5th Workshop

Workshop 5 –


To develop characterisation and script work


Learning Outcomes

On completion of the drama workshop participants have knowledge of:

  • A variety of emotional states that the character can draw on
  • How to use restricted scripts for all sorts of situations that may arise from the immersive theatre experience


Instruct the actors to form a large circle on the stage. Choose someone to begin. The person must think of an emotional state to portray. She then must walk across the circle in character and tap another person on the shoulder. That person must exaggerate slightly the manner and walk of the first person and go to another person in the circle and tap him on the shoulder. That person then heightens the emotional state and exaggerates the walk even more. The game continues until everyone has had a turn and the character portrayed becomes extreme.

One word dialogue

The group sit in a circle and each person contributes a word to a story, going round the circle clockwise or anti-clockwise.  The instructor can then allow three words per person, then six and so forth. The point is to collectively build a narrative within restricted number of words.


In this scene there will be two actors offstage and two actors on-stage. Actor A’s (on-stage) voice will be supplied by actor B (offstage) and actor C’s (on-stage) voice will be supplied by actor D (offstage).

Shopping List

In partners decide on an event like a birthday party, a carnival, a wedding, and create a shopping list. A shopping list of what is needed for this event to be successful. We’re shopping list does not have to be literally a list of products but could be a list of attitudes things like teamwork etc. This shopping this becomes the script. Then create an obstacle that is going to jeopardize the event and using just the shopping list as a script act out the conflicts. Now using the same formula create a shopping list for the citizenship test and again act out a conflict.



Start in a circle or line. The group chooses a machine theme or the director gives the prompt (cheese-making machine, playwriting machine, or more abstract—a “love machine,” a “greed machine,” etc.). One at a time, players go into the playing space and perform a repetitive physical gesture and vocal gesture based on the theme. Other players then add in, one at a time, with a new sound and gesture, until everyone is part of the machine.

Variation: Whoever began the machine can initiate changes in tempo and everyone must follow—the machine can get faster and louder, then slower and quieter until it breaks down and dies.

In partnership create a gestus about current inequality in immigration or stamping machine

One sentence scenarios

Hand out blank paper to the participants. Each person writes a random sentence on their paper and fold it up. They hand it to the instructor, who will mix them up and hand the folded paper back to the group. The instructor then sets a context, like being stuck in a lift, or at the doctor’s waiting room, and the group begin improvising in that scene. The only thing they can say is what is written on their paper (which they won’t know until they pull it out). This exercise prepares the group for responding to unexpected situations with a strictly scripted dialogue.



This game requires four people. Two people sit on chairs or stools to the side of the set. Next, place an array of props and furniture on the set. Two other actors stand in the middle of the set and wait for the game to begin. Ask the actors not in the game to suggest a type of movie, such as action, romantic comedy or suspense. Next, the actors in the chairs must describe three scenes in the movie, a beginning, middle and an end in the suggested genre. The actors on the stage must use the props and the setting to play out the scenes in an improv. Continue to play the game until everyone has both given the scene descriptions and acted out the scenes.


Problem-Solving Scenes

Players are divided into teams of 5 for the following situations. Players brainstorm possibilities and improvise their solution with dialogue and perform for the rest of the players.

Problem 1: Players are atop a mountain in a cabin. They hear on the radio that an avalanche is approaching. They have one toboggan that only seats four people. They must find a solution to the dilemma that is agreeable to all.

Problem 2: There is only one person in the scene who speaks English. The other players are of a different culture and can only speak in gibberish. These people ask directions to get to an important place (they agree on a place). The English-speaking person must try to understand where they want to go and give them directions.

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