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With the new year upon us, you may be gearing up for your first rehearsals of 2024. You certainly want to start the year off on the right foot, which means keeping rehearsals engaging, uplifting, and fun. A great way to reach that goal is through the utilization of specific activities, games, and warm-ups.
You may be thinking: “But we’ve got so much work to do! Why do I need to play games with my cast and crew?!” Well, warm-ups, activities, and games can:
If you aren’t sure where to start, On The Stage presents a handful of activities to try during your first rehearsals of the year.
The objective of Human Bingo is to find out as much as possible about your other cast members and crew members using a Bingo card. But instead of numbers, each box has a phrase or personal tidbit of information relating to general hobbies, personal preferences, and the like.
This game is played – just set a time limit and ask your cast and crew members to walk around and ask each other about the phrases on the Bingo card. When a cast or crew member finds someone who fits one of the categories, they ask that person to write their name in the box. You win if you’re the first person to get a signature in every box, or if you gather the most names before time runs out.
While this game isn’t exactly focused on acting, it’s constructive in another way – forming connections between your cast and crew.
Ensuring your cast and crew are warmed up before rehearsals begin is crucial to a great day – but why not have some fun while you’re at it?
Have your cast gather in a circle, with you standing in the middle. Articulate a funny tongue twister and have your cast repeat it after you. The sillier, the better.
A few classics include:
After you’ve gone, encourage other cast and crew members to come into the middle with their own tongue twisters. You’ll all be warmed up – and probably laughing – in no time!
This game provides a low-stakes, low-pressure way to get your cast and crew to dip their toes in the pool of improv.
To start, ask for two volunteers to improvise a scene. The kicker is that both actors can only speak in three-word sentences. This will challenge actors to use physical comedy alongside creative expressions to get their points across. For less pressure, have several groups going at once so everyone can try and there are fewer eyes on each actor.
Combining improvisation with listening skills, Build A Story is a classic warm-up that ensures everyone on your team is included.
Have your cast stand in a circle, and get one person to volunteer as the starter. Going around the circle, each person must drive the story forward using only one word. The key is to make the story make sense, all while speaking as swiftly as possible. The game ends when the story is complete!
Break your cast into small groups and dub one person from each group as the leader. The leader will then stand in front of the group and give their team a situation to physicalize in a frozen image. Ideas can range from “crazed fans at a rock concert” to “bear attack in the woods” or something even more ridiculous.
The goal is to allow your cast to “go big” with expressions since no words are used. Have the leader switch off after a few tableaus until everyone has had a turn as the leader.
Much like Build A Story, I’m Going On A Trip encourages listening skills, memory, improvisation, and creativity. One person starts by saying: “I’m going on a trip, and I’m going to bring…” and naming something that starts with the letter “A.” You’ll go around the circle, with each person naming their own item with its corresponding letter, as well as everyone before them. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets!
This vocal warm-up will get you ready for rehearsal while also encouraging some silliness.
Have your cast and crew stand in a circle with their feet shoulder-width apart. Have everyone place their hands on their belly, breathing in. When breathing out, have everyone say, “Ha ha ha!” as they feel their bellies contract. Repeat this until you’re warmed up – and laughing for real! This will also help to teach proper diaphragmatic breathing.
This one helps with physicality and teamwork. Have your cast and crew stand in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. Everyone should put their right hand in the center of the circle, grabbing hands with another person across from them. Then, they’ll need to do the same with their left. After everyone is sufficiently tangled, challenge them to untangle without breaking the chain of hands!
You may have played this one at a party, but it also works well for actors! One at a time, the cast and crew will go around a circle, naming two truths about themselves and one lie. The goal for the speaker is to convince the group that their lie is real – and the goal for the group is to sniff out the lie.
This will help students to think on their feet, work together, and sharpen their improv skills. For extra fun, allow a question or two about the statements to add some pressure.
Split your actors into groups of two, then ask for a team volunteer to go first. The actors will start with a neutral scene – something innocuous, like a customer making a return at a clothing store. Once the neutral scene concludes, suggest emotions from the audience. For example – the customer is irate, and the worker is overjoyed. For extra fun, give each actor their emotion silently. At the end, the scene partner or the group has to guess the emotion.
Whether you’re a theatre pro who has run a thousand rehearsals, or you’re a novice just starting out, we could all use a little help. That’s where On The Stage (OTS) comes in, helping you with logistics so you can focus on what matters – making great theatre and bettering your community.
OTS empowers thousands of organizations with ticketing, box office, marketing, fundraising, and reporting tools in one robust platform – for free. If you’re looking to elevate your theatre, book a personalized demo today with us to get started.