The Show Must Go On – a team-building drama exercise


The Show Must Go On is a useful exercise for encouraging teamwork and, hopefully, building confidence in the strength of the ensemble.

The group should stand in a circle and one member of the group volunteers to start. They step into the centre of the circle and begin an act – it can be singing a song or for non-singers, it could be performing a dance, a mime, a monologue, even a comedy routine — anything really, though ideally not something that’s been prepared.

The group should watch (and hopefully enjoy!) the performance but also be aware of the performer – are they getting tired or running out of energy? have they forgotten the next line/move or are they running out of ideas/coming to the end of their piece? Before that happens, someone else should step into the circle and relieve the first performer. The second performer should start their own act rather than continuing the first one – and again, in turn, should be relieved before the show grinds to a halt.

The idea is to assure people that they are not alone: that the ensemble will support them, anticipating their needs and not leave them hanging. But equally, the group should try to not jump in too early, to steal someone else’s focus.

Shy members of the group may need encouragement to step in – arguably they may benefit the most from it so they really should get in there!
Experienced performers with lots of stamina might need to be challenged, else the game will run all night: demand patter songs or star jumps during monologues to tire them out!

Length: open – depends on size/ability of group

Group size: any

Have you used this game with your class?

  • Did they like it?
  • Did you find it useful?
  • Did you change anything?

We'd love to hear what you think!