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Role distribution and supporting actors

There is a saying in theatre: the right distribution of roles is 50% of the work in a performance.

Possible procedures for the distribution of roles

  • Each role is assigned only once

  • Each role is assigned several times

  • Pupils choose freely

  • Roles are assigned (according to the character of the children)

  • Background actors

As a teacher, you need to find out who can and wants to learn a big or bigger role, and who is suitable for which role.

This can be handled very flexibly. For example, if three girls all really want to play "Juliet" in Romeo and Juliet, they can each play an act as long as the audience knows this before the play starts. Or there is no one who wants to play a servant or an old man. Then you, as the teacher, start negotiating and painting the advantages of such a role. "You don't have to memorise so much", "If you can do it right, it's really funny" etc.

If there is more than one performance....

...the roles can be distributed differently. For example: four performances and three Julias. Everyone can have one performance and the fourth can be shared, or the most reliable and punctual student can play twice - or other criteria.

Once a decision has been made, it is important to stick to it. Role allocation or 'casting' is crucial to the success of a performance. Just think of your favourite films and imagine different casts.

Determine the supporting actors

Apart from the set actors and roles, you can also assign students "made-up" roles. These can be background actors (trees, guards...), dancers or even a "sugar seller" who sells something during the performance. There are no limits to the imagination in this case either!

  • What could extras do? (Pedestrians on the street, a journalist watching the scene and taking notes).

  • Can a child soufflé (=insert himself)?

  • How many supporting actors would fit in well?

  • What can you keep them busy with?

  • They should be active in some way (e.g. mime, dance, etc.)!

There should always be as many pupils as possible active. Anyone who is not in the rehearsed scene can be busy with the set, costumes, props or preparing their scene.

If all the children are present in the form of a normal school class, this can be quite difficult, but it can be managed if you have someone to help, or if some of the students are responsible enough to lead smaller teams and keep the noise level down. If it is a voluntary activity during free time, simply draw up a scene and theatre plan (attached) and make a good, solid and well thought-out rehearsal plan.

The importance of assigning roles

The role we assign to a child is very important. You should be aware that during the time the child is involved in creating a character - be it for a week or even a few months - they will be very involved with that role. Sometimes this process can be so intense, and the role taken so seriously, that the pupil may adopt tics, gestures, reactions or even concepts of life from the character they are studying.

There are cases where a role fits and resembles a child's personality and cases where it does not fit the child's energy, character or personality. In both cases, the role can be played, but if it is not a good fit, it often means more work. On the other hand, this is often a helpful process in which the child can learn a lot.

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