Introducing Theater Game Workshops for Young Players!

Posted on Dec 7, 2017

It is the process of solving a problem that releases
intelligence, talent and genius.
-Viola Spolin

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!


Six-Week Theater Game Workshop for Ages 7 – 11. Starts February 3, 2018.

Children aged 7- 11 will be introduced to acting fundamentals through a series of games and exercises designed to unleash creativity through spontaneity, focus, and play. Young actors will develop the sensory awareness and communication skills needed on-stage and in daily life in an encouraging and joyful environment. The workshop culminates in an improvised demonstration/performance for friends and family, allowing players to gain on-stage experience while having fun. Players of all skill levels are welcome in this workshop. See below for location, tuition, and registration info.
We’ll meet: Saturday mornings, February 3 through March 10, from 10:30am to 12pm.



Location: The Fellowship Hall at the Unitarian Universalist Church Of Studio City, 12355 Moorpark St, Studio City, CA 91604

Tuition:  $210. Payment in full is required to hold your space, with the remainder due by the first class, though we are open to payment plans if needed. A few sliding-scale spaces are available for each workshop. Please email with questions. We accept checks, Venmo, and PayPal.
Refund Policy: Tuition is refundable minus $50 if you cancel by January 3.

Registration: Please fill out the registration form found here. I will reply with payment information and confirm registration once payment is received. Please email with any questions.

Theater Games have benefits that reach far beyond acting class:

  • They help students develop communication and problem-solving skills organically–through group interaction and play.
  • Students build social and emotional intelligence.
  • Theater games inspire both physical and mental agility.
  • The workshop process encourages focus and mindfulness, which helps lessen the isolation and anxiety caused by over-scheduling and screen time.
  • Spontaneity is our goal, not comedy. Problem-solving games allow for true creativity, without placing limits on where it will lead.
  • Children learn through play, and group games teach them how to work with others. Viola Spolin’s method was inspired by legendary Progressive-era social workers and philosophers Jane Addams and Neva Boyd, who believed that democracy requires what Addams termed social ethics, i.e., for people of different backgrounds to come together and learn from each other. Neva Boyd wrote, “Play involves social values, as does no other behavior. The spirit of play develops social adaptability, ethics, mental and emotional control, and imagination.” Spolin’s method fosters a sense of community, ensemble, and responsibility to the group, while honoring each player’s unique role within it.
  • Viola Spolin developed her revolutionary approach to actor training while working with children. Her work has since gone on to influence almost every major educational and therapeutic field. You can read more about the remarkable history of her work here.


All classes will be led by Aretha Sills. Aretha has played Spolin theater games since she was a child. She is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin and she studied theater games for many years with her father, legendary director Paul Sills (creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater). She has worked with Tony- and Emmy-Award winning actors and has conducted workshops for Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Art of Acting Studio, Stockholm International School, Sarah Lawrence College, and Northwestern University. Aretha was nominated for an INNY Award for Best Improvisation Instructor and was the keynote speaker at the California Educational Theatre Association conference. She is the mother of a four year old. You can read quotes about her workshops for adults here.

Assisting her will be Ron Jarvis. On a whim Ron attended an open audition for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College. That impulsive move led to a lifetime working in the performing arts. After attending Clown College, Ron spent three years touring as a ‘knockabout’ clown with the Ringling Red Unit. That was followed by a stint in Chicago at The Second City where Ron performed for another three years. Ron returned to California where he worked in film and television as an actor and as a freelance television writer. Ron recently finished up a career at UCLA’s Royce Hall working as a stage technician and theater manager. He’s studied and performed theater games for many years.