(Sarah stays where she is)

John: Are you ok?

 

What’s the point

  • Playwriting is a wonderful skill to develop and this is a great opportunity to get creative!
  • In every year in your Drama lessons you’ll study a play and so the more familiar you are with the form, the better.
  • Writing about what we’re going through might be a very helpful experience for you emotionally.

 

 

Verbatim monologues 1 – this task requires another person

  • Skills: Performance, Verbatim Theatre, research

 

How to take part:

  • Watch the National Theatre's 'Introduction to Verbatim Theatre' video on youtube.
  • With your partner, record their answers to these nine questions as an audio file on your phone. Ask them to answer in as much detail as they can:
  1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Why?
  2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  3. What would constitute a 'perfect' day for you?
  4. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
  5. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
  6. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
  7. Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?
  8. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life so far?
  9. What is your most treasured memory?
  • Observe your partner as precisely as possible. How do they sit? Do they look at you, or look away? Do they gesture while they talk? Do they laugh? How fluently do they speak? Are there lots of pauses? What do you notice about their accent / pitch / tone of voice?
  • Using your phone, edit your partner's responses to create a short (one minute) monologue. You can cut bits out, but you cannot add or rephrase anything. If you can’t edit it then just choose the most interesting minute.
  • Learn the monologue and then perform your monologue to camera. You are trying to be as accurate and detailed as you can be with the character you are playing. Or...try setting your monologue to music — this is what Alecky Blythe did with her award-winning verbatim musical, London Road.

 

What’s the point

  • Verbatim Theatre is a really popular genre in contemporary theatre and this is a wonderful opportunity to make some of your own.

 

 

Verbatim monologues 2 – this task requires another person

  • Skills: Performance, Verbatim Theatre, research

 

How to take part:

  • With your partner, record their answers to these nine questions as an audio file on your phone. Ask them to answer in as much detail as they can:
  1. What do you value most in a friendship?
  2. Who is your closest friend? Describe him / her.
  3. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  4. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
  5. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
  6. Who do you love most in the world? What is your earliest memory of him / her?
  7. If you were to commit a crime, what would it be and why?
  8. When you look back on your life when you are 90, what do you think you will be proudest of?
  9. What do you think you will most regret?
  • Observe your partner as precisely as possible. How do they sit? Do they look at you, or look away? Do they gesture while they talk? Do they laugh? How fluently do they speak? Are there lots of pauses? What do you notice about their accent / pitch / tone of voice?
  • Using your phone, edit your partner's responses to create a short (one minute) monologue. You can cut bits out, but you cannot add or rephrase anything. If you can’t edit it then just choose the most interesting minute.
  • Don’t learn the monologue – this time you are going to use a technique created by Alecky Blythe and her company Recorded Delivery. You’ll need headphones which you can wear. The challenge is to listen to the monologue and a split second after you hear the voice on your phone you repeat the words using the exact inflection and pace as your interviewee. Practise this a few times and then perform your monologue to camera. You are trying to be as accurate and detailed as you can be with the character you are playing.

 

What’s the point

  • Verbatim Theatre is a really popular genre in contemporary theatre and this is a wonderful opportunity to make some of your own.

 

 

Who’s in the box? – this task requires another person

  • Skills: imagination - that’s about it!

 

How to play:

  • Each participant should gather together a selection of items that might be owned by a particular character of their choice - try to think about their age, occupation, hobbies, sense of style, likes/dislikes, quirks, or perhaps even shoe size! The items can be clothing, jewellery or anything someone might carry on their person or in a bag. As the name suggests, put your items into boxes - preferably ones that can be covered. Spend as much time as you like finding the items, you could set a timer so that nobody spends too much time dawdling!
  • Once the items have been gathered, you should then gather together themselves. You should take it in turns to remove items from your box, showing the other Makers and then using it to ‘become’ your character - but silently! After they have seen each item, the others should make guesses about who this character is. Try talking about how good you are at guessing - did you get each character right? What did you get wrong? Which version do you prefer?

