The Tempest

  1. Game – Build A Scene a) A sinking ship b) A desert island. (10 mins)
  2. Brainstorm ‘The Tempest’ title. What themes, locations, emotions and images do they think of when they think of this title? Full class discussion.
  3. Freeze frame activity based on the opening scene of the play. Prepare frames then repeat using quotes.
  4. Cream-faced loon activity – Shakespearian insults. Discuss the character of Claiban and the way Prospero treats him. Why do you think he does this? How do you think Caliban feels about his situation?
  5. Have the children walk around the room, first as Prospero and then as Caliban. Observe then ask the children to show each other in two halves. What do they notice about the differences in the way the characters move? Discuss.
  6. Shakespearian insults activity.
  7. Paired activity – short scene Prospero and Caliban. Watch some and discuss how Caliban should move/speak etc. and the same for Prospero.
  8. Year 6 – Trial scene. Prospero is on trial for imprisonment and slavery. In groups of three, prepare a short trial scene. One plays Prospero and the other two the defence and prosecution. The defence outlines the reasons why Prospero should not be found guilty and the prosecution the reasons why he should. Each is allowed to ask Prospero five questions each. Add witnesses Aerial and Caliban, Miranda and Gonzalo. At the end, the rest of the class (the jury) vote on whether he is innocent or guilty!
  9. Year 5 – I’m a celebrity – Get me out of here! Give out the character list and ask the children to choose a character each and to discuss as directed on the top of the sheet. In groups, act out the receiving of the task and the discussion that follows about how they should go about it, who should do what etc. They can also act out the actual task if they wish. Watch these and vote for which character, in each group, you want to stay on the island. (45 min)

Ideas for further activities.

  1. Hot-seating characters – encourage the children to respond in character and to ask questions which will stretch the children. playing the characters, to examine their motivations etc.
  2. Masks (Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban) Choose from the masks a mask which best suits the character. Prepare freeze frames showing the relationships between the characters. Then prepare a short movement sketch to reflect events in the play.
  3. Jeremy Kyle – Choose a character and ask the children to come up with a title accordingly. For example: Caliban – I was enslaved by my master! Conduct a short improvisation roughly based on Jermey Kyle style show. Ask Caliban what happened and how he feels about it and then ask volunteers to come up as characters e.g. Prospero and give their thoughts and opinions.
  4. News at 10. (The storm and sinking ship) Self-explanatory.
  5. Blind date (Miranda has to choose between Ferdinand, Caliban and Stephano but she doesn’t know which one is which! The children are provided with statements foe the show. Ask volunteers to come up and play the characters.

Supporting materials for all of these activities are available on request.