While earning the Theater merit badge, Scouts will learn to appreciate live performances as members of the audience as well as go behind the footlights to see the view from the other side. Much more goes on in theater than ever meets the audience's eye.


  1. See or read three full-length plays or scripts. These can be from the stage, movies, television, or video. Write a review of each. Comment on the story, acting, and staging.
  2. Write a one-act play that will take at least eight minutes to perform. The play must have a main character, conflict, and a climax.
  3. Do THREE of the following:
    1. Act a major part in a full-length play; or, act a part in three one-act plays.
    2. Direct a play. Cast, rehearse, and stage it. The play must be at least 10 minutes long.
    3. Design the set for a play or a production of a circus. Make a model of it.
    4. Design the costumes for five characters in one play set in a time before 1900.
    5. Show skill in stage makeup. Make up yourself or a friend as an old man, a clown, an extraterrestrial, or a monster as directed.
    6. Help with the building of scenery for one full-length play or two one-act plays.
    7. Design the lighting for a play; or, under guidance, handle the lighting for a play.
  4. Mime or pantomime any ONE of the following, chosen by your counselor.
    1. You have come into a large room. It is full of pictures, furniture, and other things of interest.
    2. As you are getting on a bus, your books fall into a puddle. By the time you pick them up, the bus has driven off.
    3. You have failed a school test. You are talking with your teacher, who does not buy your story.
    4. You are at camp with a new Scout. You try to help him pass a cooking test. He learns very slowly.
    5. You are at a banquet. The meat is good. You don’t like the vegetable. The dessert is ice cream.
    6. You are a circus performer such as a juggler, high-wire artist, or lion tamer doing a routine.
  5. Explain the following: proscenium arch, central or arena staging, spotlight, floodlight, flies, center stage, stage right, stage left, stage brace, stage crew, cyclorama, portal, sound board.
  6. Do two short entertainment features that you could present either alone or with others for a troop meeting or campfire.


Scouting Literature

Art, Cinematography, Communications, Journalism, Model Design and Building, Painting, and Reading merit badge pamphlets.


  • Aitken, Maria. Style: Acting in High Comedy. Applause, 1996.
  • Bloom, Michael. Thinking Like a Director: A Practical Handbook. Faber & Faber, 2001.
  • Brown, John Russell, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre. Oxford Press, 2001.
  • Bruder, Melissa. A Practical Handbook for the Actor. Vintage Books, 1986.
  • Campbell, Drew. Technical Theater for Nontechnical People. Allworth Press, 1999.
  • Carter, Paul. The Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information, 3rd ed. Broadway Press, 1994.
  • Catron, Louis E. The Elements of Playwriting. Waveland Press, 2001.
  • Clurman, Harold. On Directing. Touchstone Books, 1997.
  • Cohen, Edward M. Working on a New Play. Limelight Editions, 1995.
  • Corson, Richard. Stage Makeup, 9th ed. Pearson Allyn & Bacon, 2000.
  • Covey, Liz, and Rosemary Ingham. The Costume Designer's Handbook, 2nd ed. Heinemann, 1992.
  • Fraser, Neil. Stage Lighting Explained. Crowood Press, 2002.
  • Gillette, J. Michael. Theatrical Design and Production: An Introduction to Scene Design and Construction, Lighting, Sound, Costume, and Makeup. McGraw-Hill, 1999.
  • Kipnis, Claude. The Mime Book. Meriwether Publishing, 1990.
  • Korty, Carol. Writing Your Own Plays: Creating, Adapting, Improvising. Players Press, 2000.
  • Novelly, Maria C. Theatre Games for Young Performers: Improvisations and Exercises for Developing Acting Skills. Meriwether Publishing, 1985.
  • Pecktal, Lynn. Designing and Drawing for the Theatre. McGraw-Hill, 1994.
  • Pennington, Lee. The Actor's Edge. Marble Falls Press, 1996.
  • Peterson, Lenka; Dan O'Connor, and Robert Coles. Kids Take the Stage: Helping Young People Discover the Creative Outlet of Theater. Back Stage Books, 1997.
  • Smith, Ronn, and Ming Cho Lee. American Set Design Two. Theatre Communications Group, 1991.
  • Swinfield, Rosemarie. Stage Makeup Step-By-Step. Betterway Publications, 1995.
  • Walters, Graham. Stage Lighting Step-by-Step: The Complete Guide on Setting the Stage With Light to Get Dramatic Results. Writer's Digest Books, 1997.
  • Yager, Fred, and Jan Yager. Career Opportunities in the Film Industry. Facts on File, 2003.