 

What’s the point?

  • This game helps us to develop characters to use in our stories. Often, thinking of a story on the spot is hard, but if you start with a character it is much easier to imagine what could happen to them. You can begin by creating quite ‘normal’ characters, but the more you play the weirder and silly-er you can get. As well, we can use this game to begin a conversation about stereotypes by second-guessing the assumptions that we make about the characters that we create.

 

Old photograph - new story – this task requires another person

  • Skills: Just your imagination!

 

How to play:

  • Dig up your old family photographs and start by having a sift through them. Select the most interesting ones - maybe someone’s dressed funny or you can see an accident waiting to happen (or you might even just regret the eyebrows!) Now, you need some help, because you can’t for the life of you remember what’s happening in the photo! Who are these people? What are they doing? Where on earth are they? The only person who knows the answer: the other people playing.
  • Ask them to help you figure it out, you can prompt them by asking questions and disagree if you think the scenario they’ve come up with isn’t silly enough.

 

Tip: when prompting the other person to come up with a story, the more absurd it gets, the more

plausible you need to find it.

 

What’s the point?

  • This game helps you to stretch your imagination using a stimulus. Through this game, you can develop entire narratives and characters, from one simple photograph. This is a skill that is useful across the board in creative subjects - it could lead to writing a story or developing an entire play.

 

Hot Seating – this task requires another person

  • Skills: being in character.

 

How to play:

  • For this exercise, you can use one of the characters you have created in the previous games.
  • One of the people takes a seat in-role as a character whilst the other/s ask them questions. The person in the hot-seat should answer the questions as their character. The idea is to explore the character’s thoughts and feelings, but it could also be used to explore more about their background.

 

Tip: if you want, use this as a chance to really have fun - play with costume, accents etc.

 

What’s the point?

  • This is a classic drama exercise, invented by Stanislavki. Hot Seating allows us to explore a character in more depth. It is helpful for both actors and audiences to understand characters more. By exploring characters in this way, we help develop social skills like empathy too.

 

Scriptwriting – this task can be repeated as many times as you like

  • Skills: imagination, plot and character development

 

How to take part:

  • Choose a drama technique from this list:

Still image

Thought-tracking

Choral Speaking

Physical Theatre

Mime

Monologues

Circus

Comedy

Masks

  • Choose a location from this list:

School

Party

Park

Beach

Supermarket

Alien planet

  • Choose a scenario from this list:

Win the lottery

Earthquake

Zombie attack

Meet your favourite celebrity

Witness a bank robbery

Meet a ghost

Invent a time machine

  • You should now spend 40 minutes writing a script which include the three things you chose!

 

Top Tip:

  • Your script should be formatted like this:
  • Put the name of the character that will say that line clearly before writing their speech
  • Use stage directions to explain what you want the character to do and to help describe how the actor playing that part needs to say the line.
  • Put stage directions in italics and/or brackets to make it clear they are not speech.

Example:

John: Hello, my name is John. (He waves to Sarah).

Sarah: (Nervously) Hello… how did I get here?

(John walks over to the door and points at it.)

John: through here. 

(Sarah stays where she is)

John: Are you ok?

 

What’s the point

  • Playwriting is a wonderful skill to develop and this is a great opportunity to get creative!
  • In every year in your Drama lessons you’ll study a play and so the more familiar you are with the form, the better.

 

 

Storyboarding – this task can be repeated as many times as you like

  • Skills: imagination, plot and character development

 

How to take part:

  • Choose a drama technique from this list:

Still image

Thought-tracking

Choral Speaking

Physical Theatre

Mime

Monologues

Circus

Comedy

Masks

  • Choose a location from this list:

School

Party

Park

Beach

Supermarket

Alien planet

  • Choose a scenario from this list:

Win the lottery

Earthquake

Zombie attack

Meet your favourite celebrity

Witness a bank robbery

Meet a ghost

Invent a time machine

  • You should now spend 40 minutes creating a storyboard for a play which include the three things you chose!

