Updated: Nov 9
Cast parties are an important opportunity to celebrate your actors and production team. It’s a time to express gratitude, highlight talent, and bond through fun. It’s crucial that your cast and crew feel valued, and entertaining cast parties are a way to foster loyalty. Here are some ways to make your cast party unforgettable.
Most actors never get tired of acting. Improv games are an excellent way to get everyone laughing while giving them experience improving. Here are some improv games to try:
This is an easy game for those who don’t have much exposure to improv. Pick two people for the first scene. Then, decide on a scenario in which the individuals must act out. Options could be two clowns at a children’s birthday party or two spies sneaking out of a retirement home. The actors must then act out the scene using only questions. If someone gets stumped or says something not in question form, they are out and replaced by the next actor.
This game was made famous by “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” One actor is the host and 3-4 people are the guests. Give the guests a strange quirk to act out at the party. The host must guess the quirks of the unusual party guests. Set a time limit for a scene, then rotate different actors into a new scene. Some party quirks might be:
--Arthur Weasley walking through Target.
--A plumber who is afraid of germs.
--A laid-off pirate looking for work.
--A DJ of only classical music.
This is another beginner-friendly improv game. Have your cast form a circle with two people in the middle. The people in the middle start a scene (whether on their own or you can assign one). Give them about one or two minutes to act it out, and then anyone in the circle can yell, “Freeze!” At that point, the people in the middle freeze, and the “freezer” taps one of the frozen characters. The one who was tapped leaves, and the freezer then takes on the exact physical position of the tapped-out person. Then, the freezer starts a new scene with a completely different storyline. This progression continues until everyone has had a turn in the middle.
When you’ve been in Renaissance tights and pinstripe suits all evening, partying in your PJs sounds luxurious. Have people bring their sleeping bags and pillows and put on a movie. Complement it with a popcorn bar, and you have the most relaxing end to your event.
While most everyone contributes to your dinner theater, certain people go above and beyond. They are dependable, passionate, and the glue of the entire production. Hosting an Oscars party allows you to award these people and give them a public thank-you. Some Oscars could include:
1) Most Reliable
2) Hardest Working
3) Most Encouraging
4) Best Team Spirit
5) Most Likely to Lend a Hand
Another option is to hold a Parody Oscars, where all the awards are humorous or inside jokes. A Parody Oscars adds to the entertainment and allows you to hand out awards to everyone. Some examples might be:
1) Most Likely to Usurp the King (if hosting a Madrigal Dinner).
2) Most Likely to be Arrested for Tax Evasion (if hosting a Jazz Dinner).
3) Best One-Liners Award
4) Most Likely to Miss Their Entrance
5) Whose Line Is It Anyway? Award
It’s nice to award everyone if possible so no one feels left out. But sometimes, productions are too big.
Joust for Fun
A medieval-themed night is only fitting if you are hosting a Madrigal Dinner. After all, you already have the costumes! Putting on a jousting tournament is an entertaining way to bring your cast together. Draw up a tournament bracket for the participants, and let the games begin! Prizes for the winning teams could include a bag of chocolate coins, foam swords/shields, or a knight’s cape.
Check out this website to learn how to make the rolling tubs for jousting, rules, and supplies.
Poker Cast Party Theme
If you are hosting a Jazz Dinner, there’s no better way to lean into the theme than to put on a poker tournament for your cast party. Using poker chips, pennies, or candy to bet, split the cast among several card tables and let the games begin! At select intervals, rotate players at each table so the entire cast can play with each other. After an hour and a half to two hours, close the games and let the players leave with their winnings!
If you are using poker chips, players may cash in for small prizes or sweets (for example, a Hershey’s bar is ten chips, and a tootsie roll is one chip). If playing with pennies or candy, people may leave with their winnings.
For those unfamiliar with poker, print out reference sheets for each table. For instance, this cheat sheet from Upswing Poker:
Why Have a Cast Party?
Presumably, your cast and crew are putting on this event for free. It is important to celebrate your volunteers and make them feel appreciated. Otherwise, they may not help you next time. People volunteer for the camaraderie, fun, and friendship. Cast parties are a fantastic way to foster all three, and if you do it right, you’ll have a loyal team for your dinner theaters.