Three Easy Theatre Games that Aren’t Zip, Zap, Zop


Brittany Strelluf

Any theatre teacher can tell you the importance of theatre games. Games and ritual help create a safe and supportive environment and promote teamwork.  A great circle can mean the difference between a class that is fun and successful or one that falls flat. 

It can be easy to get caught in a rut of games and warm up activities.  We sometimes rely too heavily on the same games or activities. Perhaps we use activities that have worked well in the past without regard for how your newer students might respond to it. Sometimes it is just fun to mix it up or add to your class lineup of games and warm ups. 

I like Zip, Zap, Zop. Really, I do, but for me personally,  I feel like this game gets used quite a bit in my class.  Maybe we don’t all use Zip, Zap, Zop, but sometimes we can fall into a rut with games, using them over and over until they get quite tedious. 

So, here are some easy theatre games to add a little variety to your class. 

Wax Museum

My students LOVE this game. LIke LOVE it. They ask to play it all the time and it is always pretty fun. All you need is an open space. It is pretty simple and can be changed to fit themes and context of your class and units. You can use it as a reward, warm up, or as a filler activity. One student is the “guard” and the rest of the class are “statues.”  The statues move around when the guard is not looking. The guard tries to catch them moving. If the student is caught moving, they are out.  Encourage your students to be silly and use their space. 

Slow Motion Tag

This game is exactly what it sounds like your students play tag, but in extreme slow motion. Before you do anything,  explain to your students that everything must be in slow motion. Then practice with them as a group. Have them move around in their space in slow motion. Laugh in slow motion, talk in slow-motion,  walk across the room in slow motion. This is a great way to let students really explore movements. Nothing can be done in a sudden movement. Encourage your students to be silly and overdramatic.  

The Ground is Lava

Yes, the game everyone in the world has played at one point as a kid can be used as an easy theatre warm up. It is universal and makes for a great warm up activity. Use non-slip mats to create safe spots for students to cross a room on. Encourage them to be silly and overdramatic. 
There are many, many more possibilities for new and different games in our classes. Use your imagination and ask your colleagues and you will always have a new trick up your sleeve to ensure your class never gets boring.