Actions off!


A simple drama game to introduce incidents from the life of Jesus.

A child playing Jenga

On your marks

What follows is a simple game, which is often used in a drama workshop. Here it introduces incidents from the life of Jesus.

Get set

No particular props are needed. You will however need Bibles and references for each of the incidents from the life of Jesus; or else those stories written out on pieces of card for each of the groups.


1  This is a group activity facilitated by a leader.

2  The idea is that the action is off-stage. To make this look realistic each group will need to choose a point that is outside the area in which they are performing and towards which they will look. Thus a group of children become onlookers, reacting to what theycan see but which is invisible to the others. They can say what they like about the scene except the mention of specific names or any give-away objects. The others watch and listen to what they are describing and try and guess what it is they are looking at.

3  Try this first with some contemporary (noteworthy!) events such as: watching a spaceship land; seeing a double rainbow; watching a shark swimming near a boat; the 100 meters final in the Olympics; a serious fire; saying a sad goodbye to a friend at an airport.

4  Now divide the children up into groups of 4/5 and give each one of them one of the following stories from the life of Jesus to read. Once they have worked out what they will be watching, they then come and perform their ‘actions off’ presentation. Can the others guess what it is that is being described?

5  Here is a list of possible stories from the gospels that you could use:

The baptism of Jesus
The wedding at Cana (John 2)
The man through the roof ( Mark 2)
The feeding of the 5000
The healing of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5)
The storm at sea
The healing of the man called Legion (Mark 5)
Palm Sunday
The overturning of the tables in the temple
The ascension

6  Now focus on whichever of these stories is the topic for your session and explore it further through the eyes of onlookers.

I wonder what they thought Jesus was trying to show them through this incident?
I wonder what they will tell their friends?
I wonder whether the stories became exaggerated?
I wonder if their friends and family at home believed them?
I wonder why Jesus told so many people he healed and even his friends to keep quiet about some of other things that happened in his life?