Posts Tagged ‘Top Tips’

10 Ideas for Making Your Own Character in Theatre

Friday, January 19th, 2024

Making and playing a character is one of the most exciting parts of acting training and being a part of a theatre school. One day, you’re a superhero whose mission is to save the world, and the next, you’re playing a wicked witch with a wonderfully scary laugh. There are countless ways to develop your character in theatre, but it can be difficult for an aspiring actor to know where to start. To give you some ideas, this post highlights some of the best ideas to improve your characterisation in drama. 

1. Look for Clues in the Script

When you start making a character, your first step should be to read through your script in detail. The script will help you discover facts about your character, such as their name, age, where they live, and their relationships with other characters. Look out for what your character says about themselves and what they say about others. This will help you to understand their thoughts, feelings, and personality. 

You should also think about the role your character plays in the story. Are they a hero or a villain? In storytelling, 12 archetypal characters commonly feature in literature, film or theatre. From the lover to the warrior, each character has its own strengths, weaknesses and characteristics that make them unique. Try to understand which of the 12 archetypes best fits your character and how you can lean into this.

2. Connect with Your Character

One of the best ways to develop your character is to try to connect with them. In a notebook, write down the information about the character you learned from the script, such as their backstory, age, personality, and beliefs. Then, see if you can relate to anything you’ve written down. For example, perhaps you are in the same school year as your character, or you have the same favourite food. Maybe you both have the same number of siblings or have similar morals and values. Thinking about this can make you feel more confident about portraying your character. If you went through a similar experience to that of your character, consider how you felt and how it affected you afterwards, and draw on that experience for inspiration.

3. Create a Character CV

Using the notes you made on the script, you can create a character CV similar to that used by people applying for a job. Use this format to write about your character’s history, strengths and weaknesses. There may well be information the script doesn’t provide, such as details of your character’s past, but this is a great opportunity to create these for yourself. Thinking creatively about your character and coming up with new details can help you to understand their thoughts, feelings, and personality.

It’s important to note that your character CV doesn’t need to remain the same throughout your acting project. You should feel free to make changes, remove details or add new information while rehearsing and learning more about the story.

4. Explore Using Props

a child using props for acting

Props can be a valuable tool for developing and portraying a character. Not only do they help you discover your character’s personality and background, but they can also help you get into the right mindset when the time comes to take to the stage. For example, where would Dorothy be without her ruby slippers and Toto? You don’t need to leave them to the side until opening night; utilising props during script-reading sessions, acting classes, and rehearsals can help you to get in and out of character quickly while acting.

5. Consider Character Traits

As human beings, we all have certain habits, little things we do that are just “us”. Your character will have these, too. Characterisation in drama is all about deciding on traits unique to your character. Ask yourself how they laugh, walk, sit, stand, eat, and sleep, and feel free to experiment. You should explore including whichever traits make the most sense to you and allow yourself to have fun playing your character.


Is your child interested in learning to dance, act, and sing? Discover the term dates at Spotlights Theatre School.

6. Think About Your Character’s “Why”

In every well-written story, each character has a “why”. This is their motivation for behaving the way they do or responding to their surroundings in a certain way. It also helps to explain the part they play in the story. When making your character, write down the reasons you think they might have for acting the way they do. What’s their end goal? What do they want to achieve by the end of the story and beyond? Your answers could be anything from finding fame and fortune to taking revenge on someone who hurt them. 

Once you’ve decided what your character’s “why” is, use this to fuel your performance. It should always be in the back of your mind, helping you to stay true to the person you’re portraying and ensuring your responses to events are consistent and make sense to the audience. 

7. Base Your Character on Someone You Know

Johnny Depp is famous for basing his characters on other famous people. For example, his portrayal of “Pirates of the Caribbean” hero Captain Jack Sparrow is heavily influenced by Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. This characterisation method can be a great way to build up your character’s traits and personality, especially if you’re struggling with generating ideas. If you find a celebrity particularly engaging or entertaining, perhaps you can incorporate their behaviours into your character. You could also base your character on a friend or family member who inspires you.

8. Set Some Obstacles

Every person experiences hardships in life, and your character is no different. Thinking about the obstacles they have faced in their life and challenges that could come up in the future could not only give you ideas about your character’s motivations, but also their beliefs and personality. Put yourself into your character’s shoes, and think about what obstacles they might have had to overcome previously.


If you’re struggling for ideas, try to find a well-known person who is similar to your character, and research their background. What struggles have they overcome? Let this knowledge inspire you.

9. Ask People around You

Sometimes, the best way to get feedback on a character is to ask others. It’s easy to overthink and make the character too complex, so seeking an outside opinion can be a great way to refresh your thinking. Sit down with a friend, family member or fellow actor and tell them what the script says about your character, and then ask what they think their main personality traits might be. They might propose a detail you hadn’t considered or lead to tackling your characterisation from a new perspective.

10. Develop Your Voice

Lastly, deciding on the character’s voice early can be a great way to build their personality. Depending on where the story takes place, they will have an accent; you can use videos and recordings of people from that location to learn the specific dialect and slang. In addition to this, make a note of the character’s age, as this will impact the way they speak. If you’re playing a comedic character, you can have lots of fun with the way they express the dialogue in the script. In contrast, if you’re playing a more serious or shy character, it might be more appropriate to adopt a more reserved way of speaking. The best approach is to experiment and see what works. Whatever you decide, consistency is key — ensure your speaking style is the same throughout the story. 

