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 SPRING & SUMMER OF 2018:
- New York City Spolin Improvisation Intensive April 21 & 22 (WAIT LIST ONLY)
- Exploring "The Where" Workshop for IRTE in NYC April 24th
- Chicago Weekend Intensive May 19 & 20 (WAIT LIST ONLY)
- Ten-Week Workshop in Los Angeles Open to All Levels Starts May 1
- Bay Area Weekend Intensive June 2 & 3
- First-ever 5-Day Summer Intensive in Los Angeles July 23-27
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...
New York City Spolin Weekend Intensive Workshop April 21 & 22
The NYC Intensive is sold out. For a spot on the waiting list, or to be notified about our upcoming fall NYC intensive, please email.
New! Workshop for IRTE in Manhattan: Exploring "the Where" in Improvisation to Create Connections Between Players
Taking time to build a “Where" and enter into it helps players into the present moment and into true relation. We’ll discover the riches the environment has to offer as we slow down and explore it. Through warm-ups and scene games, players will work with space objects to create onstage environments and allow intuitive connections to emerge.
We'll meet: April 24th, 2018, 7-10pm.
Location: Theatre Row Studios, 410 W 42nd St, New York, NY
Tuition: $55 until 4/15, then $65.
More details and registration info: here.
Chicago Weekend Intensive May 19 & 20
The Chicago Intensive is sold out. For a spot on the waiting list, or to be notified about upcoming workshops, please email.
The weekend intensive is an accelerated version of a longer introductory workshop. Actors, educators, directors, and improvisers learn through play how to incorporate Viola Spolin’s transformative techniques into their practice. Workshops are open to beginners and experienced players. The intensive will introduce players to the the key principles of Spolin’s acting, directing, and teaching methods, and help you be more fully present onstage and off.
We’ll meet: Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, 2018, from 10am to 4pm, with an hour meal break at 1pm.
Location: Foxhole Creative, 2444 W Montrose Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60618
Tuition: $250. I accept checks, Venmo, and PayPal. PayPal tuition is $258. I am open to payment plans.
Refund Policy: Tuition is refundable minus $50. if you cancel by April 19.
Registration: Email me with questions or for a placed on the waitlist.
Ten-Week Workshop in Los Angeles Starts May 1
The 10-week 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, May 1 – July 10, 2018, 7:30 – 10pm. Please note, we will not meet on May 22nd.
Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036.
Tuition: $400. Returning players rate is $360. I accept checks, Venmo, and PayPal. A deposit of $200 is requested to reserve your space with the remainder due by the first class. A few sliding scale spaces are available, and I am open to payment plans. Tuition is refundable minus $50 if you cancel by April 1.
New! Bay Area Weekend Intensive June 2 & 3
The intensive is open to beginners and experienced players and will introduce players to the the key principles of Spolin's acting, directing, and teaching methods.
We'll meet: Saturday and Sunday, June 2 & 3, 2018,
from 10am to 4pm, with an hour lunch break at 1pm.
Location: Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA, 94702
Tuition: $250. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Payment plans ok.
Registration: Email with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here. I will reply with payment instructions.
First Ever 5-Day Summer Intensive in Los Angeles
A complete ten-week introductory class in five days! Actors, educators, directors, and improvisers learn through play how to incorporate Viola Spolin’s transformative techniques into their practice. Workshops are open to beginners and experienced players. The 5-day intensive 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: Monday July 23rd through Friday July 27th, from 10am to 4pm. We’ll take an hour meal break at 1pm each day.
Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036.
Workshop meets in the heart of the Miracle Mile/Mid Wilshire district of Los Angeles, right on Museum Row. Our location is steps away from LACMA, the Peterson Automotive Museum, and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum, and within short walking distance of many restaurants and other local attractions.
Tuition: $450. Returning players rate is $400. I accept checks, Venmo, and PayPal. A few sliding scale spaces are available, and I am open to payment plans. Email to discuss first. Tuition is refundable minus $50 if you cancel in writing by May 23.
Lodging and travel: Players find their own lodging, but I can put out-of-town visitors in contact with each other to discuss sharing car rentals or lodging, etc. Feel free to email me with any travel questions.
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 the keynote speaker at the 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 private coaching or workshops for your school or group, please email email@example.com.
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
“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 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
To be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about workshops for your school or group, please email.
Learn about our new youth theater workshops in Los Angeles here.