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This topic discusses a variation of the Drama Workshop or "Video/A-V" Workshop we call "Newsroom"

"Newsroom" is a "play" or drama that uses the format of a television news show as its template. It's a format kids know and teachers can easily slip into.  It's great for interviewing Bible characters, going "live on the scene," getting "breaking news" and watching your recording afterwards to lots of smiles.


Typically you'll have newscasters reading from scripts at a news desk, and reporters "in the field" (standing off to the side in front of a backdrop)  interviewing the characters in the Bible story that's being reported.  "Studio" props, such as, lights and microphones, help outfit the room.

The format offers both the opportunity to retell the story, but go deeper into each character's point of view and motivation. "I'm here with David, looking over at the Philistine army. David, how are you feeling right now?"

There's a great "Breaking News" lesson with script in the Jesus is Born! lesson set here.

See my Kingdom Parables Newscast Lesson for notes on how we set up our newsroom, videotaped it using an iPhone camera, and ran our "teleprompter."

See this Newsroom-style Video Workshop lesson by our Writing Team about the Good Samaritan. It has a number of acting and recording techniques in it for a variety of situations and age groups.


This topic starter was originally posted by member Neil MacQueen and has been updated:

We've started a "Newsroom" workshop we call WHPC-TV (HPC = initials of our church).

"Newsroom" is a series of skits that uses the format of a television news broadcast. It has simple staging and the added fun of a videocamera, microphones, quick backdrops, props, people dressed up as characters in the story, and the fun opportunity to see ourselves doing the drama afterwards.

Update: You probably have church members who have put their videocameras on the shelf and now only use their smartphones to take video. Those "big" video cameras can be a great asset in the newsroom, especially if you put them on a tripod. You also have teachers with cellphones, and the kids do love being recorded. Read on!

The teacher or savvy student runs the camera (typically an iphone on a tripod or selfie stick). You "pause" the recording in between scenes, reports, etc.

If your scenes are noisy or far from the camera, it helps to have a powered microphone too (which the camera's microphone can pick up. A microphone plugged into a small guitar amp works fine.  Otherwise, most smartphone microphones work fine IF the actors speak up.


Creating the script is something we do a little bit ahead of time, and then have the kids flesh it out as part of their Bible study. Reporters typically ask questions, and the person being interviewed prepares their answer in advance with help and discussion. If needed, responses can be written on a flip chart (cue card).

"Scripts" are typically printed, but we've also created "teleprompters" so that the kids are looking up at the camera, rather than always looking down.

We've done teleprompters two ways:
(1) Enlarged scripts taped to the wall behind the camera or on a flipchart.  Or (2) Projecting the script on a large monitor or using an LCD projector hooked up to a laptop and projecting on a screen or wall behind the camera. A helper "scrolls" the doc on the screen. This gets everyone looking up.


In this particular newsroom photo, the microphone is just a prop.
The girls are looking up at a script we projected on the wall.

Interviewing Goliath and David was one of our first "News" shows we made.


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  • christuccbellevilleil
  • KofGbroadcast1
  • newsroom-selfie
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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We have a room like that, too and used it for on-the-spot interviews of Jesus and others when we did the story of Jesus and his family visiting the temple. We had the kids interview Mary and Joseph, and others along the way as they tried to locate Jesus. We videotaped it and then played it back for them. As the weeks went by, they enjoyed seeing the productions of the other classes, too.

LIVE TV NEWS BROADCAST to kick off each day of VBS

For several years, we created a TV New Broadcast at the start of every VBS day.

We reviewed the previous day's events as "news reports" (including showing photos behind the newscasters on a large tv screen), introduced the day's theme/stories as "breaking news," set out some expectations for kindness in the guise of "Today's Forecast," and did goofy stuff by having "special guest stars" announce the activity and snacks for the day.

Particularly successful was the "joke of the day," which the kids selected from various Biblical joke books we have in our library.

We used an overhead projector as our teleprompter so the kids could read their lines while looking in the direction of the camera.

This was a "live" broadcast in front of all the kids, so we picked "who got to be the newscasters" very carefully, and had a teacher in a silly wig sit with them just in case they got lost in the script. It was loose but a lot of fun.


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  • Kids News Broadcast for VBS
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We sometimes create "On the Spot News Reports" and "You Are There" skits based on the scripture reading in our Drama Workshop.

Having a "reporter" is a great way to get into the characters' heads and get the kids talking back and forth without a script getting in the way.  Our reporter is sometimes an adult or helper, but often we'll use an astute student and let them see what they can come up with.

The initial lesson activity might be, "If you could ask Moses any question, what would you ask him?"  And then ask Moses about a number of events in the story and his life, such as, "how did you feel when.... Pharoah said no, you got to talk with God on Mt Sinai,  the people made the golden calf, the people complained, you got to see the Promised Land," (etc)

Some example stock interview questions:

  • Tell us your story...
  • What did you think when...
  • What did it feel like when you...
  • If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently...
  • What would you like young people today to know about you and your message?

