You remember the days when you used to play ‘make-believe’? Ok, some of us don’t actually stop doing that, but I’m talking about a time when you could be immersed in a game and it became almost real for you. I remember playing in the woods and in my mind the place was inhabited with all sorts of mythical creatures and beasts that became a part of my story. It was magical.

You could go for ages getting wrapped up in your own wonderful world. In theatre I try to recreate some of the potential in that sort of creativity with theatre games. I started, some years ago, running longer games and improvisation sessions with my youth group. We could run a game for hours and not get bored or run out of ideas. It’s brilliant to see people constantly creating a new world, spontaneously responding to situations and relationships with others without breaking character. I have a few ‘event’ type games that I’ll post up over the next few weeks, but this one is played in a similar way and is very engaging to take part in and to watch!

Now there's a challenge!
Now there’s a challenge!

Clues and Challenges
This game gives your group the opportunity to enter a world of challenges for a long as you want it to last. I used to run it for a 2 hour session. It’s great to use as an end of term special or a session after a big show. It’s fun and structured tightly so the group have to work together to get through it in the time allowed.

Well, for a start the group has to work together WITHOUT you (or any other leader) taking charge. In fact I recommend stepping right out of the space (if you can) and keeping an eye on things from a remote place (or as far away as you can get without losing eye contact with the proceedings!)
This is great for team work & gives them a valuable insight into the dynamics of the group (you too as you watch the natural leaders take control)
Each clue has to be solved – brain power!
Then comes the mad dash to the location and the challenge is revealed.
The challenges speak for themselves but I try and make sure that everyone is involved.

In various locations around the space / building / area you are working in you hide a series of written CHALLENGES that the group have to complete.
To find these challenges you provide CLUES.
These can be delivered one at a time or randomly as you wish. Once I composed a limerick for each member of the group & they picked them in turn. The limerick contained a clue to the location, but you could write riddles or anything really depending on the average age of your group. I just like limericks – this one related to the mouse on the theatre computer.

A clever young fairy named Emma
Was placed in an awful dilemma
When asked to address
The whole world (more or less)
With a rodent, she started to tremor

After solving the limerick the group rush to the computer & sure enough, under the mouse there is the next challenge.

The challenges should vary a lot – specify how many of the group must take part (the whole group as often as you can) in each challenge & how long it should take them to complete


  • Re-enact a famous battle of your choice (I like the scope this one affords)
  • Group dance or walk across stage – nicely synchronised (takes a surprisingly long time to get this right!)
  • A song of your choice – everyone to join in (encourage harmonies)
  • An improvised scene from a made-up soap
  • Improvise a scene using only one word. And the word is ……. (your choice!)
  • One person to narrate ‘The Terrible Tale of Sidney Snail and Sandra Slug’ (or whatever you choose)- Others to act out as required
  • The perfect curtain call (another one that calls for a lot of co-ordination)
  • Act out a scene where you can only laugh (or something else) to communicate

IN FACT – you can use any game you like – just bear in mind that they need to organise themselves – try not to step in and do it for them!

Have fun! Look out for some more ‘events’ over the next few weeks..

Clues and Challenges – an Offbeat Gaming Event