Ensemble Blog for Thespian Troupes/Drama Club Meetings

By Gai Jones posted 06-05-2014 15:16


Ensemble Blog for Thespian Troupes/Drama Club Meetings                                   June 2014

Submitted by Gai Jones

Collaborative Ensemble Quotes 

Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.

-Helen Keller


Most great learning happens in groups. Collaboration is the stuff of growth.

-Sir Ken Robinson Ph.D.


Teamwork divides that tasks and multiplies the success.

-author unknown


No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.

H.E. Luccock


If we would just support each other - that's ninety percent of the problem.

-Edward Gardner


No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.

-Althea Gibson


Any of the experiences and ideas detailed below can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Just remember from whom you learned the idea.

I know that your time frames for Thespian meetings may vary.

Ensemble Experiences Definition and Categories

Workshop Ensemble Definition

But what exactly constitutes superior ensemble acting?.”All actors working at the top of their game…all the roles are equally important..each actor has a heightened understanding of an sensitivity to everyone else on stage.

Understand the dynamics of the stage space and their physical relationships to each other…must be aware of each other, of the story, they have to agree on the means of communication. …if something unforeseen happens, everyone is alive and absolutely ready to react in that situation….need games that break down the sense of ego and promote the sense of “we’re all in this together.”…a mental state..sort of a family..up to director to other’s ideas; to challenges..casting is creating a family and each member of the family has a specific function..good actor giving a good reading is not necessarily the best actor for the ensemble…

Stop working individually; can we work together here..let’s do something as an ensemble…director sets up place of safety for ensemble spirit….sense of joy comes from actors working together in harmony and trust.

                                                         From BACKSTAGE WEST The Meaning of Ensemble by Jean Schiffman


Accountability,  Action/Reaction, Appreciation of self/others, Applause,  Awareness/Body, Sensory,  Cause and Effect        Concentration, Characterization, Closure, Cool down, Collaboration, Cooperative Learning/Working,  Communication,            Choices, bold;  Diversity,  Emotions/feelings,  Environment,  Energizing,  Ensemble Partner,  Equality, Focus,   Fun,  Following directions, Give and take, Groups,  Improvisation, Innovative thinking,  Ice Breakers,  Laughing,    Life Experiences, Leadership, Making Choices, Name games, Nonverbal Work,  Observation, Objectives,   Obstacles,   Performance Techniques, Problem solving, Physicalization, Relaxation, Respect/self/others,  Self Assessment,   Supporting Role,  Tactics,  Trust,  Team building, Vocal expression/Articulation,  Warmups

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education Principles



Creating a Safe Area of Value

One of the keys for any Thespian board is to create an environment in which each Theatre student feels valued in work and play. Every once in a while put the play back in the word, “play.” We sometimes work so hard creating magic with productions that we forget to play. So take time at the beginning or end of meeting or gathering to greet one another,  play, laugh, say thank you.

Create Random Drama/Comedy Acts of Kindness-Each month the officers can create an atmosphere of random drama/comedy acts of kindness. Each Thespian is assigned another Thespian to express subtle acts of drama/comedy kindness. The goal is to be kind without being obvious to each member of the troupe. You can set your own parameters. In our troupe, we agreed that the kindness acts were not to cost any money and would not interfere with any class or rehearsal and could not involve phone or electronic devices.

Rename non-Thespians, as “Apprentice Thespians.” Let the officers select a few underclass students to foster during the year to encourage the newbies to take part. It is fun to keep it in house and not let the non-Thespian that he/she has a Thespian officer who is mentoring him/her. At the end of the year officer/Thespian Director Closure recognize how many Apprentice Thespians achieved the honor.

Choose a Thespian of the month. Officers and Thespian Director recognize one or more Thespians who have contributed above and beyond during the month. Officers can create a Paper Plate Award. I bought coupons to local ice cream or pizza place.


One of the first beginning of the year Thespian meeting activities involves assigning one upper-class student with one newbie to the troupe. The older Thespian is the newbies’ agent. After a short, fun interview between agent and pretend client, the agent introduces the client with three to five interesting facts. After listening intently, the client may make any correction or add a fact. At the end celebrate the Agent and Client. Ask each agent to thank his client.

My Story in 1 ½ minutes

For another introductory experience have one student using mime, finger spelling, physical acting to tell the listener his life story in 1 ½ minutes. Encourage real listening. The listener must not speak sentences or ask questions, but may react with sounds, such as with laughter, smiles, “oh or ok.” Then trade. After the exchange, gather all into a circle. Ask each to introduce his/her partner telling the life story using words. Allow each student to make a few corrections. Encourage fun and laughter.

Unstructured Commonalities Bingo

Instruct the group that they have xxx number of minutes to make verbal contact with a predetermined number of Thespians in the room. Each is to interview with sample generic, safe, positive questions, such as, where were you born? Dog or cat person? Favorite fast food? Favorite TV show? Travel locations? Best number?  Favorite color? Favorite ice cream? Best vacation spot? A wish?  …..You get the idea. Students will create questions. As soon as each makes a connection, he/she thanks his new connector and moves to others. The interviewer hopefully finds at least 5-10 connections for the different questions. An important closure is to gather the group to let each share at least 3 commonalities connection.

Closure for a meeting

Take a moment for reflection either vocal or written. Questions to be finished by the participants can help officers evaluate their meeting outcomes. You can create your own open ended statements.

I learned. . .

I wish I had more info about. . .

Thank you for. . .

I had fun with . . .


If these are helpful, drop me a line on Community or at gai.jones@sbcglobal.net.  I can contribute more.
1 comment



06-09-2014 16:04

How useful! I like the "My Story in 1 1/2 minutes" option, that sounds like it would be a blast!