Skip Links
Close Search

Physical theatre


It is possible to express great meaning, and tell stories about discontent, hope and change using the physicality, strength and dexterity of our bodies?

In Arena Theatre Company’s Trapper performers use slam poetry and demanding physical agility to make their arguments, simultaneously asking: “are we in control or being controlled?” Trapper investigates the complex relationship humans have with the systems we embrace, inhabit and fight against.

“Do we live in a prison or a playground?”


Play media

Press play to watch video

Physical stories

In what ways do you express yourself through gesture and body language? How do you tell the stories of your dissatisfaction, interests, worries or questions through your personal physicality?

After a good physical and playful warm up make up a specific gesture or simple movement sequence that says something about your experience of being alive. Do you feel that you live in a prison or a playground? How could you express this feeling in a single gesture?

Repeat the gesture over and over and over again.

Exaggerate the movement until it becomes as extreme as possible.

Simplify the gesture so that it is as subtle as possible.

Choreograph a solo dance based on the original gesture, playing with repetition and momentum. You can use two simple choreographic devices: 1) create sequence of movements based on your gestures which are a loop. Repeat the loop a number of times adding a different emotional narrative each time the loop goes around. 2) choreograph your gestures into a linear movement that travel at least 4 metres. Explore the gestures that help you move along your line.

Work in a group of 4 to perform your dance to each other one at a time.

Experiment with friends taking turns to perform and becoming aware of when to step in and out of the performance space to maintain the focus and energy of the experience.

Steal moves from each other and incorporate them into your dance, or try and encourage others to borrow from your ideas. 

Other examples of physical theatre