The teacher creates a fairly ambiguous set in the classroom using the elements of theatre. The set should include (but is not limited to) things such as elements of lighting design, costuming, props, sound, characters, etc. The goal of the set is to create a space that give your students enough elements and details that they can start to create a story but that is open enough that it can go almost anywhere. The next step is to have the students sit in a circle around the set and begin to tell a story with each student sequentially adding a line or two to the narrative. In other words Student 1 would start the story with a couple lines then Student 2 would pick up the story and add a couple more lines. This would continue until the students reached the end of the circle or the end of the story if they want/need to go around the circle again. As the story is being created however the teacher can alter some of the elements of the set.
This is a great exercise to get students used to collaboration and listening. It is important that students listen to what has come before in order to create a cohesive story. It is also important that they work collaboratively, if one or two students try to interject their ideas that don’t follow the creative narrative that has been established the story may not be as cohesive. This is also a great way to begin to discuss the elements of theatre and the roles that they can play. This is why it is important for the teacher to change elements of the set. Once we discuss the element we can discuss how varying them affected the story. The teacher can ask questions like “What was the lighting like when we started?” or “How did changing the lighting affect our story?” etc. in order to draw out the value of certain theatrical elements.
- There is no set and students create simply a story from their imagination. This would have less to do about theatre elements but encourages creativity in group collaboration
- Smaller groupings the story could be told in small groups that create a circle and there could be comparison of similarities and difference from each groups story.
- Students can create sets from the stories they created using the story circle that represents what their story was using theatre elements/
This activity does not need to end in a cohesive story. The story is only part of the exercise. The key is to debrief the values of listening, collaboration and cooperation. If you are using elements of theatre design you can discuss those and their effects wether or not your story had a cohesiveness or narrative arch.