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.

Carol Bleackley Sills, Director
Aretha Sills, Associate Director

Paul Sills and Viola Spolin, 1974

Paul Sills and Viola Spolin, 1974


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 us with inquiries.

Recent and Ongoing Projects:

  • Ongoing performances of “Everybody Can Improvise: Theater Games with the Predicament Players,” a new show for elementary-school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District directed by Aretha Sills and presented by Enrichment Works, a non-profit organization which brings theater that inspires learning into Los Angeles schools.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • In late 2018, we launched a scholarship drive to allow more educators to take our workshops. Learn more here.

  • Participation in the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum symposium “Crafting Social Change: Participatory Arts at Hull House” in Chicago, in 2018.

  • Delivering presentations about Viola Spolin, Neva Boyd, Paul Sills, and the history of improvisational theater in the United States at symposiums and conferences around the country, including the Global Improvisation Initiative at University of California Irvine, for California Educational Theatre Association, and at The Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum.

  • Leading faculty trainings at LAUSD, CETA, and elsewhere. We have trained faculty from The Second City, Northwestern University, USC, DePaul Goodman, Columbia College, Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, Piven Theatre Workshop, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, UNLV, Stella Adler Studio (New York) and many other schools and universities.

  • Formation of a youth theater program in Los Angeles. To learn more, please visit here.

  • Maintaining studios for ongoing archival work.

  • Ongoing improvisational Theater Game and Story Theater Workshops in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, and around the country, as well as at Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center in Door County, WI.

  • 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.

scholarship fund drive!

We are establishing a 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. We hope you'll consider a tax-deductible donation to bring play into more classrooms around the world.

Educators play Spolin's theater games because they make learning deep, experiential, and fun.  We've worked with teachers, professors, social workers, and therapists who use theater games to help kids and adults with special needs, with refugees, immigrants, ESL and ELL students, with incarcerated adults and patients in hospitals. The educators who come to our workshops teach law, business, art, dance, science, and many other disciplines using theater games--even theater! Thank you for your contribution.

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. Funds donated through Fractured Atlas for Sills/Spolin Theater Works are crucial to this ongoing work.

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

To pay by check, make your check payable to Fractured Atlas and send it to us at: Sills/Spolin Theater Works, 17600 Hamlin Street, Lake Balboa, CA, 91406. We mail the check to Fractured Atlas.

To speak with Fractured Atlas’ helpful staff, please call 888-692-7878

Story and games bring out self rather than ego.
— Viola Spolin