Divide then group into groups of 4 with, if possible a mix of sexes. Tell them they need to come up with the script for a TV ad and give them each a product (or ask them to think of one) such as a new kind of washing machine, green vehicle or inflatable bicycle.
Ask them to work together on the script ensuring that there are 2 speaking parts, not 4 and when they have finished, make sure each member of each group of 4 has a copy of their group’s script written large and clear, to be visible from a distance of about a metre or so.
Now ask them to choose 2 ‘speakers’ and 2 ‘mimers’ if possible mixing the sexes so that 1 speaker and one mimer is male and the other female.
Then get them to rehearse so that the speakers are speaking the script and the mimers are miming the words with some actions for the TV of course. Males and females should be paired if you can do that, so a male mimer is working with a female speaker, for example.
When they are satisfied that they can get through the script without reading it word for word set up the last stage.
The first group of 4 should take their places with the mimers’ 2 chairs together facing the audience while the 2 speakers of that group sit either side of the mimers but with their backs to the audience. The speakers should be able to hold the scripts up so they can read it easily (2 copies, facing back to back) and the mimer can focus either on listening to the speaker and matching or, if necessary can also read parts of the script which the speaker holds up.
When they are ready, ask them to ‘do’ their ad and if you can video it, so much the better!
The result should be that the mimers appear to be speaking but the voice doesn’t match – it’s usually very funny and groups will need a few goes to get through it without collapsing on the floor!
This appear to be working all kinds of things and it is. Not least, it’s working on pronunciation but I’ll leave you to work out what else!