Image theatre

image theatre

Objective: Encourage children to use drama as a medium to encourage dialogue on issues affecting them and provide fun and active ways for children to voice their own views on a matter of concern.

Age group: 8-14

How many children? 5-10 children

Time: 2 hours

Resources needed: A space where you can move around and make some noise



1. Numbered Images

Purpose: To raise energy levels and help foster team work

  1. Ask the group to move around the room
  2. Ask participants to get quickly into groups of two, three, four or whatever number you shout out. Then immediately give them all an idea, issue, object or location, which they have to express in a frozen picture. For example, say:
  • a parent & child
  • a wedding
  • a spider
  • a table
  • a teacher and his/her pupils


2. Image of the Word

Purpose: To give participants an introduction to the idea of making an ‘image’, by which we mean a fixed, silent, statue like shape.

  1. Ask participants to stand in a circle facing outwards while you stand in the middle.
  2. Explain to participants that you will count 1, 2, 3 and then call out a word. As soon as they hear that word, they should turn around and make an image or statue representing that word. Their image should neither move nor make any sound. They should do this immediately without thinking. We want them to do it spontaneously. Remember, when they turn around and make their images, ensure they stay ‘frozen’ and silent. Encourage them to look around at the shapes other people have made. Here is a list of words that you might use. It is a good idea to prepare your own.

– Happy – Cold – Big – Sad – Angry – Tree – Father – Proud – Frightened – Mother – Home – Woman – Teacher – Funny


3. Group Images

Purpose: To demonstrate how games involving ‘statues’ and ‘frozen’ pictures can help children express their ideas and opinions in a safe and fun way. This portion of the activity requires note-taking and data collection on the issues identified and resulting discussions.

  1. Begin by demonstrating what a frozen picture or group image is. Ask for four volunteers to come up and sit in a row. Tell them that you are going to ‘sculpt’ them i.e. put them into position and that you want them to hold that position. They should neither move nor speak. It is a good idea to arrange them so that they look like four musicians, as the other participants who are watching should be able to understand what you are doing.
  2. Now, ask the participants who are watching what they think the picture is. If somebody answers ‘Four musicians’ or ‘a band’, you will know that you have made a clear picture. Never tell the audience that they are wrong. They never are.
  3. Now that everyone has got the idea, put participants into subgroups of four or five. Tell them to work alone for five minutes preparing three frozen pictures representing the following ideas:
  • Something that makes children sad
  • Something that makes children frightened
  • Something that makes children happy
  1. Stress that when they show their pictures the audience should understand why the people in the picture feel sad, frightened or happy.
  2. When they are ready invite each group into a space where everyone can see them and ask them to show their three pictures in any order they please without telling the audience which is which.
  3. Ask the audience if they can tell which picture is which and why. [Take a photo of the images] Ask participants to comment on the picture. Is it clear? Is it interesting? Encourage group discussion on the ideas expressed through the image; and follow up on discussion to ask children why they guessed certain images. (Remember to take thorough notes of this discussion)

This activity was developed by War Child Holland

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