Building personal character through drama

Building personal character through drama is easy with many of its interactive processes:  planning, rehearsing, devising, evaluating, and critiquing others.  During the acting process, actors must interpret, analyze, discuss, and imitate the character traits of the roles they play in a given story.  Additionally, other skills such as making and keeping commitments, improving audience behaviors which impact the specific behaviors of others, listening, and responding with empathy are key to the art form.   These skills apply to areas beyond drama and serve to promote positive character development.  You will find that drama tools will equip the students with valuable life skills.

Our chart below outlines drama's use in building personal character.  The chart lists the dynamic traits that directly influence the development and presentation of dramatic work.  These traits have been divided into two categories:

  • INTERPERSONAL: Interpersonal traits directly impact communication with others such as a team or partner.
  • INTRAPERSONAL: Intrapersonal traits impact an actor’s self visualization, awareness, and definition.


Character TraitsPracticesDrama Connections
Adapting to changes in people and circumstances.
  1. Adapting personal ideas to those of the group.

  2. Making changes in a drama based on new circumstances (e.g. new problems in completing the task, adding new actors to partially completed work, etc.).

  3. Enacting characters that display this trait.
Showing kindness and concern for others.
  1. Working with group members who might not understand the project, remember the story, or comprehend the ideas.

  2. Teaching someone else a basic skill.

  3. Enacting characters that display this trait.
Thinking things through.
Reasoning, solving, analyzing.
Thinking creatively and critically.
Visualizing the end goal.
  1. Thinking through the best way to handle an interpersonal team problem.

  2. Brainstorming.

  3. Imagining the whole, completed drama or idea.

  4. Participating in the moments of “think” time.
Taking risks.
Facing problems squarely.
  1. Working with teammates who are not close associates.

  2. Taking risks with the body, mind, and/or voice in a drama presentation.

  3. Enacting stories about people who take risks.

  4. Enacting “heroic” characters.

  5. Identifying teammates who take risks in the drama.
Acting truthfully.
Refusing to take unfair advantage of others.
  1. Evaluating personal behaviors.

  2. Enacting stories where characters demonstrate this trait.

  3. Responding to teammates in a truthful way.

  4. Owning up to mistakes in interpersonal or other behaviors.
Taking responsible action without prompting.
Demonstrating leadership.
  1. Solving team problems without the assistance of the instructor.

  2. Assisting others without being asked.

  3. Guiding the team planning process without prompting.
Making a commitment.
Keeping a commitment.
  1. Following through on the team plan even if personal ideas were not used and/or rejected.

  2. Praising team members in a thoughtful manner.
Being positive.
  1. Planning, practicing, and presenting a drama with enthusiasm and/or confidence.

  2. Praising self and others.

  3. Looking for and finding solutions without negativity.
Working toward a goal even in the face of difficulties.
Using conflict resolution strategies.
  1. Working through teacher made obstacles to complete a drama.

  2. Working through group or time obstacles to complete a drama.

  3. Enacting and discussing the methods characters use to overcome their conflicts.
Showing consideration and regard for self and others.
  1. Using language in the planning and practicing of a drama that demonstrates respect.

  2. Discussing the characters being played in regards to the verbal and nonverbal language used in order to communicate interpersonal respect or lack of it.

  3. Analyzing character traits in enacted stories that demonstrate respect or lack of respect.
Being accountable for personal actions.
  1. Demonstrating self-management techniques: controlling space, showing off, listening, etc.

  2. Completing a job responsibility for the drama: researching, creating the story, directing, memorizing a role, memorizing the story and/or actions, supplying a prop or costume.

  3. Acknowledging personal actions that hindered or helped the group process.
Letting actions communicate reliability and believability.
  1. Participating in drama trust exercises.

  2. Discussing the interpersonal responsibility of each member of the drama team.

  3. Demonstrating and discussing actions that earn and retain trust from teammates.

You can download a PDF of the table herepdf icon.

We designed our lessons to assist building personal character through drama.  We've made it simple for you to implement in your class: JOIN today and see!

Grade Level