Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become stageworthy.
— Viola Spolin

Workshops/outreach

UPCOMING SPOLIN THEATER GAME WORKSHOPS IN LOS ANGELES & THE BAY AREA

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 SOON:

  • Bay Area Weekend Intensive Jan 12 & 13, 2019

  • 8-Week Theater Game Workshop Starts Jan 15, 2019 in Los Angeles

  • Improvisation for Writers Starts January 10, 2019 in North Hollywood

  • 9-Week Alumni Theater Game Workshop Starts March 12 in Los Angeles

  • Improvisation to Develop a Solo or Ensemble Show Starts March 14th in North Hollywood

  • Weekend Spolin Intensive in North Hollywood March 16 & 17th, 2019

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…


Bay Area Spolin Improvisation Intensive Jan 12 & 13, 2019

Designed to introduce the key principles of Viola Spolin’s revolutionary acting, directing, and teaching methods in two days, the weekend intensive will help players be more fully present onstage and off.  Beginners and experienced players are welcome.

We’ll meet: Saturday and Sunday, Jan 12 & 13, from 11am to 5pm each day, with an hour break for lunch at 2pm.
Location:  Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Ave, Studio B, Berkeley, CA 94702
Tuition: $250. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Payment plans ok. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 12.
Registration:  Email with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


8-Week Theater Game Workshop in Los Angeles Starts January 15, 2019

This 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, Jan 15 - March 5, 2019, 7:30 - 10pm.
Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036. 
Tuition: $365.; Returning players rate is $330. A few sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 15.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Improvisation for Writers Starts January 10, 2019 in North Hollywood

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

"If you haven't surprised yourself, you haven't written." -Eudora Welty

This 8-week workshop is designed to jump start new written work in a playful 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. The workshop will explore ways writers can access their intuition through play to bring a fresh spontaneity to all types of written work. Open to beginners and experienced writers and players. 

"Improvisation for Writers was the first workshop I took with Aretha Sills. Combining traditional and theatrical games, it was clear how this approach fits well with writers. The side-coached free writes, based on the focus of the theater games, gave my writing three dimensionality and a rich environment to find new characters, plot points, conflicts and complex story arcs. Getting out of the head and into the physical is life-changing for a writer. I have gone on to take many more improvisational theater workshops with Aretha, because it benefits my writing (especially with well developed, living-breathing characters), my overall creativity, and my personal well-being."  --Valerie Brockbank, screenwriter/ fiction writer

We'll meet: Thursday Nights, Jan 10 - Feb 28, 2019. Please note: we will not meet on Valentine's Day and the last class will be held on Wednesday, March 6. All classes meet from 7:30 - 10pm.
Location: 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
Tuition: $365. or $330 for returning players. A few sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by Dec 10.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


9-Week Alumni Theater Game Workshop Starts March 12 in Los Angeles

This workshop is for returning players who would like to delve deeper into exploring the exciting theatrical possibilities in Viola Spolin’s Improvisation for the Theater. Our last session will be a workshop performance/demonstration and a potluck reception for an invited audience of friends and family on Saturday, May 4th.

We'll meet: We’ll meet for 8 Tuesday nights, March 12 - April 30 plus a workshop demonstration/performance for an invited audience on Saturday, May 4th. All sessions meet from 7:30 - 10pm.
Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036. 
Tuition: $380. A few sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by February 12.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Improvisation to Develop a Solo or Ensemble Show Starts March 14th in North Hollywood

Players will create and develop a monologue or personal story with the goal of beginning a longer piece. Teams of players who would like to develop an ensemble show are also encouraged to participate. We’ll use theater games and improvisational methods to help us round out the characters, fill in detail, and deepen the connections in our scenes and stories. At our last workshop we will present our works-in-progress to an invited audience of friends and family. All experience levels welcome.

We'll meet: Seven Thursday nights, March 14 to April 25th, plus a final meeting on Saturday, April 27th, which will be a performance of our works-in-progress for an invited audience. All classes meet from 7:30 - 10pm.
Location: 5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
Tuition: Tuition is $375 for new players and $340 for returning players. sliding scale spaces available. Please ask if you need a payment plan. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by February 14.
Registration: Email me with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Weekend Spolin Intensive in North Hollywood March 16 & 17th, 2019

Designed to introduce the key principles of Viola Spolin’s revolutionary acting, directing, and teaching methods in two days, the weekend intensive will help players be more fully present onstage and off.  Beginners and experienced players are welcome.

We’ll meet: Saturday and Sunday, March 16 & 17, from 11am to 5pm each day, with an hour break for lunch at 2pm.
Location:  5628 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601.
Tuition: $250. before Dec 15, $265 after. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Payment plans ok. Tuition is refundable minus a $50 registration fee if you cancel by February 16.
Registration:  Email with questions if needed, then please fill out the registration form found here.


Sidecoach 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 for Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center, Bard College, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Stockholm International School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. She has worked with Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actors and has trained faculty from Northwestern, DePaul, Columbia College, The Second City, The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, LAUSD, CETA, and many other institutions and schools. She is the Associate Director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works and she directs The Predicament Players. She received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from UC Riverside where she also taught as a lecturer in creative writing. Her non-fiction, fiction, and poetry has been published in Los Angeles Review of Books, Qua, Calyx Journal, and South Bank Poetry Review.

To be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about private coaching or 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

“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


OUTREACH

Sills/Spolin Theater Works educators are available to bring workshops in Theater Games and Story Theater to your school or organization. We 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.


Summer Intensives at Paul Sills’ Theater Game Center, Door County, Wisconsin

Paul Sills Wisconsin Theater Game Center

Offering weeklong summer intensives in the work of American theater legends Viola Spolin and Paul Sills. Workshops meet in studios at the Sills family farm in Door County, Wisconsin, a world-famous vacation destination located on the beautiful peninsula in Lake Michigan. 

Sign up to be notified about upcoming workshops here. More Information about the workshop and travel to Door County can be found at PaulSills.com


YOUTH CLASSES IN LOS ANGELES

Generations of kids and adults have learned to act through playing Viola Spolin's improvisational theater games, among them Oscar and Tony-Award winning actors and directors. Sidecoach Aretha Sills invites young players to explore the play-based method that allows each child's unique gifts to flourish in a non-competitive, nurturing, and joyful environment. Students of all experience levels are welcome, including aspiring actors and those who just wish to play!

Sign up to be notified about upcoming workshops here

Viola Spolin Improvisation Class