A family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.


Review: National Theatre: Play in a Box.

Play in a Box box  

We recently received a very special package from National Theatre and we couldn't wait to try it out. Play in a Box is exactly what it sounds like, it has all the resources and direction to encourage children to perform their own plays, direct performances, construct story lines and more. We couldn't wait to try it out!
There's a lot to get your head around in this box, from the booklet (with a lot of fab info) to the tickets and other fab bits and bobs. We've created little performances before and loved it, so it was great to have an organised way to create more fantastic plays. 

The set includes several key elements to creating a play including:

  • Character cards (opponents, heroes, strangers and friends)
  • Stagecraft Handbook
  • Plot Twists Book
  • Setting Cards
  • Ticket Template
  • Programme Template 
The first thing we did was check out the Stagecraft Handbook for a little direction. At first we found it a bit confusing, because the first few pages have so much information. I'd probably suggest giving it a full read through before beginning the process of creating your play...

George and Molly looking at the stagecraft handbook and cards.

George and Molly started off by selecting their characters and settings. The cards are full of wonderful suggestions such as a ghost or a bunny and really appealing to the likes of our two little ones!

George and Molly sorting the character cards.

Play in a Box character card.

The handbook allows you to break down the different stages of a creating a play, starting with characters and settings, moving on to storyline, costume and stage setting. When we began our journey with our first play, the kiddies were pretty poorly, so it's been a case of dipping in and out of the box when we can and they feel up to it. 

This really works, because you can pick up where you left off and continue creating your play. You can also work on various parts of the process such as creating a programme for the show or you could practise your lines, depending on the mood your children are in. 

Play in a Box cast list.

 I really love all the ideas for creating costumes, as well as how to write a storyline that works with the various characters. 

George as an evil scientist.

George and Molly were so involved in their storyline and I can imagine this is the kind of activity that will keep everyone happy for hours. I can see them creating performances for us using Play in a Box and I doubt it could ever get boring because there's always a different character, place or plot twist. 

We're yet to perform our first play, mostly due to illness, but we're also still working on costumes and dialogue. Yes, George and Molly take it very seriously. I will share a video on youtube when we've performed our first performance with Play in a Box, so keep an eye out!

We really love our Play in a Box and I think it's the perfect gift for Christmas. It helps children explore their imagination, it helps them negotiate with their siblings/friends when it comes to decision making and it encourages confidence, performance skills and creativity.

You can get your own Play in a Box set for just £12.99 from The National Theatre or Amazon


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