Top 10 Virtual Theatre Games

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Top 10 Virtual Theatre Games

Virtual theatre can still engage your classroom, students, actors, and audience.

Warm-up your ensemble and keep the energy high even when convening at a distance. Don’t let the online mode cramp your style. Games usually involve warming up, teamwork, improv, focus, and/or cool down. Check out the categories of each game to determine which one will work best.

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HELPFUL VIRTUAL HINT - Add a Number to the Beginning of Screennames!

Ask your ensemble to edit their names to include a number, for example: 1 - Meryl Streep, 2 - Jeremy Jordan, 3 - Renée Elise Goldsberry, 4 - Sutton Foster, and so on.

This way players can refer to each other by number in various games, and when a game typically involves a circle to go around and speak you can use numbers instead. Editing your name to include a number is ESPECIALLY helpful when warming up with a new cast or group.

 

 

TOP 10 VIRTUAL THEATRE GAMES

 

1. NUMBER COUNT

CATEGORY: Cool-Down, Focus

GOAL: Count to 20 and back down

TEAM: Ensemble

● The idea is for the group to count to twenty, one person at a time without simply going around in any pattern (including the number next to their screen name!) – the order must be random.

● Anyone can begin with 1. If two people say a number at the same time, the group has to start over from the beginning.

 

2. ONE WORD STORY

CATEGORY: Warm-up, Teamwork

GOAL: Complete a story with a beginning, middle, and end; one word at a time

TEAM: Ensemble; small groups of 5 or less

● The story is started, with each person, in turn, adding one word. It usually starts with ‘Once – upon – a – time’. 

● It is not easy to maintain a logical flow for the story, however, it is usually quite funny. If the group is too large, break into smaller groups or even pairs.

 

3. MACHINE

CATEGORY: Focus, Teamwork

GOAL: Create a rhythmic machine that works together

TEAM: Ensemble

● Start with one student making a noise and a simple repeatable gesture.

● When the student has a rhythm and another student has an idea (or you call out their number) for a movement that connects to the first gesture that student joins the first student by making a new noise and movement which connects to the original gesture.

● As leader, raise and lower your hand to speed up and slow down the machine. When you raise both hands the machine explodes!

BONUS: Ask players what the machine did and what their part of the machine contributed.

 

4. EXCUSES

CATEGORY: Improv, Warm Up

GOAL: A “late-comer” must explain why they are late through interaction with their boss who is the one who actually knows the excuse.

TEAM: Two people - Boss & Late Comer, played in a larger group

● One of the players must turn around while the ensemble decides on a reason why the player was late for work, either in a chat or written on a piece of paper. Everyone except the “late” player knows why they are late to work.

● Everybody knows the reason why they are late to work - only the one who is turned around does not. Now it is the latecomer's task to guess why they arrived late through interaction with the boss.

● The latecomer has to explain to the boss why they are late, while the drops subtle hints to steer the late-comer in the right direction. The scene ends when the latecomer shares what their excuse for being late is.

EXCUSE IDEAS:

  • Ate a peanut not realizing they were allergic.

  • There was an earthquake at their house.

  • Car was crushed by a dinosaur.

  • Hair was stuck in the dishwasher.

 

5. FOLLOW THE LEADER

CATEGORY: Warm Up, Team Building

GOAL: A selected individual leads the ensemble in movement and sounds while everyone copies them with the exception of one person whose job it is to find the leader by watching the group.

TEAM: Ensemble

● Ask one person to turn around. This person will be the guesser for the round. While they are gone, the group decides who should be the “leader” in a chat or written on a piece of paper. The leader will be the one who sets the movements for that round.

● The leader starts a motion and everyone follows suit. As the leader changes movement everyone mimics each other’s actions, trying to keep up so as to not reveal the leader.

● The guesser watches the screen to see if they can identify the leader.

 

6. YOUR SCREEN FROZE (AKA NEW CHOICE, AKA DING! SWITCH)

CATEGORY: Improv, Warm-Up

GOAL: Two players create a scene and an “off-stage” voice or the audience interject when they want the players to make a new choice and change the scene

TEAM: Two players + audience or “off-stage” voice

● Based on the improv game “New Choice” two players act out an improv scene and a third player or the audience interjects with “What’s that? Your screen froze” and the player has to replace or re-phrase the last thing they said.

● Continue to force the player to make an even bolder choice by interjecting.

Example scene:

Player A: Oh no! My cat was hit by a car!

Player B: Oh no! Not your cat!

OFFSTAGE: What’s that? Your screen froze!

Player B: I’m glad the cat is gone!

OFFSTAGE: What’s that? Your screen froze!

Player B: I hit your cat!...On purpose!

 

7. DICTIONARY

CATEGORY: Improv, Team Building

GOAL: Create new words and connect through creativity.

TEAM: Three players

● In groups of three, one person invents a new word, the second person gives it a sentence, and the third person uses it in a sentence.

 

8. MIND MELD

CATEGORY: Improv, Warm Up

GOAL: Free association of words until two players land on the same word

TEAM: Teams of two

● Begin by one player saying "one," the second player saying "two," and then both players saying "three" together.

● Then both players say anything at all - word, phrase, place, idea, concept, etc.

● After processing these two things, the players repeat the one, two, three, and try to use the two previously stated things to arrive at a third, common one.

 

9. BIG BOOTY

CATEGORY: Warm Up, Team Building

GOAL: A rhythmic call and response game that gets the sillies out! A game that exemplifies why numbering usernames is essential!

TEAM: Ensemble

● Designate one player as “Big Booty”. Big Booty begins the game by clapping a basic 4/4 rhythm and with a simple chant. Big booty, big booty, Uuuuuuuuh-huh, big booty.

● And then Big Booty calls someone's number out. Big Booty Number 4.

● That player will respond by calling their own number out. Number 4! And then someone else's number. Number 3!

● That player responds by calling out their number and then someone else's. Number 2! Number 6! Next player - Number 6! Number 3!

● If someone screws up instead of moving to the left of Big Booty and changing numbers as done in the live version, they become Big Booty.

 

10. HOT SPOT

CATEGORY: Warm Up, Team Building

GOAL: Warm up the group with a free association singing game!

TEAM: Ensemble

● A player starts off singing any song

● When another player is ready, they raise their hand and jump in with a song that is connected or similar in some way to the previous song

● The game continues until most of the players have jumped in to sing

  

*BONUS*: ZIP-ZAP-ZOP

CATEGORY: Team Building, Warm Up

GOAL: Get good energy out and build camaraderie with this classic theatre game!

TEAM: Ensemble

● They said it couldn’t be done! Oh yes, it can! Make sure everyone is in the gallery view. After saying Zip, say who you’re throwing your Zip to - “Zip - Jessica!”, “Zap - David”, “Zop - Rayne”.

● You can still “Boing!” back the Zip-Zap-Zop back to the other person

 

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