Theater Game Workshop and Improvisation for Writers in L.A. Starting January, 2017!

violaspolin1930sViola Spolin’s theater games launched the modern American improvisational theater movement and changed the way acting is taught. Her work has influenced generations of actors, directors, and educators. Explore the transformational theater games of Viola Spolin to enhance your training as an actor, improviser, educator, director, or to experience more play in your daily life.

Upcoming Los Angeles workshops include a Theater Game Workshop open to all levels, and Improvisation for Writers, both starting in January, 2017.

Ten-Week Theater Game Workshop on Saturdays Starting January 14th

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

In this ten-week workshop we’ll explore the groundbreaking exercises and theatrical concepts found in Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theater. Open to beginners and experienced players, the workshop is designed to help players be present onstage and off.

We’ll meet Saturday afternoons, January 14 through March 18, 2017, 2:30 – 5pm.

Location: Subud, 5828 Wilshire Blvd.

Tuition: $365., or $340. for returning players. A few sliding-scale spots are available.

RegistrationEmail with questions or to register.

Improvisation for Writers on Wednesday Nights Starting January 11th

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

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

Theater games have many far-reaching creative benefits, but improvisation can be intimidating for non-actors. This workshop is designed to jumpstart new written work in a supportive 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.

Based on the work of Viola Spolin, author of Improvisation for the Theater and mother of the modern American improvisational theater movement, the workshop will explore ways writers can access their intuition through play to bring a fresh spontaneity to all types of written work.

This ten-week workshop is open to beginners and experienced writers and players.

We’ll meet Wednesday nights, Jan 11 – March 15, 2017, 7:30 to 10pm.

Location: 5828 Wilshire Blvd.

Tuition: $365., or $340. for returning players. A few sliding-scale spots are available.

RegistrationEmail 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 (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 recently nominated for an INNY Award for Best Improvisation Instructor and was the keynote speaker at the California Educational Theatre Association conference. She earned an MFA in creative writing from UC Riverside, where she’s also taught fiction workshops as a lecturer. Her non-fiction, poetry, and fiction appear in Los Angeles Review of Books, CALYX, South Bank Poetry Review, and Qua.

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

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