Drama Games for Those  Who Like to Say No
by Chris Johnston
Sep 2010
£8.99

Described (pretty accurately as it goes) as ‘a dip-in, flick-through, quick-fire resource book’, and one of an ongoing Nick Hern Books series, Drama Games for Those Who Like to Say No is – unsurprisingly – for teachers and workshop leaders working with ‘difficult or reluctant students, youth groups, young offenders, and all those who seem intent on saying “no” to whatever is offered them’.

It’s compiled by veteran workshop facilitator / drama games maestro Chris Johnston (of House of Games fame), and the author brings to this collection his impressive track-record of work with professional theatre practitioners, in the wider community, and – specifically – within the prison/remand centre system. Thus, we trust his judgement on what exercises work in what sized group with what aged participants, and how much time should be allowed for the game… and it is good to have all of this summarised efficiently with each exercise. He also includes a short Training section to help teachers/facilitators working with challenging groups to gain some professional development and support.

It may be a small book, but it’s packed to the brim with bright and breezy ideas (ninety games in all, so that works out at around 10p a game – a bargain!). The first half focuseson getting-started games, some of which willbe familiar territory to those who run drama workshops regularly, and some more unusual ones. The second half of the book is its USP: a selection of scenarios to kick-start role-play sessions, broken down into headers such as ‘Skills – Reasoning’ or ‘Challenges – Managing Emotions’. There is some crossover with Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed work, but that is no bad thing – the world could certainly do with as much as it can get of dramainitiated ‘collaboration’ ‘communication’ and ‘negotiation’ (to reference a few more section headers).

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior

Dorothy Max Prior is the editor of Total Theatre Magazine, and is also a performer, writer, dramaturg and choreographer working in theatre, dance, live art and street arts. Under her alter-ego Dorothy’s Shoes she creates performance work that both honours and usurps the traditions of popular dance and theatre, and plays with the relationship between performer and audience. Much of her work is sited in public spaces or in venues other than regular theatres. She is also co-director of street theatre/dance company The Ragroof Players.

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