II.4.1 - Drama games and activities

One of the most popular and easily adaptable forms of drama education are the games and activities that come from various sources, including folk games, theatre training tasks, but also sports and other educational fields. They can be used effectively for very specific aims – like ice-breaking or helping concentration. They can be extremely useful in creating attention, collaboration or having an impact on group dynamics. But it is also useful to note that most of these games lack the most important aspect of drama – of creating ‘the other’, creating understanding in relation to human situations.

Example 1: Sit, lie, stand[1]

Participants: Small Groups

Duration: 5 – 10 mins

Skills: Character, Concentration, Improvisation, Spontaneity, Teamwork

How to play it?

Participants are in 3s and at any one time one of them has to stand, one other sit and the other lie.

You can give a scenario e.g. a doctor’s surgery and then they have to improvise a scene following the physical constraints.

If either of the students changes their position they must between the 3 of them have someone sitting, standing and lying.

Encourage participants to take their time over their scene to avoid a hurried scramble over positions.


You could change the constraints to different physical ones or verbal ones e.g. shout, whisper or laugh.

Example 2: Grandma’s footsteps[2]

Participants: Whole Group, 5 to adult

Duration: 10-15 minutes
Skills: Mime and movement, Concentration, Group Dynamics

How to play it?

One person is Grandma – he/she faces a wall. The others in the group start at the other end of the room, then try to creep up to Grandma and tap her on the shoulder. However, at any moment, Grandma can turn around suddenly. If she sees anyone moving, she points at them and that person must return to the start. No-one is allowed to move while she is watching them.

Whoever manages to tap her on the shoulder becomes Grandma (male or female) and the game starts again. It’s a good activity for cultivating concentration and patience – not to mention lots of cheating!


·         Afterwards, discuss with the group which strategies were most successful.

·         To make it more challenging, put some hats, wigs, scarves, shoes, handbags or other items of Grandma costume on the floor. Make it a rule that you have to put on a hat or an item of clothing before you tap Grandma on the shoulder.