5 Steps to Create a Theater Play at Home

Smiling child wearing a homemade theater costume peeks through lavender stage curtains.

Let’s put on a show!

Creating a theater play at home might seem like an impossible task, especially for the uninitiated stage parent. But rest assured that you absolutely can help guide your child through making their own play, regardless of your experience.

Our 5-step guide shows you how to harness the power of pretend play for a magical all-day theater activity your imaginative kiddo will love! Lights up!

kids setting up play
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Stage Set-up

First, you’ll need to help your kids choose a place for their stage. This space can be indoors or outdoors – it’s really up to you! Backyards, playrooms, garages, family rooms, and basements all work equally well for putting on a play at home. Whichever location you choose, it doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need an area that’s okay to decorate (see Step 2!) and has enough room to accommodate the performers and perhaps a small audience. Have the kiddos decide where the audience should sit and where the actors should perform. If the space allows, consider hanging some bed-sheet curtains on a tension rod and adding string lights to highlight the stage area. Et voila! You have a stage for your theater play!

Theatre Play
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Inspiration & Set Decoration

The next step lets you create two crucial theatrical elements simultaneously: the story and the set. We have free audio plays available through Spotify that include a complete adventure with narration, defined characters, and movement instructions. You and your kiddos may want to use one of those for your theater play, or you may choose to create a wholly original story. Other sources of inspiration could be your kids’ favorite books, songs, movies, or their raw imagination.

As you discuss and make decisions about the story, children can decorate the set. Set decorations might include drawings of story locations, craft projects, stuffed animals, house plants, or other items that help set the scene. If you’re using one of our audio plays or another source of inspiration, listen to it while decorating the set. That will help your kids get familiar with the story, spark some creative set decoration ideas, and encourage them to choose which character they’d like to portray.

Theatre Play
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Character, Prop & Costume Design

Now it’s time to really ramp up the creativity for your theater play! Once each kiddo has chosen their character, they get to decide every detail about that character. Their name and personality, what they look like, how they dress, speak, and move. Kids can use household objects and art supplies to create props for the play, like magic wands and swords. Dip into the dress-up trunk or the back of the closet for interesting costume pieces. Anything goes in the theater!

Theatre Play
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Rehersal

The stage, set, story, characters, and costumes are complete. Now it’s time to bring the whole theater play together at rehearsal! Run through the story from the top several times to ensure everyone is comfortable with their roles. Stop and start again if you need to. Will someone welcome the audience to the theater before the play begins? Will the performers take a bow after the show? Is someone turning any lights on or moving any set pieces during the performance? Rehearse those moments, too!

Theatre Play
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Invite your audience

Even a theater play at home needs an audience, so you’d better invite one! Guests might be friends, family, neighbors, or your child’s favorite stuffies. They might attend in person or virtually – whatever works best for you. Decide when your performance will take place. Have kids make tickets to the play and reach out to those they want in the audience. Before you know it, it’s time for the show. Get ready for the applause!

Congratulations! You created and performed a Theater play at home!

You’ll repeat this activity time and time again, and the outcome will never be the same. Your child’s imagination will grow, and their confidence will develop with each play; as a parent, so will yours! And, check out our Theater in a Box kits if you’re ready to plan your next at-home play. We’ll send helpful theatrical advice and creative tools right to your door. Happy theater-making!

The Rabbit Hole Theater Products

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Mary Eriette Atanante

Teacher and Characters

  • Favorite Character:  Sabirel
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Camelot

Mary has been a teacher at The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater for the last four years. You can find her teaching a class, creating activity books, dressing up and performing for kids or jamming at a birthday party! 

A recent graduate from San Francisco State University studying Theater and Communications,  Mary  loves to help children unlock their imaginations and motivate them to create the wonderful ideas in their mind!

Chelsey Mony

Teacher

  • Favorite Character:  Alice 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Wonderland

Chelsey is an actress, dancer, improviser and has an exuberant passion for musical theater. Her love of theater began when she was a little girl.

When she is not helping those in need, she found joy in performing in a community theater group in Las Vegas- having starred in multiple shows for the past 5 years.

Chelsey  moved to the Bay Area in 2019, and  joined the Rabbit Hole team. Her love of theater and wonder will be an excellent asset to the team as she encourages children to find their own unique love of theater and wonder.

Creating a safe space for children to exercise their imagination and creativity is her mission in this work.

Melania 'Mel' Rivas

Head of Product Development

  • Favorite Character:  Sailor Moon 
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying
  • Favorite storybook land: Neverland

Mel is an eclectic, curious and creative individual who has learned and experimented with many different arts & crafts forms since she was a little kid.

Fascinated by the healing power of art and its ability to express our inner worlds, she has pursued and completed studies in art, early childhood education and psychology.

Mel has taught bilingual exploratory art to children during the last 5 years and now she makes use of her passion for creativity and children’s education to bring The Rabbit Hole Children’s Theater ideas to life for kids all over the world to enjoy!

Strider Patton

Project management

  • Favorite Character:  Wizard Merlin
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Invisibility
  • Favorite storybook land: Middle Earth

Strider Patton is founder and director, Brooke’s husband, and partner in The Rabbit Hole. A third-generation self-taught artist, Strider grew up appreciating and making art.

He is a professional contemporary visual artist himself, specializing in sculpture, murals, and studio art. When he is not in his studio or on an installation, he is working with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. Building sets, designing products, creative planning, and the occasional puppet show keep Strider involved with the company from many angles.

He has worked with youth and communities since he was young, valuing the role that creative expression plays in communities and individual lives.

Ariella Cooley

Head Creator.Sound Designer.Teacher

  • Favorite Character: Pirate
  • Favorite Magic Powers: Flower Power
  • Favorite storybook land: Narnia

Ariella Cooley has been teaching and creating at The Rabbit Hole since 2017. As a lead teacher, she uses theater games, song, dance, masks, puppetry, and crafts to tell stories with the kiddos in her class.

As sound designer, she pulls from her classroom experience to make the Rabbit Hole Queendom come to life aurally. Crafting whimsical underscores, creating kooky sound effects, and finding expressive character voices make her tasks endlessly enjoyable!

Ariella earned her B.A in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz, focusing primarily on acting and directing. Her work as a vocalist and songwriter inspired her expansion to audio production and theatrical sound design.

At Rabbit Hole, she is able to tap into all of these artistic loves and fold them into her work with children.

Meryl Theo Press

Head Creator.Illustrator.Teacher

    • Favorite Character: A drowsy cat with a cupcake farm  
    • Favorite Magic Powers: Flying 
    • Favorite storybook land: Narnia not under the white witch’s rule

    Meryl Theo Press has an affinity for play. She brings humor, music, visual art, and empathy to her work with the Crew at The Rabbit Hole. With these tools, she enjoys creating magical worlds for kids to inhabit, in order to stimulate their imaginations, encourage self-expression, and nourish joy.

    In the classroom, her focus is on “seeing” the child. In her illustrations, Meryl appreciates detail and seeks a thread of storytelling. In summoning voices for The Rabbit Hole’s audio plays, she digs deep and scoops out the absurd characters within. She uses her longtime love of singing to bring musical elements to Rabbit Hole classes and productions.

    Meryl studied printmaking and painting at California College of the Arts and has performed with various bands in San Francisco, the United States, and Europe. She has been a part of The Rabbit Hole since 2016. Meryl’s 9-year-old daughter Vida is her most treasured and valuable collaborator.