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Improv Tableaux Activity: LOCATION FREEZE

In LOCATION FREEZE, students use their imagination to create frozen 'tableaux' that depicts locations, accepting 'offers' made by others and exploring imagery. This can be used as an improv game as well. It's a good activity for teens or late elementary (primary) as well.

​How to play location freeze



  • This is an improv scene game that is played with groups of 5 or 6 students (but it can be less or more and even be the whole class).


Instructions for this drama activity:

  • Teacher explains that a “frozen tableaux” is a frozen picture or postcard that the
    students will make to show the class a location or setting.

  • Students are directed to get up one at a time and think of something or someone that would be in a location.

  • The teacher prompts students to create a “tableaux” or “frozen picture” with
    around 5 or 6 students, getting input from the class about what characters / things they might find in the location.


What is a tableaux?

  • A tableaux is a 'freeze frame' depicting a moment.

  • Students must utilise character (body language, facial expression, manner, gesture) and space (levels, in action) to depict a moment in time.

  • Freeze frames are commonly used in drama and students must make their individual freeze (action) work well with the groups 'picture'.

  • Freezes should be clear and able to be maintained.

  • Freezes should capture and create an appropriate atmosphere.

Example tableaux scene

  • The scene is in a HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM.

  • Teacher asks students to think of characters they might find in a hospital waiting room.

  • Teacher encourages students to interact with each other and to complement other freezes. Encourage students to interact in the scene and work with the existing tableaux.

  • Try different locations and create multiple frozen pictures! You can have as little or as many students as you like in the tableaux.

For this scene:

  • Doctor: teacher asks one student to hop onto the stage and show a freeze like a doctor doing something in the scene. The doctor might be reading a chart or examining a patient.

  • Nurse: teacher directs a student to take a freeze as a nurse, thinking about what the nurse might be doing. The nurse might take a freeze like they are talking to the doctor or perhaps the nurse is at the nurses desk.

  • Patient: teacher directs a student to take a freeze as a patient. Perhaps they become the patient who is being examined by the doctor. The patient might hold their leg as if it were broken.

  • Parent: teacher directs a student to take a freeze as the parent of the patient. Perhaps they put their arm on the shoulder of the patient or freeze like they are asking the doctor or nurse a question.

  • Paramedic: teacher directs a student to take a freeze as a paramedic. Perhaps they are wheeling in a stretcher bed with another patient they just picked up in the ambulance.

  • Patient on Stretcher: As the last freeze was a paramedic wheeling a patient in,
    encourage a student to become that patient.



  • Have students come up with 1 line to say as their character. Once the frozen picture is complete, prompt the students to take it in turns to say their lines.

Further extension:

  • After saying 1 line each, direct students to create a short improvised scene starting with the frozen picture. The scene should show the interaction between characters and be based on the tableaux they have created. Give the scene a time frame (30-60 seconds) but let it run if it is going well.

This drama activity is included in the FREE Drama Games PDF which you can download HERE!

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