ViolaatGameTheater

The heart of improvisation is transformation.
-Viola Spolin

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.

STARTING FALL 2017:

  • Weekend Intensive in the Bay Area on November 11 & 12

STARTING JANUARY 2018:

  • 10-Week Alumni Workshop Starts January 16th
  • Los Angeles Weekend Intensive January 20 & 21

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.


Bay Area Spolin Theater Game Intensive Nov. 11 & 12

The weekend Spolin improvisation 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, November 11th & 12th, 2017, from 10am to 4pm, with an hour lunch break at 1pm.

Location: Shotgun Studios, 1201 University Avenue (at Curtis), Berkeley, CA, 94702

Tuition: $250. A few sliding-scale spots are available. Full tuition is required to hold your space, which is refundable (minus a $50 deposit) if you cancel by October 11. I accept checks or PayPal. Please ask if you need a payment plan.

Registration: Email with questions or to register.


Alumni Workshop in Los Angeles Starts January 16th 

In the ten-week alumni workshop, open to returning players only, we’ll delve deeper into “Improvisation for the Theater,” playing some of the many wonderful theater games we don’t always get to in an introductory workshop. The workshop culminates with a performance/demonstration and reception for an invited audience, allowing players to develop performance skills in a welcoming environment.

We’ll meet: Tuesday nights for nine weeks, January 16 – March 13, 2018, 7:30 to 10pm. Please note: the workshop demonstration and party will be on Wednesday, March 21st, from 7:30 to 10pm.

Location: Subud Los Angeles, 5828 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90036

Tuition: $365. (Includes a small fee for rental of reception space.)
A deposit of $150 is required to hold your space with the remainder due at the first class. I accept checks, Venmo, or PayPal, and am open to payment plans.
Early-bird pricing:  $340 for payments made in full by Venmo or check only. Special pricing ends November 16.
Refund Policy: Tuition is refundable minus $50 if you cancel by December 16.

Registration: Email me with questions or to register.


Los Angeles Weekend Intensive January 20 & 21 

The weekend Spolin improvisation 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, January 20th and 21st, 2018, from 11am to 5pm, with an hour lunch break at 2pm.

Location: The fanaticSalon Studio Space, 11306 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Tuition: $250.
A deposit of $125 is required to hold your space, with the remainder due by the first class. I accept checks, Venmo, PayPal, and I am open to payment plans. A few sliding scale spaces are available.
Early-bird Pricing: $225 for payments in full made by Venmo or check only. Special pricing ends November 20th.
Refund Policy: Tuition is refundable minus $50 if you cancel by December 20.

Registration: Email me with questions or to register.


Aretha Sills is Viola Spolin’s granddaughter. She studied theater games for many years with her fatIMG_7704her, director Paul Sills (creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater), 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 is the associate director of Sills/Spolin Theater Works. Aretha was nominated for an INNY Award for Best Improvisation Instructor and 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. Email Aretha Sills to request to be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about bringing her to work with your school or group. 

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


For more information about Paul Sills and summer intensives at Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center, and Sills/Spolin Theater Works, please visit PaulSills.com

To learn more about Viola Spolin’s life and work, please visit her official online home, ViolaSpolin.org.

To get news and updates, find Sills/Spolin Theater Works on Facebook

Email Aretha Sills to request to be notified about upcoming workshops, or to inquire about bringing her to work with your school or group.