Workshops in L.A., Bay Area, and Around the United States

“Through spontaneity we are re-formed into ourselves.”
-Viola Spolin


Explore the improvisational acting method of Viola Spolin to enhance your training as an actor, improviser, educator, writer, or director. Called “one of the most prominent acting techniques” by Backstage, Spolin’s Theater Games release the intuition through spontaneity and play, opening up new avenues of expression in your work and in your life. Side-coach Aretha Sills offers workshops regularly in Los Angeles, annually in Chicago and New York, and occasionally around the world. 


  • 10-Week Theater Game Workshop in Los Angeles Starts September 5th
  • Weekend Intensive in the Bay Area on November 11 & 12

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 we’ll explore the groundbreaking exercises and theatrical concepts found in Improvisation for the Theater. Workshops are open to beginners and experienced players and are designed to help players be present onstage and off. 

Email to be notified about upcoming workshops.

10-Week Theater Game Workshop Open To All Levels Starts Sept. 5th

In the 10-week workshop, actors, educators, directors, and improvisers learn (through play) how to incorporate Spolin’s transformative techniques into their practice. The workshop is open to all levels.

We’ll meet: Tuesday nights, Sept. 5 – Nov. 14, 2017, from 7:30 to 10pm. (No class Oct. 31.)

Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd.
Tuition: $400. for new players or $350. for returning players. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Tuition can be paid in up to 4 installments. A deposit of $150. is required to hold your space, with the remainder due at the first class. Deposit is refundable minus $50. if you cancel by August 5. I accept checks, PayPal, or Venmo.

Registration: Email with questions or to register.

Bay Area Spolin Theater Game Intensive Nov. 11 & 12

The intensive is an accelerated version of a 10-week introductory workshop and is open to all levels. Actors, educators directors, and improvisers learn (through play) how to incorporate Spolin’s transformative techniques into their practice.

We’ll meet: Saturday and Sunday, November 11th & 12th, from 10am to 4pm, with an hour lunch break at 1pm.

Location: Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Avenue (at Curtis), Berkeley, CA, 94702
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 October 11. I accept checks or PayPal. Please ask if you need a payment plan.

Registration: Email with questions or to register. 

 Aretha Sills is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin. She studied theater games for many years with her father, director Paul Sills, 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 was nominated for an INNY Award for Best Improvisation Instructor and was recently the keynote speaker at the 2015 California Educational Theatre Association conference. She also teaches Improvisation for Writers and directs The Predicament Players. Aretha offers workshops regularly in Los Angeles, annually in Chicago and New York, and occasionally around the world. To be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about workshops for your school or group, please email
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, 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

“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

“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 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

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