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3 Quick and Easy Warm-Up Games with a Drama Class Twist

Sometimes you need a simple activity to get students warmed up, a time-filler for the last few minutes of class, or a classroom task that you can have a substitute teacher or student lead. No need to reinvent the wheel; the following games are classics for a reason. Here are three easy and fun games that most everyone knows, with a drama class twist.

"Director Says" (Simon Says)

Have students spread out across the floor where everyone can see the caller, or “Director.” The Director will give various instructions that students must follow:

  • “Director says hop on one foot.”
  • “Director says take a bow.”
  • “Director says move to stage left.”

But if the Director doesn’t say “Director says,” students need to keep following the previous direction given. If students follow the wrong direction, they’re out! For example, if the Director says “Director says disco dance. Turn upstage!” any student who turns upstage would be out.

For a bigger challenge, students who pause, hesitate, or flinch between directions will be out.

Learning Opportunities: Active listening, following directions, quick thinking, physical movement

“Director, May I?” (Mother May I?)

Have the Director stand on one side of the room while students stand on the opposite side. The object of the game is to be the first player to move across the floor to the director. One at a time, students will call out “Director, may I take ___ steps forward?” and fill in the blank with the number of steps they’d like to take. For example, the student may say “Director, may I take five steps forward?” The Director may reply with “Yes, you may” and then the student would take five steps forward accordingly.

But the Director may also give a different answer. They may allow a different number of steps, ask the student to move in a certain way, or even say no! Some replies might be:

  • “No, but you may take four steps.”
  • “No, but you may take three leaps across the floor.”
  • “Yes, but you must take Jennifer with you.”
  • “Yes, but you must hop like a bunny.”
  • “You may take five steps forward and three steps back.”
  • “No, you may not.”

No matter how the Director answers, the student must follow the directions. The winner is whoever makes it to the opposite side of the room first. If you need to save time, you can have students move in teams and ask as a group, saying “Director, may we take ___ steps forward?”

Learning Opportunities: Active listening, following directions, quick thinking, physical movement, taking turns, teamwork (if working in groups)

"What Time Is It, Stage Manager?" (What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?)

This is another game where the goal is to be the first student to cross the room. Have the caller (Stage Manager) stand on the opposite side of the room from the students, with their back turned. As a group, students will call out “What time is it, Stage Manager?” The Stage Manager will choose a number (10 or smaller) and reply “____ minutes to curtain!” The group of students will call back, “Thank you, ___ (number of minutes)” and take that many steps forward. For example, if the Stage Manager says “Seven minutes to curtain!” then the students will reply “Thank you, seven!” and take seven steps forward.

At any point, the Stage Manager can reply with “PLACES!” and turn and run towards the group of students, trying to tag as many of them as possible before they run back to their wall. Any students who are tagged become Assistant Stage Managers and join the Stage Manager in tagging more students. The winner is the first person to make it to the Stage Manager without being caught or the last student remaining without being tagged.

Learning Opportunities: Active listening, following directions, quick thinking, physical movement, backstage etiquette (replying back to the stage manager)

Additional Resources:
3 Games to Help Students Play to the Audience
Two Prompts: An Easy Improv Game for When You Just Can’t Think
Easy Distance Learning Activities for When You Just Can’t Think

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