Scenes for Young Actors | Free Material for Teen Performers

Scenes for Young Actors

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Speaking as a teacher of young actors, I know how ridiculously hard it can be to find good material for them to learn and perform in drama classes. You know what you’re looking for—at the very least, you’ll know it when you see it! But finding scenes for young actors often finds you scrolling through typo-ridden film and tv transcripts online, butting up against subscription paywalls, or hitting up that dusty shelf in your drama classroom for a dog-eared copy of The Real Inspector Hound (no shade to Mr. Stoppard.)

This article contains a list of free, original practice scenes for young actors. These scenes sit across the comedy and drama genres, and would be perfect for teenage actors in drama classes. They carry some age guidelines and content warnings, but may be useful for groups beyond these classifications based on the skill level and maturity of your pupils. These scenes for young actors would be ideal for scene study, script analysis or even for use in a showcase.

One last thing: as with all of our free script resources on StageMilk (listed at the bottom of this article), this page will be updated periodically with fresh material. So keep checking in for new scripts on the regular!

Copyright-Free Scripts

Now, with the above gripe around finding free material out of the way, I’m going to step out of teacher role and into that of a playwright. The reason it’s hard to find copyright-free scripts is because writing is hard and it’s not worth nothin’. It takes a great deal of effort and consideration from a writer, only to see it used for free with little consideration as to their long-term wellbeing.

One of the reasons StageMilk is eager to provide this resource is to support drama teachers—to whom all of us in this industry owe our livelihoods and passions. But let us take this opportunity to say when it comes to written material for classes: pay it forward when you can. Buy the playwright’s work online if you can, talk to your HOD about investing in local material or patronising a nearby theatre company.

Practice Scenes for Young Actors

These scripts utilise StageMilk’s in-house formatting style, which is designed to make the scripts easy to read. Unlike a screenplay, which is decked out with all sorts of visual information, there is relatively little on the page for actors to draw from. Have your students pay close attention to the stage directions, but encourage them to imagine the world and the blocking of the scene beyond that.

The same can be said for character. With the information on the page as a starting point, what can students learn about these characters? How can they build them up and bring them to life? Most importantly, what do these characters want? Either as a preceding exercise, or something you utilise with one of these scripts when working in a class, we recommend exploring our article on script analysis with your pupils.

NB: While names and genders are specified in these scripts, we would greatly encourage yourself and your students to look past these and select material that they find themselves drawn to. Names and pronouns can be changed to reflect the best casting available. In fact, they most certainly should be!

A Deadly Dare

Age Range: 12 – 18
Genre: Comedy
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Two friends egg each other on to complete a dare.

Performance Notes: Find the stakes of this scene. Just because it’s comedy doesn’t mean that the feeling of whether or not Derren and Gus complete the dare shouldn’t feel like a life or death undertaking! Also, while it is mentioned above, this is a perfect comedy scene to gender swap to non-male-identifying characters. Have fun!

The Letter

Age Range: 12 – 15
Genre: Drama
Length: 2 mins
Synopsis: Sam confronts Ash over a discovery made during the school day.

Performance Notes: This is a tough encounter for both of these characters. Think on their ‘moment before’—the thing that has happened to them that has led them to this scene, this particular moment. Also consider the staging: how can you use the proximity and body language of these characters to suggest how they feel?

Final Cut

Age Range: 12 – 16
Genre: Drama
Length: 2 – 3 mins
Synopsis: Two friends clash over a creative project.

Performance Notes: Pay attention to the subtext in this scene. What’s this interaction really about? Is it about making movies? Or is it about growing up and growing apart? Final Cut is another great example of the ‘moment before’. How long have they been filming for? Are they tired, angry, frustrated? The more reality you can bring to the beginning of this moment, the more truthful it will feel when the characters begin to clash.

The Spontaneous Hand-Hold

Age Range: 14 – 17
Genre: Comedy
Length: 2 – 3 mins
Synopsis: Tonye commiserates with best friend Emily over a terrible first date.

Performance Notes: Take the time to work on rhythm and pace in this piece. Emily and Tonye are very close, and are expert communicators with one another, so pick a quick tone that allows for some meaningful pauses to occur. For Tonye’s retelling of the date, engage with the concept of imagery: try to paint the picture for Emily (and therefore the audience) about how the date was, as well as how these images make Tonye feel. Finally, spend some time on the ending. What does it mean? How do these characters really feel about one another? And does this modify the scene in any interesting or significant ways?

Take the Rap

Age Range: 15 – 17
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Length: 3 – 4 mins
Synopsis: Bella and Hunt wait outside the vice principal’s office for punishment. (Note: some coarse language.)

Performance Notes: Find some distinction between these characters—how they act and speak and carry themselves. However, beware that you don’t play into stereotypes for either character; this is a scene that relies on the actor successfully subverting that first image. The writer doesn’t give us a lot to go off for why these characters are there. Can you come up with something that fits and justifies the actions and behaviour of Bella? Spend some time fleshing out the shared history of these characters and what the larger context of the story might be.

Additional Resources

So there you have it: fresh scenes for young actors ready to be pulled apart and put on stage! If you’re looking for more material for students, there are a few other pages below that might be helpful. Please be aware that not all material will be suitable for younger ages.

  • Practice Scripts for Actors is our largest resource for original material at StageMilk. It contains scenes formatted for both stage and film scripts, with a scene breakdown on each. This page also contains some A/B Scenes that are perfect for foundational acting classes.
  • Practice Monologues for Actors is similar to the above page, but contains original monologues.
  • Short Monologues for Actors are monologues that clock in under a minute, perfect for audition pieces.
  • Scenes for Three Actors does exactly what it says on the box. These scenes are perfect for larger classes and drama school showcases.

About the Author

Alexander Lee-Rekers

Alexander Lee-Rekers is a Sydney-based writer, director and educator. He graduated from NIDA in 2017 with a Masters in Writing for Performance, and his career across theatre and television has seen him tackling projects as diverse as musical theatre, Shakespeare and Disney. He is the co-founder of theatre company Ratcatch (The Van De Maar Papers, The Linden Solution) and co-director of Bondi Kids Drama, a boutique drama school offering classes to young people in the Eastern Suburbs. Alexander is drawn to themes of family, ambition, failure and legacy: how human nature can flit with ease between compassion and cruelty. He also likes Celtic fiddle, mac & cheese and cats.

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