So you want to be a performer? Theatre Arts opens the world of theatre to youth with activities in communication, improvisation, pantomime, script writing, cultural and historical influences, stage design, and costume design.

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Theatre Arts

Spark Activity: Imagine That

Theatre arts begins with imagination and creativity. Try this activity with a group of family, friends, or members of your 4-H club. One person in the group starts a story and then the next person adds to it and so on until the story is complete. There are several variations of this activity:

  • Each person can only say one word each turn
  • Each person can only say one sentence each turn
  • Each person continues on with the story until the leader rings a bell or blows a whistle

One way to expand this activity is to have one person telling the story and the person next to the storyteller acting out that part of the story.

Another way to expand this activity is to give each person a piece of aluminum foil. Each person can design a prop that they must use when telling their part of the story.

Talk about whether this was easy or hard. Did the story end like you thought it would? What obstacles did you encounter? If you made the props - did you make the story match your creation or make your creation match the story?

Adapted from: “Explore Texas 4-H Theatre & Performing Arts”

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Learn more about different types of theatre arts and how they are used to communicate and express thoughts, ideas, and feelings
  • Learn about the history of puppetry and current types and styles of puppetry
  • Read a play or script; create a simple costume
  • Create a clown character
  • Learn about ventriloquism
  • Share skills through acting, voice, movement, characterization, role-playing, and other artistic expression
  • Practice types of movement and body language
  • Practice types of facial expressions and vocal projection
  • Develop a character; design an accompanying costume and props
  • Learn about lighting techniques for stage and film
  • Create a storyboard for a video or stage production
  • Design a set for a play or skit
  • Develop a costume design theme for a production
  • Write a play or skit
  • Select props for a production
  • Study special effects techniques
  • Develop a 4-H promotional video
  • Learn about careers in theater arts
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Construct a puppet theatre and puppets
  • Exhibit showing makeup techniques for clowns
  • Develop a skit on a social issue such as distracted driving

Service and Leadership

  • Construct props for a school or community theatre play
  • Present puppet shows at a child care center
  • Write a short play for your 4-H club to perform
  • Organize a puppetry, clowning, or other performing arts troupe
  • Coordinate a theatre arts workshop for other members
  • Volunteer to do face painting at community or school events
  • Make and donate a puppet for an angel tree gift


  • Entertain at children’s birthday parties (mime, ventriloquist, clown)
  • Create an improvisational comedy group
  • Design and sell puppets

Technology Connection

  • Digital lighting systems
  • 3D printing / digital fabrication for set design

Connecting with a Mentor

  • Local theatre
  • Performing arts center
  • Costume shop


  • 4-H show / state fair
  • Local community theatre productions
  • Community college workshops for youth theatre

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

  • Level 1: Beginner
  • Level 2: Intermediate
  • Level 3: Advanced
  • Level 3: Advanced Digital

Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

woman working on a costume
  • Actor
  • Director
  • Clowning
  • Choreographer
  • Stage Manager
  • Make-up Artist
  • Costume Designer
  • Playwright
  • Musician
  • Comedian
  • Film Editor
  • Improvisation
Start a Conversation
  • What type of theatre arts do you like best?
  • What part of theatre would you like to learn more about?
  • Who are your favorite performers? Why?
  • If you could be in any production, what would it be? Why?

Louisiana State University 4-H Performing Arts project sheet

North Dakota State University Extension 4-H project sheet

“Explore Texas 4-H Theater & Performing Arts” - Texas A & M AgriLife Extension

4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni, and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!