Commemorating Anzac through engaging learning

Drama Stage 3


Two men lift the front of a life-size puppet horse.

War horse puppet, War Horse stage show, Sydney, 2013

Students explore life-sized puppets and their movements in trailers of the stage show, War Horse. They explore the use of design, sound design, music and lighting in creating the dramatic elements of mood, tension and contrast. Students explore and perform their own stories about horses using simple puppetry.

Teaching and learning activities

Two men support a life-size puppet horse and another holds its head.

War horse puppet, War Horse stage show, Sydney, 2013

How can horses as war animals be dramatically represented?

Horses were used extensively throughout the First World War and were heavy relied upon by for logistical support. View images of their role from the Experiences tab.

War Horse is the story of a boy, a horse, a village and community and the universal suffering of that war. The story is told through the eyes of an animal.

Find out about the large horse puppets from the stage performance of War Horse:

  • Watch the trailer of the stage show.

  • Visit the Learning section. Explore the images and videos.

  • Watch some of the videos in the Puppetry section including the Puppetry Factory.

  • Watch the ‘Horses in War’ video on the World War 1 History tab.

  • View the images on the Design page. Using graphite pencils, fine tip pens or charcoal to draw windy fields of long grass. Watch the videos on design, sound design, music and lighting.

Ask students to explore and perform their own stories about horses using puppetry. Use crushed brown paper to create puppets and move them with hands.


War Horse—National Theatre

Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer

Horses used in the First World War (Walers)

Learning concepts

These additional questions can be used for discussion or further investigations.


What characteristics of horses were required in order to meet the challenges of the conditions of the First World War?

Horses used in the First World War (Walers)


Sandy was the only horse to return to Australia after the First World War. How did he spend his last years back home?

Sandy (Major General Sir William Bridges' horse)

Syllabus links

DRAS3.1 Develops a range of in-depth and sustained roles.

DRAS3.2 Interprets and conveys dramatic meaning by using the elements of drama and a range of movement and voice skills in a variety of drama forms.

DRAS3.4 Responds critically to a range of drama works and performance styles.