About brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

Christmas Carol Costumes

A few costumes to make The Christmas Carol for Kids play that much easier to perform.  Here are the links…

Marley’s chain

Top Hat

Bed sheet to make Marley’s Ghost – and don’t pay for that sheet, get it free here!

Vests – check with your local Goodwill or thrift store … finding vests with kids sizes is … Continue reading

Olivia Twisted – a twist on Twist

This post is about a fantastic twist on Twist for those wishing to do an all-female version of Oliver Twist for Kids!

Unfortunately, most plays are male-centric, with few female leads. There are some, such as Pride and Prejudice for Kids and Little Women for Kids (not yet released) that have more roles for females than males. And it is true, that females can play the male leads with no issues in most plays. But sometimes, this gets old. And you want something with more females than males.

So this is a great idea that came … Continue reading

“SHATNER!” Drama Improv Game

Shatner over reacting

Ok, this is a REALLY FUN improv drama game that your kids will LOVE! It’s called, SHATNER! (At least the adults of the kids will surely love it!) 🙂 (I did not think of this game, and due credit goes to where I heard of it from; the Facebook group, Homeschool Snark.)

We all know Captain Kirk from the old … Continue reading

EMPATHY – Part 8 of Why Drama is so Important in School

Part 8 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – EMPATHY

happy lover

EMPATHY defined: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Empathy is something that we as parents and educators try to instill in our kids from a very early age. Understanding what another person is going through … Continue reading

Create a Performance Playbill

This is a short post about an activity you can do with your kids as you get ready for the show.  As many of us directors know, there are an endless number of things you can do to prepare for the performance.  IN NO WAY, am I suggesting that you need to do a lot of things to have a successful performance.  ( I typically … Continue reading

Creative Performance Ideas

This is a quick post about a couple ideas that are awesome, and all credit goes to an amazing homeschool mom, Amy.

Recently Amy directed her small homeschool co-op in one of our plays, The Tempest for Kids. In doing so, she decided to perform it in their backyard, inspired by our own Backyard Shakespeare. That being said, she quickly renamed it, … Continue reading

Memes and Shakespeare – Class Project

shakespeare meme

First of all, this was not my idea! But, it’s a brilliant way to engage your kids with Shakespeare, especially high schoolers! All credit goes to Larry Reiff (@Mrreiff) – as he says, “All the world’s an e-stage”! Love it!

Now, onto the great idea… Shakespeare analyzed via memes.  I know this is not traditional, but hey, we are about engaging our kids with the wonderful language and stories of Shakespeare any way possible, and this is PERFECT!

So simply, he has the kids analyze a scene and then find photos and memes that go with specific phrases.  See examples below. … Continue reading

Did Doctor Who write Shakespeare?

I know that question is a bit ridiculous. This is more about an episode of Doctor Who I watched where Shakespeare was the focal point of their adventure. It was quite cleverly written and I found it very interesting. The premise of the story was around Shakespeare’s missing play, Loves Labors Won, and the story behind it.

Now, there is no truth to … Continue reading

Environment is King for Drama

I was talking with a mom earlier this morning, and she said something very interesting. She said that her daughter loves my drama classes, and talks about me frequently when it comes to drama. Although I’m glad I inspire the kids, it’s not the point of this story. What is interesting is she followed up with a different comment, one that puts the previous … Continue reading

Character Line Quantities for Playing With Play Books

Over the years, I have taught EVERY single one of our plays, most of them multiple times, and some of them at least 20 times…. (Hamlet, Midsummer, R&J, Caesar, Macbeth…). But, one of the best tools for me to use is the Character Line Quantities spreadsheet to help me with casting.

A teacher asked me recently, “why don’t you share that?” Which I gladly did. But it hit me, why don’t I share this with EVERYONE?

There’s nothing like casting a play. Trying to figure out dynamics of who can synergize with who; what characters will pull the … Continue reading