Sometimes we'll split into two or three small groups or pairs and let EACH of them record their own version of the interview or event. Seeing several "Marys" or "Moses'" do an interview is fun.

We've also done a variation of this interview" idea we call "To Tell the Truth Gameshows" where two players are not Moses but pretend they are, and one is and must answer as close as possible to the story's truth/details. The "celebrities" who are doing the guessing each come up with their own questions about the story.

We've been recording our Drama Workshop lessons from the start. In the older groups, letting the kids run the camera.

The shepherds help out with the younger kids. Sometimes we have a prepared script (such as an on the spot news report) and sometimes we just give them a concept and let them run with it. What usually comes out is not the quality to show on a Sunday morning in adult worship, but the kids get a real kick out of seeing their performance, and they have a chance to talk to the workshop leader about what they have done, what they could have done, what the next group could do, what they left out...and on and on and on.

So far, our youngest kids have turned out to be the best actors. They are scheduled into the Drama Workshop the last week of the rotation, which means they really know the story well by then. Brenda


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  • Interviewing Moses
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We didn't use scripts for our drama, but I see the wisdom in doing so.

Some of our kids do well with coming up with their own responses and questions, but others need a lot of help.

One key is not having your entire skit dependent on ONE actor (child) to say the important things, and to have a teacher/helper as part of the scene to prompt things along.

Also helps to do the skit TWICE with two different groups because the second group always tries to do better than the first once they see it.

In our drama about Jesus Healing the Ten Lepers, we discussed possible excuses for the nine who didn't return to thank Jesus, but then let each of the nine kids say what they wanted when interviewed.  To encourage them to really try, we had a "panel of judges" with scorecards 1-10 rating each leper's excuses. It was great fun.

For the ONE leper who did return, we chose that student carefully and gave them some ideas beforehand. The INTERVIEWER was a teacher who was good at prompting them.

(I saw Doug Adams a professor at the Pacific School of Religion do this live, and it was quite effective. I think you could do something like this with a number of stories without extensive scripting --- playing the scene and then having a teacher interview the characters, and a "panel of judges" offer comments about each character's point of view/responses.  This "panel" is where the interesting reflection takes place, and the interviewer/leader could ask others to respond.)


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Here's a fun idea when videotaping (or just doing drama) ... and you can't or don't want your actors to have to remember any lines.

You have off-camera readers with scripts while the actors listen and act out what they're hearing from the readers.

You need to prepare your script with lots of "leading cues" for each actor. A "leading cue" is a phrase that let's the actor know it is their part which is about to be read. (Remind your readers to PAUSE their reading right after the leading cue for just a moment so the actors know it's their turn.)

Example of a "leading cue"

  • And then Jesus said... (pause)
  • And then Moses said/walked (pause)
  • And suddenly, there was a choir of angel.... (pause)

The actor hears their cue "and then Jesus said" to know it is THEIR line that's coming next, and then they mouth and act out the line as they hear it, or act it out right after they hear it.

Pretty simple really, you just need to make sure your script if FULL of such "leads" and actions, or that your actors create their own actions as they hear and mouth the line.

Of course you need kids who can read to read the lines, but we've also done it where the younger kids have all the acting parts and the workshop leaders and shepherds read the lines.

This is quite a hoot! Especially if you have a crowd of people who talk (all their mouths are going different directions!) or if you have a male reader reading/talking for a female actor's lines or vice versa. We've also done it with kids acting and parents as the readers and vice versa. Too funny!

Tip: Rehearse the actions that can go with each line.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Adding a Pause Button to your iPhone Video Recorder

Unlike a real video camera, when you record video using your cellphone, there is no "pause" button (yet, I'm sure Apple will add it someday). That means when you're recording a skit or "newsroom" broadcast and need to change scenes or actors, you can't pause the recording, you have to stop it. Then when you press START again, it creates a new video file. ANNOYING.   And when you go to play back the skit or newscast, you have to play several files to show it all. Like I said ANNOYING !

But there are several free video apps you can download from the app store that give you a PAUSE BUTTON so that you only end up with a single file to view and share

There are several and some are better than others. Currently I'm using one called "Nonstop Cam" because it has the fewest interrupting ads and easiest to understand features. (I tried "Clippy" and "PauseCam" and a few others. Their in-app ads were annoying and controls were messy.)

Here's What Nonstop Cam" looks like on my phone. When I'm recording and hit the record button, it pauses the recording. When I'm all done recording I "export" (save) the file to my Photos.

Easy to use.

Screenshot 2022-12-09 at 3.39.02 PM

When you install an app like this, you'll need to give it permission to use your video camera, microphone, and access your photos to save its files.

I know Android phones have similar apps. Look for them in your Google Play store.


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  • Screenshot of Nonstop Cam App

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