Acting Teaching Drama

What we Learned: Part One

Craig and I got to ATTEND a conference this past weekend. As actual real life delegates! We got to go to the workshops and everything. We attended the Artists Educators in Communities and Schools conference and this week, we’ll be sharing with you what we gleaned from the experience.

ZIP ZAP ZOP Variations

ZIP: Zips are passed around the circle one at a time. You can choose to reverse the direction.

ZAP: Zaps are passed across the circle. The person receiving the Zap has to either accept it (with an Ahhhhh) or return it back to the sender (with a Boing!). Both the Ahhhh and the Boing! should have an accompanying action. The person who receives the Zap does the next action.

ZOP: Zop are tossed up in the air which causes the whole circle to run in and try and grab the zop. This is a great exercise in give and take – how do you determine who gets the Zop and who does the next action without specifically pointing to a person.

THROW: The sender can throw “a ball” to either side. The receiver has to either “duck” (they say the word ‘duck’ and perform the accompanying action. ) or “Catch.” (they say the word catch and perform a catch action) If the receiver catches, they do the next action. If they duck, then the next in line has to either duck or catch.

ROLL: The sender can either roll “a ball” to either side. The receiver has to either “jump” (they say the word “jump” and jump up) or “pick it up.” (they say the words “pick it up” and perform the action)

WILD CARD: The sender yells out an activity that everyone must come into the centre to do, and then switch places. (tea party, disco party, walk the tightrope, bowling party) Again, the next person to start is not determined, how does the group work together to decide?


Great for the first day of class or the first day of rehearsal. In this exercise, each person is only responsible for saying their own name. Emphasizes listening, focus, and paying attention.

  • everyone is in a circle.
  • First time around each person turns their head to the person on their left and says their own name.
  • Second time around, go in the opposite direction, louder and faster.
  • Third time around it is started in two directions. (Example: I would say “Lindsay” to my right and then immediately turn to my left and say “Lindsay”) everyone has to pay attention to what’s coming, as they’ll be doing it twice.
  • Fourth time, do it in two directions, twice. (Example: I would say “Lindsay” to my right and then immediately turn to my left and say “Lindsay.” Then after a three count, I would do it again)
  • Fifth time, do it in two directions, but two people on opposite sides of the circle are the starters.


A rehearsal activity to visually show where all the characters stand in terms of their power. Form a line from most powerful to least. Discuss how different characters interact depending on where they are on the line of power. Extend the exercise to think about how characters can physically show their power. Where do characters place their shoulders on the body (back, slumped, relaxed, tense) to show their power?


A rehearsal activity to show actors how much they know about their characters, outside the world of the play. It encourages three-dimensional characterization. A grid is set up from left to right: Love, Like, Dislike, Hate. Call out general activities and actors have to place themselves on the grid depending on their character’s feeling about that activity. Sample activities: sports, certain types of music, movies, sharing emotions, playing games, cooking, different types of food, different jobs, housework.

Note: if you’re not keen on using the negative words, use a thermometer image instead: Hot, lukewarm, cool, cold.


We are at the, and I have to read this cause it’s a long name, the Artists Educators in Community and Schools conference.

We go to a lot of conferences, but we never actually get to partcipate as delegates. We never get to go to the workshops, we never get to mingle, have fun, eat food, we’re usually just stuck at our table. So it’s really cool to come to something like this

and actually participate and enjoy ourselves. So, we’re taking workshops all day. Lindsay just took a workshop that she’s going to tell you about.

It’s kind of exciting, we get to do things. I went to a workshop and it was called 30 games in 60 minutes. It was an improv workshop, alot of circle games, a lot of introductory games.

I have to say when I first got the handout, I was looking through very briefly and I was like – It’s the same old games. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. But the moral of the story is, whatever workshop you’re going to, have an open mind. I learned name games that I’ve never done before. And I loathe name games.

Rehearsal activities that I absolutely adored and my absolute favourite – Variations on the old chestnut Zip, Zap, Zip that I just thought were fantastic. What I’m going to do, I’m going to include them underneath this video. I’ll type them up and share them with you so you can play them too.

So that’s the moral of the story – when you go to a workshop, don’t shut yourself off too soon. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

About the author

Lindsay Price