Shadow Tableaux

Create shadow tableaux in groups, capturing scenes and exploring relationships.

Me & My Shadow Photo: Matt Byrne

What is a Tableau?

A tableaux is a frozen moment created by performers, like a live photograph. Performers must stay very still in a tableau.


The plural for tableau is tableaux

Tableaux in Pairs

Using an overhead projector or projector create a light onto a blank white wall or screen. In pairs, students create a frozen picture (a tableau) in a situation that they will show as a shadow. Try the following scenes:


  • Two people playing tennis

  • Two ballet dancers

  • An owner and their pet dog

  • Two runners in a race

Tableaux in Groups

Have students form small groups of 3–6. Each group is to create four interrelated frozen poses that demonstrate the growth of a friendship between members of the group.


  • Tableau #1 is to represent the group meeting as strangers

  • Tableau # 2 is to represent the group getting to know each other

  • Tableau # 3 is to represent beginning to like each other

  • Tableau # 4 is to represent that the strangers are now friends

More activities to try

CD Rainbow Activity Make a magical rainbow on the wall using a CD
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Shadow Diorama Activity Create a shadow diorama and explore light and shadows.
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ZOOOM Character Activities Colour in ZOOOM alien characters, design your own alien and make your alien move!
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