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

Suitcase of Stories After experiencing Spark: Once Upon a Jar, share the stories you have created.
Try It
ZOOOM Character Activities Colour in ZOOOM alien characters, design your own alien and make your alien move!
Try It
Galaxy Jar Create your own miniature galaxy in a jar.
Try It