Welcome to the Drama Workshop resource forum at Rotation.org.  Don't forget the related "drama" resources: Puppets, and the Lego & Storytable workshop resources. For drama ideas and lessons for specific Bible stories visit the Lesson Forums.

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Whether you're teaching in Rotation or a Traditional Model, the following is sure to help. In addition to describing the Drama Workshop and using Drama in Sunday School, the following has many ideas for dramas and techniques, as do other posts in this forum. Your thoughts are welcome.

 You can see many prime examples of creative Drama Workshop lesson plans and creative techniques in the Writing Team Lesson Sets (for supporting members). These lessons also include adaptations for doing drama with younger children and non-readers.


 

A few more drama ideas:

  • A Talk Show host interviewing people from the story.
  • Pantomine a "Silent Movie" version of the story as its read by others, or a video of the story is played in the background.
  • Play a video clip with the sound turned off and the actors standing by the side of the screen trying to do the lines of the video. (Use different teams to try and get it close to being right).
  • Play a movie in class so that it can be heard by all but only the actors can see the screen. Tell them to try and act it out as they see it. This is a lot of fun, and very memorable.
  • Shadow puppets moving behind the screen to narration.
  • Shadow actors backlit behind a white cloth (with others doing the reading and SFX).
  • A News Reporter Interviewing people at the Scene of the Story.
  • A "Readers Theater" drama presentation of the script (learn more)
  • Record a Radio broadcast from Jericho reporting the arrival of Jesus. You can do this fully scripted, OR... have only the dramatic reporter using simple lines that cue the other players to act and say things, such as, "I can hear the crowd start to mumur."  And... "now they're starting to accuse Zaccheus of being a bad guy."  The kids respond to the narration and do their own sound effects. Record using a laptop with a built-in microphone. Play back for fun and great discussion.
  • A "dance version" of the story where people dance through their part.
  • A mixed up characters version, where each person has a secret identity that they must act like and modify their scripted lines to match their character (you're a cop, you're afraid, you're an alien, you're a talking monkey)
  • A "frozen statues version" of the story where the kids form the scene then someone reads it.
  • Ninja Movie version of Mary and Joseph coming to 'extract' Jesus from the Temple
  • The Hulk tries to walk on water with Jesus.
  • The Avengers show up at the cross to try and rescue Jesus, but Jesus explains why he is doing it.
  • Iron Man offers to help Jesus but Jesus says...
  • Interviewing the "bad guys" in the story is always interesting.
  • Play the audio from a movie but have kids in character acting out the audio. Sometimes I'll even have the kids stand in front of the screen while the movie is projected over them so they can watch it.



Original Post

Creative Dramatics (or narrator's script):


The teacher/narrator reads a "creative dramatics script" or just guides the children through the story using suggestions.

 

This technique is based on my work as a childrens' librarian, where books are re-enacted using creative dramatics.

The scripts I include in my lesson plans are to help the teacher (who may not be comfortable with drama) lead the children as they recreate the story in their own words. The children do not have scripted lines to read, so they can focus on remembering the story they have internalized rather than on reading words off of a page. So I guess you could call what I write a narrator's script (with notes on things to say to the children to help them feel out the parts of the story and portray them in an informal way).

I usually take the scripts straight from the Bible, with clarifications (mostly to add historical background or reminders of related stories or action that may have preceded the story being studied) and deletions (I leave the dialog out so the children can create and amplify and imagine what else may have been said).

I sometimes use this technique with puppets instead of human actors (the children are sometimes more free and creative when they are not personally "on stage."

"This is Your Life" Drama Format

 

Here's an idea that is working great for us, based on Ken's suggestion in the May 2004 Newsletter.

 

Example:

 

We're doing Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and we're using a "This Is Your Life" format in our drama workshop.

 

Several important people from Saul's past appear, and we get to know Saul from their stories.

 

We have Rabbi Gamaliel, Stephen (the first Christian martyr), Ananias, Judas of Damascus (whose house Saul went to on Straight Street, according to Acts 9:11), a witness to his conversion the road, and a Pharisee.

 

It's been fun, and a different approach for us. Thanks for the tip, Ken!

Preschooler's in Drama

 

We do rotation (modified) in our preschool area.

 

One thing we have used successfully is adapting the story into one of their popular TV shows like DORA THE EXPLORER.

 

Just did David's anointing today and it worked great.

 

This could easily be adapted to any story. The kids really get into it.

THERE ARE METHODS TO THIS MADNESS
Chicago & Detroit Workshops

DRAMA

Action story
Adults as characters
Attend performance
Choral reading
Debate
First person monologue
Foreign film – two actors, two readers off stage
Improvisation
Interview
Mello drama
Mime
Plays with scripts
Poetry reading
Props
Puppetry
Reader’s Theater
Role play
Round robin
Script
Shadow Play
Streamers
Video tape

Bringing the Rotation Story to the Congregation through Interactive Drama

We try a few times each year to bring the story we have been studying in Sunday school to the congregation. In our church we have children's story time, usually an object talk done by the minister. Occasionally, I will let him know I'd like to take over children's time the last Sunday of a rotation.

Generally, I involve some or all of the children and some or all of the congregation through storytelling (with participation) or drama. Most often it involves humor and requirements are:

  • the material must be simple
  • either no props or very simple props
  • scripts (a copy for each participant often copied on front/back cardstock and part highlighted for ease of reading)
  • I prefer - narrating story and having the kids act it out.
  • length of 5-10 minutes.

Sometimes we will do the drama done in our Drama workshop.

Sometimes I will pull children and congregation members from their seats and we do the skit with no warning, practice, or prep (always fun and always a hit).

I will often take a part (crowd, women, God, Holy Spirit, Soldiers, nature, sound effects, etc.) and make the congregation do that part - this now gets everyone involved.

I will type up overheads of their lines and have my assistant run the overhead. So they will know when it's their turn to speak I always do an introduction by saying "... and the Crowd said..." and also doing an exaggerated rolling motion towards them with my hand - they may sing their lines, do them in rolling rhyme, or with an accent. I practice a couple of times with them so they understand what I want - and sometimes with a bit of encouraging fun, help them get their inner child to feel free to come out and play.

For material anything by author Stephen James is excellent. I've also found good skits or interactive stories by searching the internet, or reading from a storybook. Sometimes just some simpl adjusting of the material to suit my needs .

The Sunday school does two full church services a year. One before Christmas and one the 1st of June. This June we will be bringing the Fall of Jericho to the congregation. We have a small rural church that has a balcony. We will be blocking off the back 3 rows of pews. The people of Jericho will be in the balcony with Rahab and 2 spy puppets, a red rope, and several Styrofoam bricks. The Israelites, priests with horns, and Joshua will be marching around the congregation below. I will be dressed as a high priest who is retelling the story and that script includes directions for the actors to follow. The spies will be lowered from the balcony (2 puppets attached to a red rope) and when the walls fall, they will really fall, as the bricks are dropped from the above balcony (and why the back rows are blocked, so no one sits there).

I can guarantee you that half the congregation will have found themselves sitting down with their bibles the following week to read the book of Joshua and they will chuckle away as they remember falling bricks and a puppet spy who had his eyes covered as he slithered down the rope to safety!

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