Practicing Presence

Lesson 3 – Practicing Presence


Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of presence by writing reflections on various presence exercises.


Essential Questions

  • What is presence?
  • How can presence improve a theatrical performance?
  • How can presence help you in life?


National Standards

  • TH:Pr5.1.II.a. Refine a range of acting skills to build a believable and sustainable drama/theatre performance. 


State Standards

  • Standard L2.T.CR.5: Explore physical, vocal, and emotional choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant in a drama/ theatre work.



  • Food (snack, nuts, fruit)
  • Drawing materials: paper, pencils, crayons, markers
  • Reflection Assignment

Review and Lesson

In the last lesson, we started discussing Patsy Rodenburg and The Second Circle. Being in Second Circle means being fully present with yourself and the things around you.

For this activity, you are going to practice presence. “Being present means fully enjoying the moment that you are in. It is the moment when you are calm and you know exactly what you want. You are focused on what you’re doing without thinking about anything else”( also means “being, existing, or occurring at this time or now; current” (

In class we have been practicing mindfulness which is one way to be present with and fully aware of your body. Today, you will be present in a few tasks.

  1. Eating: Grab a snack or a piece of fruit. Before eating it, look at it. Analyze its shape, color, texture, and size. Do this for 3 minutes (set a timer). What are you discovering about it that you’ve never seen before? As you take a first bite, really try to understand all the different flavors, textures, sensations you are feeling. Be fully focused on tasting the food. 
  2. Listening to someone: In a conversation with someone, try to be fully present while they speak. Put distractions away. Try not to think about anything else. Listen to what they are saying, how they are saying it. Eye contact is also important to practice.
  3. Drawing: Grab paper and some pencils, pens, crayons, markers, etc. Put on a timer for 20 minutes. For these 20 minutes, try to be fully present with your coloring and drawing. Your goal is to continuously draw for the full 20 minutes without stopping. Try not to plan ahead too much or judge what you are drawing. No one else needs to see this drawing. This is about being in the moment and enjoying the creative process. It might be helpful to put on some calming music to help you focus.

Reflection (Please answer these questions and submit your response)

  1. What did you discover about your food? What did you discover about yourself and how you eat?
  2. How challenging was it to listen to someone and be present with them? How can this be a helpful tool to develop?
  3. Were you able to be present for the full 20 minutes of drawing? Did you experience any moments of being in the flow (completely focused on drawing and you start to forget about time and everything else)? What did you discover about yourself? Why is it important to be present with creative activities?