Elements of Drama: Rhythm

Things have been a little slow around here for a while, so it’s time to jazz this blog up with some new content!

This is the first in a series of posts about the elements of drama. These elements are essential to all effective theatre performances, from the multi-million dollar spectacular to the classroom skit with a table, a chair and two rostrum blocks.

In recent weeks I have been workshopping various “dramatic elements” with my Year 11 Drama students, who, at the end of each workshop, discuss and record their findings … the first of which is in this post. Their discoveries, however, are just as relevant for a junior or middle school Drama class because the elements of drama are universal … crossing all cultures, skill levels and age groups.

My definition of rhythm:

Rhythm refers to the timing and pace of the drama.  It also means the beat or tempo of the performance.  As a rule, rhythm should never be the same throughout the drama, regardless of its length.  Rhythm can follow the emotional state of one or more characters or the atmosphere of the performance at particular moments.

Examples of Rhythm

  • rhythm in exchanges of dialogue between characters
  • rhythm in the walk of a character
  • rhythm in the reactions of characters to events in the drama
  • rhythm in the speech of a character
  • rhythm in the repetition of words and phrases
  • rhythm in stylised or synchronised character movements
  • rhythm in the changes of pace in scenes
  • rhythm in non-vocal sound made by an actor

15 Responses

  1. Subhash Rawat says:

    it is rare to find something on rhythm in theatre. thank you for your post.

  2. Sara says:

    Thank you for this! It helped me and my friend so much- we are doing a presentation in our English class about Aristotle’s element of rhythm. This helped a lot, more so because we couldn’t really find any other helpful source.

    Thanks again!

  3. Humanity Wisdom says:

    nice and educative post

  4. nimit says:

    Thank you very much sir. it helped a lot

  5. michal says:

    can you please recommend a Bibliography about that subject?

  6. Henry says:

    Pls tell me about drama creativity

  7. claire ann caballeda says:

    well, thank you for this easy to understand outlines. . .

  8. Ms M says:

    Hi Justin,
    Thank you (and your senior students!) for these easy to use and understand guides.
    I am in my first year of teaching ( and have been having some difficulty getting my Year Ten Drama students enthused about Drama. Your explanations and ideas should come in handy when we return next week!

  9. admin says:

    That’s fantastic news Leiah! Blogs are such an awesome tool and their use in education (by both educators and students) is really taking off now. Although blogging has been around for some years, people in education circles are just starting to realise the potential of blogging. I know my current Year 12 Drama students are, at their own admission, “addicted”!


  10. Leiah says:

    This is great stuff Justin, you have inspired me to start my own blog with my students, it has proven to be really successful and i am now perpetuating throughout the staffroom, teachers are really getting into it!

  11. Cashy says:

    No worries Mary! Happy to help out.

  12. Mary Thornhill says:

    Thanks again Justin for your time, enthusiasm and advice! Fabulous work and we’re looking forward to getting up to speed!

  13. Josh Janssen says:

    Nice, easy to understand examples! I wish I knew about this blog when I was doing VCE Drama!

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