Sills/Spolin Theater Works


Mission Statement

It is the responsibility of Sills/Spolin Theater Works to maintain the improvisational theater tradition of Paul Sills and Viola Spolin and to preserve and share their unique vision of American theater. This work includes bringing their approach to education and entertainment to the community through presenting Spolin theater game workshops, training in Sills’ story theater process, publishing of their writings and managing their respective archives. Sills/Spolin Theater Works is registered with Fractured Atlas, a fiscal sponsorship organization described below.

Carol Bleackley Sills, Director
Aretha Sills, Associate Director

Educators Scholarship Fund Drive

Please consider a contribution to our scholarship fund for educators who take our workshops to share the transformational work of Viola Spolin and Paul Sills in their schools and communities. Your gift allows us to offer scholarships to educators, social workers, or therapists who help others with Spolin improvisation and story theater. Your tax-deductible donation will bring play into more classrooms around the world. Learn more and donate here.


Sills/Spolin Theater Works educators are available to bring workshops in Theater Games and Story Theater to your school or organization. They also direct productions, offer teacher training, and speak to groups about Viola Spolin, Paul Sills, and the history of improvisational theater in America.

Contact Aretha Sills with inquiries.

Recent and Ongoing Projects

  • Preparation of Sills and Spolin writings for publication and for their respective archives. We hope to publish several volumes of Sills’ writings, anthologies of his shows, and Spolin and Sills’ correspondence, which requires the transcription of a vast amount of material before editing.
  • Keynote address and conversation with Alan Alda at the Applied Improvisation Network World Conference 2019, which was held at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. See video here.
  • Co-organizing A Tribute to Spolin & Sills at Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum on the UCI campus in June 2020. The event, hosted by Mark Larson, author of Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater, involved Sills/Spolin players, colleagues, and family members, and included the Chicago theater community, including the Department of Cultural Affairs. See video and photos here.
  • “Everybody Can Improvise: Theater Games with the Predicament Players,” a new show of Viola Spolin’s theater games for elementary-school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District, created and directed by Aretha Sills, presented by Enrichment Works, a non-profit organization which brings theater that inspires learning into Los Angeles schools. Learn more and see photos here
  • Teacher training sessions for LAUSD drama and dance teachers in 2018 and 2019
  • Outreach workshops for a variety of groups ages 4 – 84. We’ve recently offered workshops, community discussions, and events for: The Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum in Chicago; ChaiVillageLA, a community for older Jewish adults; Los Angeles Drama Club, the country’s youngest Shakespeare Troupe; and for children ages 4-12 in LAUSD’s YDP after-school program through Enrichment Works.
  • Maintaining studios in Wisconsin and workplace in Hollywood for ongoing archival work.
  • Ongoing improvisational Theater Game and Story Theater Workshops at Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center in Door County, WI, as well as in Los Angeles, New York, and around the country at schools and universities.
  • Editing of Viola Spolin’s updated Director’s Handbook, released by Northwestern University Press. Currently editing 4th edition of Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theater.
  • Advising curators of the Viola Spolin exhibit at Northwestern University Library. Delivering keynote lecture on the improvisational theater of Viola Spolin and Paul Sills. Coaching a Theater Game workshop for Northwestern students and staff.
  • Direction of Story Theater productions by Carol Sills at New Actor’s Workshop in New York, Central Methodist University in Missouri, and elsewhere around the country.
  • Delivery of keynote address at the 2015 California Educational Theatre Conference on the subject of Neva Boyd, Viola Spolin, Paul Sills and the emergence of American improvisational theater from the progressive education movement.
  • Adaptation of verses from Iceland’s Poetic Edda for a Story Theater production, Fish Creek, WI.
  • Direction of stories for New Jersey City Children’s Theater, with Kathy Hendrickson and faculty.

Lend your support

Sills/Spolin Theater Works is registered with Fractured Atlas, a non-profit fiscal sponsorship umbrella organization that serves a national community of artists and arts organizations. Donations are crucial to this ongoing work.

Your tax-deductible contribution may be made online Fractured Atlas, by mail or by phone.

To mail, send your check with instructions to Fractured Atlas, 248 W. 35th Street, 10th Floor, New York NY 10001. To speak with Fractured Atlas’ helpful staff, please call 888 692 7878.