Introducing the School Arts Plan to Staff

Theatre Activity: This Is Not A…

This is an easy, fun theatre activity you could use in a staff meeting before introducing your staff to the Arts Plan.  It is from the book,Catch the Fire: An Art-Full Guide to Unleashing the Creative Power of Youth, Adults, and Communities by Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy.  This is the book provided to each arts team at their Fall Arts Team Launch Meetings.                                                                             Cover image of book, "Catch the Fire: An Art-Fill Guide to Unleashing the Creative Power of Youth, Adults and Communities
From page 205-209 ofCatch the Fire.

This starter game is low risk and lots of fun.

Materials: A variety of simple objects, one for each group.  For example, stick, water bottle, magic marker.


  1. Ask people to form circles of eight to twelve, with one leader in each group.  This is a go-around game, so each person will have a chance to play in sequence.
  2. The leaders (A) holds the stick (or other object) and says, "This is not a stick, it is a [fill in the blank with another made-up object – a microphone, for example].  They then demonstrates using the stick as a microphone, making appropriate motions and sound effects.
  3. The leader then passes the stick to the person on their left (B).
  4. B repeats the leader's demonstration of the microphone copying their movement and sound  as accurately as possible while saying, "This is not a microphone." They then give the stick another identity, saying, "This is a [fill in the blank – say, a pair of scissors with movement and sound then passes it the stick to the person on their left.And you continue around the circle.


Encourage players to use exaggerated movements and sound to demonstrate their objects.  Getting the body and voice into the action helps people let go of their self-consciousness.  Ask participants to copy the person before them as accurately as possible.  If a participant tells you all their ideas have been taken, remind them that the stick can be anything and does not have to be limited by its actual size and shape.  There is only one criteria: you can't repeat anything that has already been done.