Choosing a Historical Character

You’ll be ‘living’ with your historical character for the next 8-9 months, so choose a person (no longer alive) whom you admire, connect with, or are passionate about.  The most important factor in choosing which character to portray is whether you are genuinely interested in the character’s accomplishments, personality, and historical era.  Here are several other practical considerations:

How much information is available on your character? 

If you select a well-known historical figure you’ll likely find plenty of resources about his or her life.  However, there can be too much of a good thing!  For example, in the Boulder Public Library there are at least 40 books written by or about Winston Churchill.   If you choose someone very well known, you’ll want to focus your project on specific aspects of their life or accomplishments to limit the scope of your project.

Fewer details will be available about the life of an obscure or ancient historical figure.  If less is known about your character’s individual life, you may need to include more general information about the historical time period such as details about politics, inventions, beliefs,  lifestyles, etc.

Is your character worth remembering? 

Some historical figures may be exciting, interesting, and….. perhaps also unsavory!   Will learning about your character’s attributes and accomplishments enrich your life and the lives of your audience members?   Consider how your character stands up to the “Three guiding questions”:

  • Why should this character be remembered in history?
  • What hardships did he or she face and how were those hardships overcome?
  • How did different social, political and cultural views affect this character, and how did he or she affect those issues?

Fact versus Fiction…

Some characters are surrounded by myth or legends.  With any historical research you’ll need to work hard to separate facts from falsehoods, but if your character was surrounded by tall tales, your task will be more challenging.

Performance opportunities….

All of our students find several performance opportunities each spring. If having lots of performances is your goal, consider a character that might appeal to potential audiences.  For example, 20th century characters might be greatly appreciated by senior groups, while local characters may be marketable at area libraries or museums, or strong female characters could gain audiences with women’s organizations.

Explore the following sites to find a character that suits you:

or, do a Google search for your passion:

  • famous jugglers
  • amazing magicians
  • inspiring missionaries
  • daring horsewomen
  • innovative mathematicians
  • or……?!


  • Photo Gallery: Click on the photo to see more of our talented students in action!

    S. as Julius Caesar

    S. as Julius Caesar