Acting Classroom Exercise Teaching Drama

Acting Exercise: Who’s Knocking?

Written by Craig Mason

Here’s one of my favourite acting exercises.

You start with a list of descriptive characters. Here are some examples:

  • A firefighter looking for occupants.
  • A jealous significant other.
  • A spy on a secret mission.
  • A kitten.
  • A puppy.
  • Someone desperate to use the restroom.
  • A student who has been summoned to the principal’s office.
  • A police officer at 3 in the morning.
  • A superhero.
  • A parent checking on their teenager.
  • Someone picking up a date.

Write them down on separate pieces of paper and put the papers in a hat. One by one, students pick a character out of the hat. They leave the room, close the door, and knock on the door as the character.

The objective is to communicate who they are solely by how they knock on the door, so they can’t add any dialogue. They’re allowed to come in when the students in the room guess who they are.

Some of these are pretty difficult so feel free to coach the knocker and/or help out the class.

This exercise can be used as a fun warm-up. It’s great for beginners because it involves character creation without any pressure to be a “performer.” It can also be made more challenging for more experienced actors.

Download a PDF version of this exercise here!

About the author

Craig Mason


  • What a fun take on Mimes and Improvisation! This would help with character development as well! Thank you for a wonderful and new spin on this improv. exercise!

  • Love this .I ask my Italian TEFL students to make their own lists and develop dramas from these suggestions .Thankyou !