5 Fantastic First Week Games Every Theatre Teacher Should Play

Written by Tiffany Wilkie


Are you a theatre teacher excited about a new school year and need some ideas to get to know your students during the first week? If so, explore this list of first-week-of-school activities that will leave your students feeling bonded and inspired to come back on Monday! Additionally, these games help build a sense of ensemble within each classroom.

Birthday Line Up

Birthday Line Up is a fun game where students use nonverbal communication to organize themselves into chronological order by birth month and day, so from Jan 1st- Dec 31. When the students finish, instruct them to go down the line and call out their birth month and day. If someone is out of order, the students use nonverbal communication to move the person to the right spot.

Time Limit: 15 – 30 minutes.

Bingo Bonding

Bingo is an excellent exercise to establish a connection between new classmates. Create a Bingo board that includes many types of experiences.

Some examples include:

I’ve been to a foreign country.

I enjoy reading.

I’ve acted in a play.

I like to sing. 

I ride the bus to school. 

I never eat breakfast. 

I am quiet. 

I like sushi.

To play: students walk around and talk to one another trying to find people who share their same interests. Choose a winner for the first row, first X, first outer squares, and for the first blackout. Don’t forget to make the center square free.

Time limit: An entire class period.

Name Games

One of the best and most basic name games involves listening and repeating.  To play: make a big circle. The teacher then asks each student to think of an adjective and action to describe themselves, (i.e., Rocking Robert. Go around the circle; give each student the chance to say their name, adjective and perform their action. After each student and the teacher have gone around once; the game becomes a test of memory. Be sure to start with the person to the teacher’s left and end with the person to the teacher’s right that way the teacher learns all the names, adjectives, and actions.

Don’t overlook the importance of name games during the first week of school. Nothing is more important than learning the names of each one of your students; and the faster you learn them, the better.

Time limit: An entire class period.

Anyone Who Has Ever…

“Anyone who has ever…” is the beginning of a declaration by the players of the game. To play: form a big circle. One student runs into the middle and makes an “Anyone who” statement, those players “who have” run and switch places, the student left without a spot is the new leader. Instruct the students to think of fun, engaging, simple, and unique things they have done.

Some examples:

“Anyone who has ever…”

worn two different colored socks

been to a play

gone to a concert

has a twin

Time limit: 15 to 20 minutes.

Pass the Pulse

Pass the Pulse is a perfect end of the week activity. To play: form a circle, ask the students to hold hands with their arms crossed in front, and to close their eyes. The teacher then announces “pass the pulse begins now,” and squeezes the hand to her left. By squeezing each hand (starting with the teacher) the energy is passed from person to person. When the energy is received by the teacher again, she raises her hands in the air while saying “wooo” and everyone turns around, untangling their hands. The activity ends with everyone running into the circle, putting their hands in, chanting “1-2-3, GO _______! (fill in the blank with your own unique word, class name, or troupe number.)

Bonus: Before you start the pulse, while the students are holding hands, you could use this time to tell your students how well they did the first week. If you feel inspired; you may also allow a few students to compliment other students in the class.

Time limit: 10-15 minutes.

Need some advice? We’ve got you covered.

Tiffany Wilkie was a theatre teacher for ten years. She now serves as the Content and Social Media Manager for PerformerStuff.com