This is an incredibly simple game that brings the energy up in the classroom and helps the children flesh out their creative muscles ready for a day of activity.
The teacher has the students stand in a circle and calls out an emotion. Starting clockwise from any point, the first student has to perform their emotion as small as possible, then as they go round they have to go bigger than the last until the person at the end is doing it as largely and broadly as possible. Then they start again with a new emotion, choosing a new random place to begin. This is a great way to get the kids moving and, especially for first time students, shaking out any nerves or stage fright. After all, If everyone is being as silly as everyone else, what’s there to be afraid of?
Of course being silly and having a laugh is all well and good. But the important thing is directing this energy into something creative and allowing them to express themselves with it. Park Bench is a classic game of thinking on the spot, utilising creative skills to build a scene with their classmates.
One person starts out on the bench, and one by one students can join the scene using their own character to build funny and inventive interactions for the whole class to enjoy. Once again, it’s a fantastically simplistic game that feels to students just like play. But really it’s about allowing them to take the reins in improvising, exchanging ideas and investigating characterisation and humour at their own pace. The teacher encourages students to take the initiative here and, for children more unsure to take the stage, can even suggest different tropes or characters for them to experiment with. Just like everything else at Light UP, it’s all about building confidence and their familiarity with other performers.
In Werewolf, students have to use communication and collaboration to win the day, which really helps introducing that team-working element of theatre production.
In this game, they sit in a circle and go through different day-to-night cycles where different werewolves (selected by the teachers) pick off other members of the “village”. The remaining people, unaware of who is who, have to discuss who they suspect and have a chance to vote a person off each day. The victory is decided when either the werewolves are eliminated or they remain as the last ones standing. The importance of teamwork is much clearer in a game like Werewolf where working together and open discussion are the only tools at their disposal. This an easy way for teachers to get the students focused and invested without having to worry about people getting too competitive.
A good cool down is one that manages to bring down students from the energy they’d built up over the course of the lesson while still keeping them focused in that theatrical mood as they leave for home. There is no better game for this than Frozen Statues.
It’s not very complicated at all. Students simply take positions around the space, in whatever fun poses they like, as long as they can hold them for a long time. Then the teacher instructs them, at their own pace, to slowly melt further and further down until they are lying completely flat on the floor. Once everyone is still, the teacher can easily take them through some simple breathing exercises to really centre them after a busy day. That way, when they go home they have a clear mind and can tell their parents all they managed to achieve.