Learn to Make a Character in Theatre

As you can see, you can use many different techniques to develop a character in drama. From choosing props to embracing their background, the possibilities are endless for making a character your own. It’s important to draw on various different characterisation methods, and you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. 

If you’re a parent and your child is interested in acting, the prospect of helping them develop their drama skills and achieve their dreams can be daunting. A theatre school offers the perfect opportunity for them to gain confidence, make friends with other aspiring performers, and learn from experts in drama. So, what are you waiting for? We’re ready to welcome you and your young superstar and help them to achieve their dreams.

Contact us and book a free trial class today.

Spotlights Guide to Rehearsing Outside of the Rehearsal Room

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Our Star 12&3 students age 7-16 will soon be presenting their productions of The Wizard of Oz.  Right now we are in the thick of the rehearsals.  Here are our top 5 tips on how to keep rehearsing outside of the rehearsal room.


The build-up to a show is very exciting, it’s like creating a massive jigsaw puzzle and the sense of achievement when all the pieces fit, is wonderful. Training in the performing arts is just like any other kind of training, to perform to the best of your ability, you must put the work in, both inside and outside the rehearsal room.

But why is it a good idea to work on your material at home? How does this make you a more skilled performer? How does this make the show more enjoyable?

Here are 5 tips that will help you with your show prep, so that you can perform to the best of your ability:

(1) Bite-size chunks.

The best way to work on your script/songs/dances is to break them down into bite-sized chunks. When you are confident that you’ve learned a small section of the material, move on to the next section. This will really help you to feel confident when you’re back in the rehearsal room. It will also help you to feel confident on stage when you’re performing in front of the audience.

(2) Every little helps.       

When you’re just a few weeks away from a show, the best approach is to work on your material every day, even for a short period of time. This will give you time to process what you’re learning and to build on your performance.

(3) Teamwork.

Why not invite a friend or some friends from the cast to your house for a drama play date! You can have fun together, helping each other with your lines, songs and dances. You can use this time to develop your performance and to encourage each other.

(4) Test yourself.

If you’re rehearsing your lines, ask your parents/siblings/friends to test you on your lines. Make sure you’ve learned them correctly and practice saying them clearly. If you’re working on a song, start with the vocal track, then use the backing track, to check you know the words.

(5) Anytime is a good time to rehearse.

You can record your lines and listen to them on the way to school, or you can listen to the songs in the car and get your family singing along! Think about the time you have available each day and set aside a short amount of that time for your rehearsals. The more confident you are, the more you’ll enjoy the performance.

Have fun and be prepared!


If you know a child who would like the opportunity to perform and take part in shows please get in touch and ask about the next date for a FREE trial class.

Spotlights Guide to Rehearsals – Our Top 10 Tips

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Our Star 12&3 students age 7-16 will soon be presenting their productions of The Wizard of Oz.  Right now we are in the thick of the rehearsals.  Here are our top 10 tips for getting the most out of rehearsal process.


The casting has been announced, everyone knows which role they’re playing, the rehearsal process can really begin!

Check out these golden rules, that will help you be a star in rehearsals:

(1) Be prepared!

Read through the whole script, so you understand the story you’re working on. Read through your lines, sing through your songs and practice your dance steps. The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll be in rehearsals.

(2) Makes notes – in pencil

Bring your script and a pencil to each rehearsal. In pencil, in your script, write down any stage directions or notes you’re given. The directions may change as you work on the show, so write in pencil, not pen. When you get home, practice your material and the directions you’ve been given.

(3) Make courageous decisions       

Make choices and decisions about your character, that are brave and bold. The director/choreographer/singing coach will tell you if you’ve gone too far. Interesting character choices are fun to watch on stage and you’ll have fun playing them.

(4) Learn the language of the stage   

The director will speak in the ‘language of the stage’ during the rehearsals. They’ll ask you to move downstage centre or upstage right. Make sure you know what these directions mean. If you’re not sure, ask them and they’ll help you understand these terms.

(5) There are no small parts       

It doesn’t matter about the size of the role you’re playing or the numbers of lines you have. In each production, everyone can shine. If you approach each rehearsal with energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, you’ll stand out on stage and the audience will love your performance!

(6) Be a good team player

An essential part of a successful production is being a good team player. Remember to look after each other and be supportive of others. Kind words of praise and encouragement can really make a difference.       

(7) Focus and energy

There may be times in rehearsals when the director/choreographer/singing coach has their attention focused on another actor. Make sure that when it’s your turn to rehearse your scene/dance/song, that you’re ready. Make sure you’re focused and full of energy. Rehearsal time is precious and every second counts.

(8) It’s okay to make mistakes

It’s okay to make mistakes in rehearsals, that’s what they’re for. Don’t worry if you don’t achieve what you set out to achieve, the first time you do it, keep trying and keep smiling!

(9) Learn your material

Learn your material as quickly as you can, this will give you the maximum amount of time in rehearsals, to work on your material without having to think about what you do or say next. This will help you to deliver a natural and convincing performance.

(10) Have fun and enjoy the process

Decide to have fun and enjoy the rehearsal process and you will learn so much, not only from what you’re doing, but you can learn so much from others too.

If you know a child who would like the opportunity to perform and take part in shows please get in touch and ask about the next date for a FREE trial class.