Explore the improvisational acting method of Viola Spolin to enhance your training as an actor, improviser, educator, director, or to experience more
play in your daily life.
Coming this spring:
Weekend intensives in
Los Angeles, New York,
"Through spontaneity we are re-formed into ourselves."
Viola Spolin’s Theater Games launched the American improvisational theater movement and changed the way acting is taught. Her work has influenced generations
of actors and educators.
In the weekend workshops we'll explore the groundbreaking exercises and theatrical concepts found in Spolin's Improvisation for the Theater. Open to beginners and experienced players, the intensives are designed to help players be present onstage and off.
Weekend Intensive in Los Angeles, March 25th and 26th
We'll meet Saturday and Sunday, March 25th and 26th,
from 11am - 5pm, with an hour meal break at 2pm.
Location: Open Space L.A. Theater, 457 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA
Tuition: $250. A few sliding scale spots are available. Full tuition is required to hold your space, which is refundable (minus a $50 deposit) if you cancel by February 25th. I accept checks or PayPal.
Registration: Email mewith questions or to register for the L.A. Intensive.
Weekend Intensive in New York, April 22nd and 23rd
We'll meet Saturday and Sunday, April 22nd and 23rd,
from 2pm - 8pm, with an hour meal break at 5pm.
Location: The Thalia Studio at Peter Norton Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY (at 95th Street)
Tuition: $250. A few sliding scale spots are available. Full tuition is required to hold your space, which is refundable (minus a $50 deposit) if you cancel by March 22nd. I accept checks or PayPal.
Registration: Email me with questions or to register for the New York Intensive.
Weekend Intensive in Chicago, May 20th and and 21st
We'll meet Saturday and Sunday, May 20th and 21st, from 10am - 4pm, with an hour lunch break at 1pm.
Location: Theater Wit Lab, 1224 West Belmont, Chicago (note: this the rehearsal space located across the street from Theater Wit)
Tuition: $250. A few sliding scale spots are available. Full tuition is required to hold your space, which is refundable (minus a $50 deposit) if you cancel by April 20th. I accept checks or PayPal.
Registration: Email me with questions or to register for the Chicago Intensive.
Aretha Sills is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin.
She studied theater games for many years with her father, director Paul Sills (creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater), and has conducted workshops at Paul Sills' Wisconsin Theater Game Center, Bard College, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. She is the Associate Director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works. Aretha was nominated
for an INNY Award for Best Improvisation Instructor and was the keynote speaker at the California Educational Theatre Association conference.
Quotes about the workshop:
"Aretha is dedicated to preserving the pureness of this technique, which from my point of view assists the actor to find the courage to find themself and then to fly. I believe she has, innately and amazingly, all the elements of the technique of both Viola Spolin and Viola's son, the extraordinary director, Paul Sills. I have studied with Aretha, and believe me, the thrill lives on." -Paul Sand, Tony-award winner for Paul Sills' Story Theater; original Second City cast member
"Aretha Sills, carrying on the work of Spolin and Sills, is an amazing, insightful side-coach and teacher. We were fortunate enough to take a workshop in L.A. with her and it helped us reconnect with theater game work on a deeper level. She knows her stuff. Can't wait to work with her again!" -Deb Lacusta & Dan Castellaneta, The Simpsons, writers/ actor
“As an educator and instructor of acting and directing, I was eager to learn about the American theater improvisation developed by Viola Spolin and expounded by Paul Sills. Aretha Sills provides an insight into the authentic roots of the system that has been utilized for years by theatre training programs. The workshop will provide you with an excellent opportunity to explore various games and exercises to enrich your view of performance and acting.” -Norma Saldivar, Professor of Theatre Directing and Founding Executive Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arts Institute
"Aretha makes it safe to go where you need to go. Her ability to side coach you into your best work is truly one of the best theatre experiences I have ever had. Go. Learn. Be inspired. This is the real deal." -Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein, pres., Noble House Entertainment, and founder, The Open Space
"If you are an aspiring actor who is really really really funny and you like to stand in one place running your big mouth and interrupting your friend who is only really funny, then you should take this workshop to cure you of that." -Brian Hamill, Mob Rule Inc. Senior Improvisation Workshop
"Aretha is one of the century's best improvisation teachers. Like her grandmother before her, she understands people, theater, and improvisation in an intuitive and deep way. As someone who has studied with some of the top teachers in the country and has performed for over 15 years, I can honestly say Aretha's work opened my eyes. I understood improv on a deeper level. I was refreshed and returned to beginner’s mind." -David Alger, founder Pan Theater
Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium
I'll be speaking at the Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium hosted by UC Irvine and Chapman University in Orange County on May 12-13. Registration opens in March. Learn more here.
Help Us Publish Paul Sills' Writings
It's time for our annual fund drive! Sills/Spolin Theater Works is fundraising to prepare Paul Sills' written works for publication. The first step is the transcription of his writings and papers, a huge undertaking. If you're able, please consider making a tax-deductible donation via our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas at this link. Thanks so much.
Theater Games for Kids!
Sills/Spolin Theater Works is launching a new youth theater program in L.A. and Chicago. I'll be offering workshops in L.A. for ages seven and up. Learn more and sign up to be notified about workshops here.
I can bring workshops to your school or group. I also offer teacher training and speak to groups about Viola Spolin, Paul Sills, and the history of improvisational theater in America. Email me with inquiries.
Sills/Spolin Theater Works is on Facebook
We post news, information, lots of wonderful archival photos and more on our Facebook page. Please visit and "like" our page if you'd like to keep up to date on workshop info and more.