Upcoming 2019 Workshops in L.A. & The Bay Area

UPCOMING SPOLIN THEATER GAME WORKSHOPS IN LOS ANGELES & THE BAY AREA

Explore the improvisational acting method of Viola Spolin to enhance your training as an actor, improviser, educator, writer, or director. Named “one of the most prominent acting techniques” by Backstage, Viola Spolin’s Theater Games release the intuition through focus, spontaneity, and play, opening up new avenues of expression and communication in your work and in your daily life.  

COMING SOON:

  • No Expectations Improvisation: Theater Games to Inspire Mindfulness and Communication, Saturday, Dec 1 in Los Angeles
  • Bay Area Weekend Intensive Jan 12 & 13, 2019
  • 8-Week Theater Game Workshop Starts Jan 15, 2019 in Los Angeles
  • Improvisation for Writers Starts January 10, 2019 in North Hollywood

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 workshops with sidecoach Aretha Sills, we’ll explore the groundbreaking exercises and theatrical concepts found in her seminal book Improvisation for the Theater, with an emphasis on the philosophies of legendary improvisation innovators Viola Spolin and Paul Sills, and on applying Spolin’s meditative methods to your work in any artistic discipline.

Learn more below…


No Expectations Improvisation: Theater Games to Inspire Mindfulness and Communication, Saturday Dec 1 in LA

Enter the holiday season refreshed and inspired!

In this three-hour workshop, we’ll explore the theater games and exercises that inspire theatrical improvisers to get out of the head and into the present time, but without any expectation of performing or being “on.” Our goal is to experience the many benefits of spontaneity and group play, with no pressure to create scenes or act. We’ll play a combination of meditative warm ups, sensory-awareness exercises, and traditional children’s games to release the intuition and open up new avenues of personal expression and communication.

No experience needed, just a willingness to play!

We’ll meet: Saturday, Dec 1st, from 2 to 5pm
Location:  Subud L.A., 5828 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tuition: $60. for new players, $50 for returning players. A few sliding-scale spots are still available. Tuition is refundable minus a $10 registration fee if you cancel by Nov 1.
Registration:  Email with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here


Bay Area Spolin Improvisation Intensive Jan 12 & 13, 2019

Designed to introduce the key principles of Viola Spolin’s revolutionary acting, directing, and teaching methods in two days, the weekend intensive will help players be more fully present onstage and off.  Beginners and experienced players are welcome.

We’ll meet: Saturday and Sunday, Jan 12 & 13, from 11am to 5pm each day, with an hour break for lunch at 2pm.
Location:  Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Ave, Studio B, Berkeley, CA 94702
Tuition: $250. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Payment plans ok. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 12.
Registration:  Email with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


8-Week Theater Game Workshop in Los Angeles Starts January 15, 2019

This workshop is open to beginners and experienced players. Actors, educators, directors, and improvisers learn through play how to incorporate Viola Spolin’s transformative techniques into their practice. The workshop will introduce players to the the key principles of Spolin’s revolutionary acting, directing, and teaching methods, and help them be more fully present onstage and off. 

We’ll meet: Tuesday Nights, Jan 15 – March 5, 2019, 7:30 – 10pm.
Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036. 
Tuition: $365.; Returning players rate is $330. A few sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 15.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Improvisation for Writers Starts January 10, 2019 in North Hollywood

“My vision is a world of accessible intuition.” -Viola Spolin

“If you haven’t surprised yourself, you haven’t written.” -Eudora Welty

This 8-week workshop is designed to jump start new written work in a playful and non-competitive environment. Writers will learn the fundamentals of scene improvisation and put them to work in their writing through in-class games and writing exercises. We’ll clear creative blocks by igniting an intuitive response, and allow ourselves the chance to see where it leads without judgment. The workshop will explore ways writers can access their intuition through play to bring a fresh spontaneity to all types of written work. Open to beginners and experienced writers and players. 

We’ll meet: Thursday Nights, Jan 10 – Feb 28, 2019. Please note: we will not meet on Valentine’s Day and the last class will be held on Wednesday, March 6. All classes meet from 7:30 – 10pm.
Location: 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
Tuition: $365.; Returning players rate is $330. A few sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 10.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Coming spring of 2019. Stay tuned for registration details:

  • Alumni Theater Game Workshop. We’ll meet for 8 Tuesday nights, March 12 – April 30, plus a workshop demonstration/performance for an invited audience on Saturday, May 4th. Mid-Wilshire location. Open to returning players only. Tuition is $380.
  • Improvisation to Develop a Solo or Ensemble Show. We’ll meet for seven Thursday nights, March 14 to April 25th, plus a final meeting on Saturday, April 27th, which will be a performance of our works-in-progress for an invited audience. NoHo location. Players will create and develop a monologue or personal story with the goal of beginning a longer piece. Teams of players who would like to develop an ensemble show are also encouraged to participate. All experience levels welcome. Tuition is $375 for new players and $340 for returning players.
  • Weekend Spolin Intensive in North Hollywood March 16 & 17th, 2019. Tuition is $265.

Sidecoach 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 for Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center, Bard College, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Stockholm International School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. She has worked with Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actors and has trained faculty from Northwestern, DePaul, Columbia College, The Second City, The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, LAUSD, CETA, and many other institutions and schools. She is the Associate Director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works and she directs The Predicament Players. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from UC Riverside where she also taught as a lecturer in creative writing. Her non-fiction, fiction, and poetry has been published in Los Angeles Review of Books, Qua, Calyx Journal, and South Bank Poetry Review.

To be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about private coaching or workshops for your school or group, please email. 

Quotes about the workshops:

“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, 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, actor & writers

“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 and chair, UNLV Department of Theatre, and executive director of the Nevada Conservatory Theatre

“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

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