Reviews: Drama Menu, Second Helpings

John Johnson
Sunday, October 1, 2023

'This is an excellent sequel to an existing treasure trove of drama games,' says reviewer John Johnson on Drama Menu, Second Helpings by Glyn Trefor-Jones.


Drama Menu, Second Helpings

by Glyn Trefor-Jones
Drama Menu, Second Helpings by Glyn Trefor-Jones

A good collection of drama exercises and games can be worth their weight in gold. Many teachers and practitioners will be familiar with Glyn Trefor-Jones' Drama Menu, a rich resource that offers a little more than one-off games for fun and is hugely accessible.

Trefor-Jones is back with the aptly named Drama Menu, Second Helpings and, let's face it, who isn't a fan of seconds? The format is similar to the first book with the ‘Appetisers’ offering warm-up games and exercises to focus and energise the group. This time, they have been split into ‘Circle Appetisers’ and ‘Non-Circle’ versions. This specifity is very useful for the way that most of us teach or run workshops. Some of these exercises are well-known crowd pleasers, though there are others more left-field suggestions which would work well with all age groups.

I particularly liked how the exercises became more developed and in depth with each ‘course’, an element that Trefor-Jones says will help drama sessions to ‘build in energy, intensity and creativity.’ The starters are lengthier than the appetisers, but short enough to encourage participants to become more involved rather than presenting them with more intense exercises. The first two ‘courses’ certainly act as a bridge to the more involved activities. The main courses themselves still act as a set of explorative exercises rather than an in-depth practical session and perhaps a couple of more complex activities for older pupils or those working at a higher level would be useful.

The strength of this book lies in the ‘menus’ towards the end. This provides suggested combinations of exercises and is an excellent way to have a ready-made session to pull off the shelf. There are eight of these, which is really not enough – I wanted more! Trefor-Jones offers little insights into the content of each menu, such as ‘vocal possibilities’ or ‘explores extremes of emotion’, an addition which is very useful if you are looking to lead a session with a particular focus.

As with Drama Menu this book also offers access to a wealth of accompanying printouts and resources (including videos of the exercises in action) on the corresponding website. This book is well worth adding to your exercises and activities collection, helpful for those new to teaching drama, as well as those more experienced practitioners.