Preparation for Performance

Theatre Games, Vocal Exercise and Tongue Twisters


If you are a Drama student, chances are that you will be asked to contribute to practical workshops or warm-ups at some point in your Major. A theatre Director likes nothing better than a willing volunteer who is prepared to take a rehearsal warm-up. This page of links is designed to help you find lists of improvisational games as well as physical and vocal exercises that might be useful in class and in the rehearsal room.
A good warm up requires a range of activities that are designed to help actors to:

This means that you should select a diverse range of activities that will help to fulfil all of these goals.

The Improv Encyclopedia This site includes a wide range of improvisational theatre games, but it also features exercises designed to help actors to concentrate and focus. You will also find character exercises and physical warm-ups. Learn Improv   While mostly focusing on the skills necessary for creating Improvisational Theatre, this site also offers some useful lists of exercises and warm-ups.
The New Improv Page This site offers some useful links to many international improvisational theatre games sites.
The Spolin Center Viola Spolin’s work has been a major influenced on the world of improvisational theatre. This site lists some of her games.

It is extremely important when preparing for a theatrical performance or rehearsal that you take the time to prepare you voice and body for the extra stresses that will be placed upon them. This page provides you with some vocal exercises that might be useful to you in the classroom and in the rehearsal room. (Directors always love it when actors volunteer to take vocal warm-ups!)
The following suggestions for vocal exercises have come from:
Kristin, Linklater. Freeing the Natural Voice. New York: Drama Book Publishers,1976.
Workout for Relaxation, the spine, the head, breathing, and humming.
(refer to pp. 52-6)
Exercise 1: Relaxation
·               Lie down and close your eyes.
·               Try to recall a peaceful place.
·               Starting with your toes, run through all of your body parts and tense and relax them.

Exercise 2: Breathing
·               Focus on your breathing.
·               Aim for a relaxed breathing style.
·               Try to focus on taking the breath deep into the centre of your body.
·               Let the breath escape your body on the sound “fffffffffffff”
·               Try to replace this breath in an involuntary manner.
Exercise 3: Sound
·               Continue breathing as in Exercise 2.
·               Focus on your diaphragm.
·               Think of your diaphragm as being the place when sound is made.
·               Let the breath escape your body on the sound “huh-huh”.
·               Repeat this sound on each outgoing breath.
Exercise 4: Voiced/Voiceless Sound
·               Continue breathing as in Exercises 2 & 3.
·               This time alternate between “fffffffffffff” and “huh-huh”.

Exercise 5: Pitch Variation
·               Start mid-register and gradually descend through various pitches by semi-tones.
·               As soon as you feel your voice straining start ascending.

Exercise 6: Speech
·               Speak the sound “huh-huh”.
Exercise 7: Spine Roll
·               Slowly stand up.
·               Yawn and stretch.
·               Slowly roll down your spine vertebra by vertebra.
·               Slowly roll up your spine vertebra by vertebra.
·               Keep your stomach muscles loose.
·               When you reach the top imagine your head floating away.
Exercise 8: Voice
·               Practice some small “fffffffffffff” and “huh-huh”.
·               Move all of your facial muscles as you make the sounds.
·               Blow air out through your lips (ie make a noise like a horse).
·               Speak “huh-hummmm-uh” on one breath.
·               Repeat these sounds as if they were the words of a song.
·               Repeat these sounds as if they were part of a conversation.

You will find Tongue Twisters quite useful when you are preparing vocal exercises as part of practical drama rehearsals so we have created a list here for you to choose from. The list includes some tried and true favourites as well as some more obscure ones. Oh, by the way, the clock is on. You have to read them quickly.