Theatre Games for Core Classes

As a theatre teacher, I’ve heard just about everything about how “fun” my job is. One of the things I hear a lot is, “It must be nice to be able to just play games all day.”

While I won’t get into the rant inside my head about how I most definitely do NOT just play games all day, what I hear behind this statement is, “I wish there was more fun in my day.” Well my friend, there can be. Here are three theatre games you can use in any class. For more detailed explanations, pro tips and a bonus game, request your FREE guide to Theatre Games for Core Classes here.

#1: Dr. Know-It-All

What is it? Dr. Know-It-All is an improv game in which three people are the three heads of Dr. Know-It-All who, as the name implies, knows it all.

How do you play? Select 3 students to be Dr. Know-It-All and have them stand or sit at the front of the class. Take questions from the class. Dr. Know-It-All answers the questions, but the trick is that each head can only say one word at a time in order. Dr. Know-It-All heads cannot correct or contradict each other and they have no control over what the other heads say.  Ideally, they will give a correct and coherent response.

When should you use it? You can use this as a formative assessment or as a test review.

#2: Half Life

What is it? Half Life is an improv game in which a scene is improvised and then repeated in half the time, and then again in half that time, and so on until it is reduced to 1 second.

How do you play? Select a small group to improvise a scene (or explain a topic) for 1 minute. Then, they try to recreate everything they just said and did in 30 seconds, then 15 seconds, then 8 seconds, 4 seconds, 2 seconds and finally 1 second. Remind students to focus on the most important information as they start to lose time – the final version will probably be just one key word.

When should you use it? This is a great activity for once students have some knowledge on a topic or as a formative assessment.

#3: 1, 2, 3, Buzz

What is it? A focusing and concentration game.

How do you play? Have students sit in a circle (or be clear about the order if you are arranged in rows or groups, but a circle is recommended) and count off. However, at the beginning, establish a buzz number (5 for instance) and any time there is a number that contains that number (ie, 5, 15, 25, 35, 45, 50, 51, 52), the student calling out that number says “buzz” instead. You could also do multiples of the buzz number (ie, 5, 10, 15, etc.)

When should you use it? This is a good activity to use for simple focus at the beginning of class or after transition. For grades working on multiplication skills or that need work on automaticity, this can be a warm-up to a math lesson or a part of the lesson itself.


Sound fun? Get a guide to using these games that includes more details, suggestions on how best to incorporate them in the classroom AND a bonus game by clicking here.

6 Replies to “Theatre Games for Core Classes”

    1. Thanks Stephanie! Theatre games are such a powerful learning tool. We’re working on even more ways to integrate arts strategies into any classroom.

    1. Hi Harmony, thanks for the comment! Check back at the end of the month, we’re planning 30 days of activities for home!

  1. Heather, these games sound so much fun! I’d like to play them! 🙂 I really like the setup of your blog post. I liked how you had subheadings discussing the 3 different games. Keep up the great work because you are rockin it!

  2. Thank you for sharing these awesome ideas! I can see the use for them in multiple situations. Your class must be fun because you INTENTIONALLY bring the fun!

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