Tricks of the Trade


Two actors are devising a show in a school hall when an audience arrives unexpectedly! Their play is not ready to be shown in public but instead they decide to share their play-making process with the audience. Through innovative story-telling, humour and extraordinary physicality they:

  • Explore five starting points from which to make a play: Theme, Script, Found Story, Personal Story, Issue.
  • Demonstrate diverse theatrical styles by converting one scene into different genres: Shakespeare, Contemporary, Action Hero.
  • Experiment with ways to create characters: inspired by a piece of costume, a voice or accent, a particular physicality, an ‘inner action’, a state of tension.
  • Discover the techniques of Improvisation: making, accepting and extending offers.
  • Physicalise a script: through a fusion of dance, circus skills, mime and movement.
  • Play with theatrical transitions, props, musical score and possibilities for research.

Co. Theatre Physical employs comedy, dexterous physicality and diverse skills to bring you dynamic, educative theatre!

Suitability: Years 7-13
Duration: 50 minutes
Price: $5 (+GST) per student
Minimum Audience: 130 students

Extensive Teachers Notes available


Originally devised and performed by
Eve Gordon and Beth Kayes

Australian Agent
Young Australia Workshop


“This is a wonderfully energetic and engaging one hour. It is also the most fabulous and dynamic teaching tool that covers so many aspects of the curriculum through such a physically creative and artistic performance. The students were all buzzing as they exited.”

– Fiona Keith-Kirk, H.O.D Drama, Pakuranga College

Nelson Mail ( Theatre – the inside story. Reviewed by Arch Barclay

“What a delightful and refreshing show two women have devised to introduce youngsters to live theatre. Beth Keyes and Eve Gordon capture their audience and hold them entranced.

“In a fast-moving 50 minutes they cover a wealth of stagecraft drawing in their young (and not so young) audience – inviting some on stage to help…”

(read full review here)

” ‘That was so cool – I want to try those ideas in my work.’ Responses like this are like gold for busy teachers looking for new ways to inspire and excite their students. Co. Theatre Physical put the spark into the devising process by providing a hilarious insight into the elements and conventions of play making. The clever use of physical theatre techniques like mime, movement and acrobatics provide inspiration and hilarity as we follow the endearing characters through numerous scenarios designed to explore drama elements, techniques and conventions…”

– Duncan Allan, HOD Performing Arts, Selwyn College, May 2010

“The students were captivated by the show, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by staff too! The structure of what you presented was most informative, the humour delightful and well-sustained from start to finish, and the energy levels throughout, simply outstanding. The range of themes, characters and performance styles ensured that you never once ‘lost’ the audience.”

– Helen Dallaston, Year 10 Dean, St.Cuthbert’s College