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Games for Devising

What’s the Story?

Devising theatre is a way of creating original theatre with your group.  It is worth noting that improvisation, where something is created spontaneously with little or sometimes no preparation, is a tool often used in the devising process but they are two different things.

Devising games are a good way of preparing the group to devise through improvisation and here are 3 favourites.   You can find more in the books recommended in the additional reading section.

Group Storytelling – Yes and

Someone is selected to start a group story, it always begins with ‘Do you remember when..’.  A second player joins in with ‘Yes and …’ and so on.  Here is an example

  1. Do you remember when we all went on that coach trip to London
  2. Yes and the coach got a flat tyre
  3. Yes and we were stranded on the edge of the road
  4. Yes and the toilet was broken and Jane was desperate for the toilet
  5. Yes and…

Try to make sure everyone joins in as there will always be one or two players who have loads of enthusiasm and ideas but they can sometimes unintentionally block others.

Some of the best group stories can happen when you allow the group to let their imagination run wild and the story ends up in implausible situations.  The emphasis should be on fun and maximum participation and creativity.


The group sit or stand in a circle

  • Player 1 points at someone and accuses them ‘It was you!’
  • Player 2 who was accused says ‘It wasn’t be it was you’ and points at someone else
  • Player 3 who was accused says ‘it wasn’t me because..’ and makes up an excuse.  They then point at another player and accuse them
  • Player 4 who was accused by player 3 also denies the accusation explaining why it wasn’t them and accuses someone else but this time they have to give a reason why they are accusing that person

Now the whole game is in full swing and it can run until there are no new ideas.  Usually we never even get to find out exactly what the crime was because everyone is caught up in creating accusations and denials.

What’s the Word?

Each player is given a random word – you can prepare these in advance and put them into a hat to be drawn at random.  They must then each take a turn telling a story and include the word, the rest of the group need to see if they can identify the word.

Tips to give the players

  • Reusing something that has actually happened to you or a story that you know well and just changing it a bit are a helpful way of staying on track
  • Don’t make the word the most important element of the story. Use lots of unusual words in the story to confuse the rest of the group.
  • Ask to change the word if you don’t know what it means

Related resources


Improvisation Game – What are you Doing

Additional Reading


Drama Games for Devising

Published by Nick Hern Books

ISBN 9781848420373



House of Games – Making Theatre from Everyday Life

Published by Nick Hern Books

ISBN: 9781854599056



Online blog with lots of useful exercises to help with the devising process