 

Top Tip:

  • Format your storyboard by split your page into boxes - enough for each scene or section in your play.
  • In each box draw a picture of what the scene will look like
  • Use speech bubbles in your picture to show what the characters will say
  • Under each picture write a brief overview of what is happening.

 

What’s the point

  • Playwriting is a wonderful skill to develop and this is a great opportunity to get creative!
  • In every year in your Drama lessons you’ll study a play and so the more familiar you are with the form, the better.

 

 

Circle Character – this task requires another person

  • Skills: lots of imagination, fast-paced thinking!

 

How to play:

  • This game is best played with more than two people, normally we play it with enough people to sit in a circle, but work with what you’ve got!
  • It works by each person stating a different attribute of a character - this could be something as simple as their hair colour or something more significant like their favourite person in the world. You should take it in turns stating the attributes and you should quickly see a character taking shape. As you begin to form the character’s personality, you could start adding in life events, maybe they’ve suffered an injury in an accident or once went on a TV game show.
  • Once you’re happy with the character you’ve made, write down them down so you don’t forget!

 

Tip: maybe you’ve already got one character from a previous exercise, but need to find out who their best friend or sidekick is. Try this!

 

What’s the point?

  • This exercise is a sure-fire way to create a character who is wacky and wonderful. From a drama perspective, this exercise is a great starting point for developing storylines.

 

Fortunately / Unfortunately – this task requires another person

  • Skills: story-telling, imagination.

 

How to play:

  • For this game, participants tell a story together, line by line. The only rule is that each line must begin with “fortunately” then “unfortunately”. It will sound something like this: “Fortunately, Mary loves going to the swimming baths. Unfortunately, they are closed today. Fortunately, she can jump the gate. Unfortunately…”
  • You can let the story go on as long as you like, but once it’s finished have a conversation to reflect on the story you told. Who were the key characters? What happened in the beginning, middle and end? What were the characters’ motivations - why did they make certain choices? What sort of story was it - a happy or a sad one, a funny one or a boring one?

 

What’s the point?

  • This game is great for developing narratives and learning about what makes a good or bad story. It’s good for a bit for fun on a day that’s dragging, but also as a technique for making interesting stories for drama and creative writing.
  • By using this exercise, you can let your imagination run wild or you can make a story that is well-thought-out and engaging - both are equally as valuable.

 

 

Sausages! – this task requires another person

  • Skills: focus (or trying not to laugh!)

 

How to play:

  • This game needs two player (if you have more, you can easily make it work).
  • Label yourselves A and B (it really doesn’t matter who is which).
  • A must make eye contact with B and ask them any question - any question in the world, the sillier the better! However, B can only answer with the word “sausage”! No matter what the question. No matter how silly.
  • The first player to laugh loses.

 

Tip: To play with more players, just sit in a circle and take it in turns asking the question – the person asking the question can ask it to whoever they like!

 

What’s the point?

  • This game is mostly just great fun and a simple way to pass the time. But in terms of skills, it helps performers learn to focus and stay in-role under pressure as well as helping stretch imaginations.

 

Gibberish – this task requires another person

  • Skills: use of voice, acting

 

How to play:

  • This one is a great laugh, and a great way to bring some lightness into a particularly dull or difficult day.
  • Players must have a conversation, in complete gibberish. No words allowed - only incoherent noises.
  • Except you’re going to have to communicate some meaning, using only things like tone, pitch, pace and expression.
  • We recommend starting out with a simple conversation, like asking for directions.
  • It might sound something like this:

A: Badada bubda?

B: Gugugug … gugu?

A: Baaaa!

B: *pointing* Gagag guguuuu geee gaa. Ga?

