Lights! Camera! Acting!

Over fifty children at the Children of Bududa program had the opportunity to learn about a new form of artistic expression in May. Performing Arts was introduced to students of all ages; using voice and body movements to present a real or imaginary experience before a live audience.  With the goal having the students perform their own play at the end of the course, the basic concepts of a play were explained. Characters, setting, plot, costumes, props, dialogue, and scenes were presented as some of the most necessary components of a live performance.

Needless to say, the kids had fun pretending to be baaying sleep and clucking chickens. Uproarious laughter!

Several games were used to illustrate what acting is, since drama was a new concept for many children. The first was a game involving one of the universal forms of communication. The class acted emotions like happiness, surprise, and disgust while a chosen person would walk into the room and pick the person who was the best at displaying the emotion. By using a basic expression to act, students were able to get an idea of what it is like to act something out. They were also able to see what it is like to perceive someone else acting.

These ideas were expanded upon with a game called “Barnyard.” The students were given the choice of acting as a cow, sheep, pig, or chicken. Once the signal was given, they had to get up and act out their animal using movement and animal noises. Children had to perceive how other people were using verbal cues and body language in order to group themselves with their corresponding animals without talking. The activity ended with groups of students in each corner of the room united in a loud animal noise. Needless to say, the kids had fun pretending to be baaying sleep and clucking chickens. Uproarious laughter! This game helped explain how body movements and voices used by actors to create characters.

Despite many of the students still learning how to speak English, many were eager to act and proudly display their emotions or their ability to imitate an animal. Animal noise is universal to any language! With the task of writing and performing their own play, the class hopes to not only teach acting but also teamwork, creativity, and expand on reading and writing in English. By the end of the course, the students will have experienced the basics of performing arts and how it encourages expression and many other important skills and values.

Submitted by: KASHIF AHMED
International Development intern