Character Workshop

by Amelia Heer Dunlap

Unit Objective:

Students will be able to perform as a specific character by participating in numerous character-building activities and by performing as the character in a character picnic performance.


Class Level:

Beginning Theatre; no prior experience necessary.


Class Length:

lessons developed for 85-minute class periods.


Big Picture:

True and believable characters come from who the actor is.


2014 National Core Arts Standards: 

TH:Cr1.1.HSI a. Apply basic research to construct ideas about the visual composition of a drama/theatre work.


TH:Cr3.1.HSI b. Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.


TH:Pr4.1.HSI b. Shape character choices using given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.


1994 National Standards 

Content Standard #2: Acting by developing, communicating, and sustaining characters in improvisations and informal or formal productions

a) Students analyze the physical, emotional, and social dimensions of characters found in dramatic texts from various genres and media

c) Students in an ensemble, create and sustain characters that communicate with audiences

e) Students create consistent characters from classical, contemporary, realistic, and nonrealistic dramatic texts in informal and formal theatre, film, television, or electronic media productions.


Enduring Understanding 1:

True and believable characters come from who the actor is and
what he/she brings to them.


Enduring Understanding 2:

We must use our own bodies to take on the physical attributes of a character.


Essential Question 1:

How does empathy play a part of performance?


Essential Question 2:

How do we use who we are as individuals to create and perform as characters?




Lesson 1:  Character Choice/Pantomime

Educational Objective:  Students will demonstrate the ability to perform characters by creating a short character skit based on fairy tale characters.


Lesson 2: Character: Physical Aspects

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to create characters by participating in a Where Space  activity and recording their experiences and character discoveries on paper.


Lesson 3: Character Backstory

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to create a character analysis which includes backstory and character motivations by performing character interviews and by participating in a graffiti wall.


Lesson 4:  Physical Character

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to discover more information about themselves and their character by taking a personality quiz and by doing a character runway walk.


Lesson 5: Character Practice

Educational Objective: Students will demonstrate understanding of their character and the ability to stay in character by participating in Never Have I Ever/Ignominious Death as their characters.


Lesson 6: Monologue Practice

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to practice their monologues by working individually and with partners to improve their acting choices and performance confidence.


Lesson 7: Perform Character Monologues  

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to showcase their characters’ motivations by performing an original monologue that comes from their character.


Lesson 8: Character Duets 

Educational Objective:  Students will explore how their character approaches others by performing a task-based scene between their characters.


Lesson 9: Character Picnic

Educational Objective:  Students will be able to discover and practice their character’s physical, emotional, and mental motivators by competing in a relay race as their character. Students will be able to perform their characters to be true and believable by participating in a classroom picnic as their characters and writing a reflection paper on their experience.


Character Workshop Unit Lessons.Amelia Dunlap