  • Then discuss how you communicate using pitch, pace etc. For example, how do you make it sound like you are asking a question?

 

What’s the point?

  • Speaking in gibberish is great fun, but we promise there is a method behind the madness. This exercise helps us understand the importance of our tone, pitch and pace when speaking.
  • As well as this, the lack of words or scripting means this is a great tool for improvisations around character and relationships as the focus becomes on the way the voice is used and the physicality of the character, as opposed to the words written in a script.

 

Tongue Twisters

  • Skills: fluency of language, diction and enunciation

 

How to play:

  • You already know how tongue twisters work, so here’s a few you know and a few you might not, to get your mouths going:

 

Peter Piper

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?

 

Woodchuck

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck,

if the woodchuck could chuck wood?

He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,

And chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would,

If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

 

I Thought a Thought

I thought a thought,

But the thought I thought wasn’t the thought I thought I thought.

If the thought I thought I thought had been the thought I thought,

I wouldn’t have thought so much.

 

A Proper cup of coffee

All I want is a proper cup of coffee,

Made in a proper copper coffee pot

I may be off my dot

But I want a cup of coffee

From a proper coffee pot.

Tin coffee pots and iron coffee pots

They’re no use to me –

If I can’t have a proper cup of coffee In a proper copper coffee pot

I’ll have a cup of tea.

 

Betty Botter

Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.

“But,” she said, “this bit of butter’s bitter,

But a bit of better butter mixed with this butter

might just make my bit of bitter butter better.”

So, Betty bought a bit of better butter

to make her bitter butter better

 

Doctor

If one doctor doctors another doctor,

Then which doctor is doctoring the doctored doctor?

Does the doctor who doctors the doctor,

doctor the doctor the way the doctor she is doctoring doctors?

Or does she doctor the doctor the way the doctor who doctors doctors?

 

Cross Cow

If you must cross a coarse cross cow across a crowded cow crossing, cross the cross coarse cow across the crowded cow crossing carefully.

 

What’s the point?

  • Tongue twisters are used as a warm-up before any performance in which you use your voice.
  • Your voice is something that needs stretching & exercising if you do drama - just like how runners stretch before a race.
  • Being able to speak clearly is an important skill in drama and in life.

 

Three Times Through

  • Skills: reading, use of voice, exploration of meaning

 

How to play:

  • Pick a text - this can be a play, storybook, poem, virtually anything you will enjoy reading!
  • Read through the text line by line, saying each line in a different voice - for example, once in a very big booming voice, once in a very small quiet voice and once singing it! You can think of all sorts of ways to read it - maybe sadly, excitedly, angrily - maybe it’s a question now when it wasn’t before!

 

What’s the point?

  • This allows us to explore meaning at a deeper level because you find meanings that you couldn’t see before. A text that before was sad and doubtful, might be full of hope when you sing it.
  • This is a really useful tool for performers, but it also helps us think about tone of voice and how we speak to people. Consider about how easily the meaning of our words can get lost in how we say them.

 

Tell me a story! – this task requires another person

Skills: reading, performing

 

How to play:

  • To do this activity, there are a few ways you can frame it. You could ask the other player to read to you, maybe you ask an older player to read to a younger sibling (or vice versa), you could even read to their toys or a pet.
  • You should practice reading the text in this way:

● Read a line of the text in your head

● Look up at the person (or toys, or pet) you are reading to, and speak aloud the line you just read.

  • To really get the most out of this activity, try doing it every day for a few days building up to a “performance” at the end of the week for the rest of the family.

 

What’s the point?

  • Performance and presentation skills often overlap - this is one of those times.
  • Being able to read from a text confidently and connect with an audience at the same time is really important.
  • By doing this activity, we learn to slow down and engage with the people we are speaking to.
  • As well, it breaks the habit of burying your head into the page you’re reading from.
  • Whatever you do in life, at some point you’re likely to need this skill, so we recommend parents give this a go too.